I don’t believe I have ever met a chef who enjoyed menu costing. Actually, I don’t think I have met anyone who as enjoyed menu costing. Most times the exercise leads to the next task – cost cutting – putting a crimp in any chef’s style and causing havoc with restaurants offerings. That’s the reason menus items don’t come under review as frequently as they should.
With today’s constant price increase which never seemed to be followed by price decreases menus in many restaurants across the country are probably under priced- hence one of the reasons for the increase in restaurant failures.
Product price fluctuation occurs much more frequently that menu review. It would be impossible to change a menu price each time lettuce increased, or beef prices dropped or the price of tomatoes soared. Yet, on a quarterly basis, chefs should be required to perform a menu cost review to see if they are within the pricing parameters set by the owner. If they are not, then a decision has to be made as to whether to keep an item on the menu or 86 it once and for all.
This is where menu strategy plays an important role in the dynamics of a restaurant’s success. Do you price everything on your menu using the same formula or do you plan to make less money on some dishes and more on others? Take a salad consisting of a wedge of head lettuce and blue cheese dressing. In
Menu review is imperative to a successful restaurant. Plan on reviewing your menu at the beginning of each season. Talk to your vendors about their possible price increases, work those into the formula, and don’t hesitate to raise prices if the need exists. Or, there is that possibility that a favorite entree will have to be altered or removed from the menu entirely. It may cause a bit of an inconvenience to some of your customers at first, but they will understand. And the inconvenience won’t be as great as the one customers could experience if they plan on coming for dinner one evening and find your doors closed because you couldn’t keep up with expenses.