Restaurant: 15 Tips to Increase the Profitability of Your Menu

Discover how to increase the profitability of your menu with these 15 tips! Optimize your menu, your offer, your prices, etc.

Published on 08/07/2021Sébastien Vassaux

Your restaurant's menu is the basis of your business: it will determine your offer and attract your customers. Did you know that a few simple changes to your menu can very quickly increase your profitability?

Here are Melba's 15 tips and basic principles to increase your turnover all thanks to your menu!

Improve Your Menu and Its Presentation

1. “For fixed customers, a variable menu. With variable customers, a fixed menu”

In short, if your clientele is constant and loyal, change your menu regularly so as not to tire it out and risk losing them. If on the contrary, your clientele is volatile, you can afford  not to renew your menu too regularly. The Alençon Chamber of Commerce and Industry offers a  very thorough practical sheet  on the design of a restaurant menu.

2. Offer the right number of meals

A study by researchers in Bournemouth determined that in a traditional restaurant, customers preferred to be offered 7 starters, 10 main courses and 7 desserts. It was considered "the right number of choices ” left to the customer. This study, however, underlined that fewer choices on your menu (3 or 4) would reassure your customers about the freshness and the "home-cooked" character of the dishes you offer.

3. Place your dishes strategically on your menu

Your customers "read in Z": this means that their gaze will first stop on the upper left corner of your menu. It will therefore be necessary to put emphasis on this part of it.

4. Do not put the currency sign on your card

Neither “euros”. According to a  study by Cornell University, the currency and its symbol directly refer the customer to the notion of money, to the act of paying and does not make it favorable to spending...What we want to avoid!

5. Pay attention to the description of the items on your menu

A good description will appeal to your customers' senses and influence them positively. Thus,  according to research from an American consumer association  a rich description would give your customers a better overview and could increase the sales of a dish by more than 25%. A nice slate and nice appellations will produce the same effect. Also consider the oral presentation that accompanies reading the menu: the key is to communicate well about what you are offering!

6. Add boxes, pictograms and bold characters to your menu

These particularly hold the attention of your customers. So don't hesitate to use them if you want to emphasize a particular aspect of your menu.

An Increased Profitability

Calculation of margins, comparison of dishes, identification of optimization advantages...
Increase Your Profitability

Enhance Your Offer

7. If you possess mastery of a dish then make it your specialty!

Customers appreciate when a specific dish from your menu is highlighted; it gives them the feeling that it is a dish not to be missed. They will automatically start from a positive assessment in terms of the quality of this product.

8. Offer dishes that are shared: This will give a real advantage to your menu

In fact, restaurant customers greatly appreciate them for their friendly appearance!

9. Give an ethnic name to your ethnic dishes

This will appeal more to your customers for whom it will be a guarantee of authenticity.

10. Offer a unique children's menu

Did you know that a restaurant "geared towards children" could attract up to 25% more customers? To show parents that your restaurant pays special attention to their kids, avoid the traditional "steak and fries". Your children's menu should be different while remaining simple, of high quality, and ideally at a round price!

11. Dessert is the unsuspected asset of the menu

Introduce it to the customer at the start of the ordering process,  not at the end of the meal! In fact, after tasting their dish, the customer often declines the offer because they are no longer hungry and makes a  reasoned choice . Mentioning the dessert beforehand, as a suggestion, will really make them consider your offer!

12. Give "small prices" to your desserts

These often mark the last impression you leave on your menu and you can easily give your customer a better quality / price perception of it. Some restaurants offer set menus where, for the choice of a particular item, the dessert will be significantly less expensive. This is a good way to boost your dessert sales.

13. Last dessert point: Make your assortment stand out

As we pointed out, dessert is a gourmet choice. The objective is therefore to encourage impulse buying! Keep your "great classics", but also offer "light" desserts that will relieve your customers: these are very popular (hence the success of gourmet coffees). Also think of "original" desserts, which will arouse the curiosity of your customers.

Set Your Prices as well as Possible

14. Arrange your prices

It's a basic principle: present the items in ascending order of price on the menu. Thus, positioning the least expensive dishes first on your menu would give the customer a lower perception of your prices. Also keep in mind that some tend to pick the “middle” prices.

In addition, having a wide range of prices will allow you to attract a large clientele with varied budgets!

15. If one of your dishes is under-sold, remove it or revise its price upwards

The products that generate the least turnover are those on which you can afford the greatest price increases, because the "rare" customers choosing them are more keen on them and, therefore, have a greater inclination to pay : the risk of losing the sale is thus lower.

16.  The bonus  - Equip yourself with a tool that will allow you to easily know the ratios of all the elements of your menu

With Melba's dynamic recipe database format, you can visualize the cost prices and margins of each of your recipes. If the purchase price of an ingredient changes, all recipe ratios that include it will automatically update. Create a Melba account and regain vision on your margins today!