Use Restaurant Menu as BLUEPRINT for Business

menu engineering restaurant menu Jun 01, 2021

The time you invest in the menu for your restaurant is probably more important than anything else you plan for your restaurant. A restaurant menu pays huge dividends financially and personally.

The menu is the first thing people look for and what they see in any format, whether it’s mobile, paper, or on a review site. It sets the tone for your guests and is a leading impression in choosing your restaurant.

What personal dividends can you get from a menu? Creativity and art with food. A way to express the personality of the owner, staff and operation. Your style in flavor, spices, color and presentation with each dish setting the tone and atmosphere for your experience.

What financial dividends can you get from a menu? You should be rewarded for who you are and your expression. If it is not special and rewarding for you, the owner, why would you sell it? You deserve it. You are the one taking all the risk and reaching for opportunity. Do it for the right reasons but also earn a financial return so you can continue to serve. I do not care what motivates you, if it is money, fame, or sense of community, but your menu is a great way to make it all worth your time and energy.

Here are a few tips to help you write a menu or review your current one for changes:

  • Just like writing down your goals, the menu should start with all the crazy ideas of what you want, just put them down on paper. Then sort by category and begin to “SIMPLIFY” each category with what you think will be the best for your goals.
  • Remember that less is more and the menu is an evolving business plan. Treat it as such.
  • You must produce recipe cards for every item on your menu. This will include batch recipes and understanding costs and profit potential for each item. Only when this is complete can you make the right decisions for what will be on your menu. It is that important. You must make money to continue to follow your passion.
  • Build your menu with your core items and have fun with placement and color. Do think of creating it to be pleasing to the eye of your customer. Their perspective is critical to your success.

What do you get when you build your menu correctly? A chance to tell your story with food, people and fun. You also get to profitably.

A good menu establishes the following:  

  • The name of the business
  • The setup and design of the kitchen for better production and workflow
  • The setup of your dining areas and what kind of atmosphere you desire
  • The style of uniforms and dress for your entire staff
  • The expectation of your guests
  • China and flatware style
  • To-go options and level of quality
  • Whether catering can be part of the business
  • Delivery options

Your menu is even essential for your accountant, lawyer, insurance agent, builder, designer, sales representatives, and family to see because it will spell out your intentions for your style of business and your financial goals.

Think of this as either writing a great screenplay, designing a dream house, or writing a business plan. That is the power of looking at your menu as a blueprint.

If you would like to talk more about this concept, please schedule a time with us for a free coaching session

If you'd like to learn what successful restaurant owners know about accounting, download our free report, "How to Avoid the 5 Pitfalls of Restaurant Accounting." Be on your way to becoming an expert on your business's accounting and have confidence in your accounting decisions. 

Author: Rich Dunham, Director of Customer Operations

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