6 Tips for Creating a Profitable Menu

6-tactics-for-tempting-and-profitable-menu

Marylise Tauzia, VP of Marketing of Revel Systems, offers six strategies for creating a tasty, profitable menu. Revel Systems offers a full-featured point of sale system that is cloud-based and made specifically for the iPad.

With spring and summer fast approaching it’s important to have ideas for an enticing menu on deck. If you are in the midst of opening a new restaurant or quick-service eatery, you’ll definitely want to be able to appeal to anyone who walks in for a bite. And your menu is a primary revenue driver.  

Even if you’ve been operating successfully for years, keep things fresh with new menu items or modifications to favorites to reflect seasonal options. MustHaveMenus has hundreds of menu designs with tons of features to help you enhance menu choices, specials and favorites. We see LOTS of menus, of course, so here are a few guidelines to get you going.

1. Strategically Selecting Menu Items

Striking a balance between offering the most tasty dishes and drinks and maximizing profit should be your top priority when creating your menu. You’ll want to identify which items are the most profitable and make sure that you have a strategy for promoting them. You might want to spice up your beloved, fancy grilled-cheese sandwich by adding goat horn peppers, but you’ll need to be sure that you’re tracking cost-effectiveness and the portion for each sandwich. There’s a lot that goes into the backend of menu creation, and an intelligent point-of-sale system with reporting and ingredient tracking can step in and help you measure profitability.

2. Highlight Menu Categories or Specialty Items  

Layout of your menu can have a huge influence over what customers order. Now that you’ve created a strategy for your menu items, you’ll want to design your menu to draw attention to certain items. Thoughtful menu design is imperative not only to your business’s branding, but also to the bottom-line. It may be that you don’t want people to miss the entrees or even a “dinner for two” special. Or perhaps you want to create a box for designated seasonal specialty options so that you can simply rotate them easily throughout the year. Regardless of your intention, highlighted boxes around a category or option will ensure that attention is directed to that point on the menu.

3. Organize Your Menu By Popularity

It’s always a good idea to sort your menu by your most popular items. Your repeat customers are looking for their favorites, and your word-of-mouth, new customers are going to be curious about those items. Like highlighting specials or seasonal items, sorting each category according to best sellers, and then organizing your menu visually so that most popular categories are easy to find. Most people tend to scan menus and land at the top-right corner, which is where you’ll want to place the items you don’t want customers to miss.

4. Use Relative Pricing

We won’t call this a “trick”…. But one way to give your customers more perspective in comparing menu items that seem more expensive than others is to put items more similarly prices in proximity to one another. For example, a halibut entree for $26 doesn’t seem so expensive when followed by a more comparatively priced $30 T-Bone steak, rather than a $15 pot-pie. Relative pricing may seem manipulative but everything has a context so it’s a good idea to establish the context of your menu.

5. Make specialty menu items available only certain days of the week

This is a great way to drive traffic to your restaurant on some of the slower nights. Maybe Wednesdays are the only nights the chef makes his great-grandmother’s secret puff pastry beef stew. For example, Georgetown Cupcakes in Washington, D.C. only offers their Red Velvet cupcake on Wednesdays. They have a line down the block just for that flavor. Other flavors are limited to certain days, as well. It keeps the customers coming back.

6. Highlight an area of the menu just for food sensitivities

With dietary restrictions or preferences on the rise, it’s important to give special diets a place on your menu. Just a decade ago, gluten-intolerance levels were at 1 in 2500 worldwide. Today, it’s at 1 in 133. That’s a significant jump and indicator that food sensitivities shouldn’t be ignored on your menu. Offering items that are dairy or gluten free will ensure that everyone who walks into your establishment has options. Even if your theme is old fashioned barbecue, you can still offer sides that will accommodate certain diets and even a meat or gluten alternative entree.


If you want a design specialist to handle the creative side of your menu our MHM Design Services team can highlight profitable specialty items and other menu features starting at $199.