Diminishing return on investment is quickly becoming a standard mantra for many entrepreneurs in a variety of businesses these days. Major retailers along with local, neighborhood mom and pop boutiques, are all facing the same seismic size losses. Corporations across the globe have suffered astronomical depletion in capital that may not be recoverable for years to come. And, all of this affects us as owners of one of the most disposable income based businesses in the world- restaurants.
We are a bit more fortunate than other businesses because unlike the large department stores and small dress shops across the country, food is always on the mind of the world population- especially in
One of the criteria we need to grasp is what the public is craving and what our potential demographic client can afford. By developing and designing a menu to fits these need f our clients it will be easier to attract customers and appeal to those who live near, drive by or hear about the great menu you create.
Menu design takes more than just a quick brainstorming session around house table 23. Large corporations spend thousands of dollars to dissect their customers taste needs in order to come up with a menu appealing to them. Then, they spent more thousands on the actual food cost and menu pricing that goes into the lengthy process of coming up with just the perfect psychological number for each entr?e, appetizer and dessert item.
When I began my first restaurant I knew nothing about food costs and used the “perceived value” menu pricing method. I just picked a number out of the air- like the “Price is Right” and used it on each entr?e making sure that I had an entr?e in a variety of price categories. And, I also made sure that the differentiation between each pricing plateau was different enough- at least a dollar- to make it obvious where the value was. I also made sure that pasta was the most reasonably priced entr?e and that pasta with an addition had a place in the middle of the menu and that pasta with a designer’s flare had a place in the upper end of the menu. And, whole wheat pasta is a much healthier choice than most people realize.
So, as we go into the New Year, think about changes in your menu. Think about sizing down the portions and creating some items that will feel healthier to eat. One of the most distressing outcomes of the holiday season is the weight gain everyone experiences. Although we accept it without question, we tend to over indulge in less than healthy food from the beginning of December until next Monday.
If between now and then you can come up with a healthier, more flavorful portion of a menu that has build in profitability the bleak days of winter may look a bit brighter and your customers may look to you to help them lose those unwanted pounds.
Remember, it may be time to develop a menu that costs less to prepare, has better food cost calculations and is healthier for your customers to enjoy.