Shifting menu trends in the industry mean that restaurateurs must continuously evaluate and update your menu. How do you update your menu and remain profitable if you don't know which items are most profitable and which ones you should 86?

According to the NRA, the top 4 menu trends restaurateurs must prepare for are: Going Local, Going Green, Going Health Conscious, and Going All Natural. But does that mean a complete menu revamp is called for?

Yes and no.

Restaurant Menu Decisions Are Not One And Done

When it comes to a restaurant menu, operators have already made many well thought out decisions on its contents. You might believe that you know which items your guests enjoy best and what is the most cost-effective way to produce these selections, but with an analytical eye and the appropriate data, you'd be surprised at what you can find.

How Well Do You Know Your Menu?

You might sell a lot of a particular menu item, but does that mean guests come back because of it?

To understand how effective a menu item is, Swipely has created a formula (based on their experiences working with 3,000+ local merchants) for evaluating restaurant menu items and their benefit to your business, in terms of creating loyal repeat customers.

% Formula Weight   Single Menu Item   Avg. for All Menu Items
40 x Orders / Orders
40 x Retention Rate / Retention Rate
20 x Menu Item Price / Menu Item Price

Benefits Of The Menu Score

The result of this formula will give each menu item an index score, usually between 30 and 200. There tends to be a lot of variability in menu items, but no insight is wasted when it comes to building customer loyalty.

  • A score of 100 is your average menu item
  • A menu item that scores 123 will be 23% more valuable to your business than an average menu item
  • A menu item that scores an 87 will be 13% less valuable to you than an average menu item

What Can You Do With This Information?

Knowing is only half the battle. Now that you have an in-depth understanding of how your menu items perform, you can start making better business decisions that lead to more profitable menus.

But that's not all.

  1. Train Your Staff: Improve staff performance when you train your staff on which items have the highest index scores and are best for the restaurant (and them). Increased sales and increased repeat business means increased tips.
  2. Provide Profitable Recommendations: If you offer two fish choices, a striped bass that scores a 130 and a salmon that scores a 92, you can have your servers steer guests towards the bass.
  3. Determine Pricing: When considering a pricing change, instead of just raising all of your prices by a dollar or 5%, consider raising them on your highest performing items slightly—guests will barely notice and still continue to order them.

But What About Other Operational Challenges?

Swipely has also produced an eBook called Hidden Insights…Clear Results to help restaurateurs go beyond the menu and learn how to put a value on servers, guests, and even marketing activities.

Industry News, Technology