Menu Engineering is the process of the evaluating a print or online menu and its collection of menu items to discover the most profitable and popular offerings, allowing the manager to make decisions regarding the unpopular and unprofitable items. If a manager properly maintains the analysis process, the restaurant can maintain a balance of profitable and popular food items at all times. Unpopular or unprofitable items may be removed, clearing up the menu for something new and hopefully, profitable and/or popular.
Menu engineering is often taken seriously by large restaurant chains that are looking to increase profits at hundreds of stores across the country. However, this does not mean it cannot be effective for a one or two location restaurant. In fact, with lower margins and scale, one could argue it is even more important to evaluate a menu constantly in an effort to produce better margins and popularity among your restaurant. Often times, a restaurant can get stuck in a pattern of offering the same food items and specials, afraid that a change will interrupt an already delicate line of revenue. Change is difficult and there is a perceived risk in removing items from a menu that some of the regulars may miss. However, if you follow the menu engineering process the risk should be mitigated to a high degree. Removing and item from the menu that is both unpopular and unprofitable should be a win-win for everyone.
In a highly competitive industry, performing a sophisticated evaluation of your menu on an ongoing basis may be a way to push your brand ahead of those competing around you.
What is the menu engineering process?
The next few blog posts will attempt to outline each of these steps in the menu engineering process!