Streamlining your Menu in 5 Steps

When it comes to menus, we all want to give our patrons variety. As well as show them value for money. And keep prices in line with the competition. And, above all, keep them under budget too. And… it’s a challenging balance to get right. But it’s by no means impossible. 

With just a few simple steps, you can simplify your menu and engineer it so it’s not only more profitable, but easier for your kitchen team to execute. All without sacrificing your patrons’ experience so they keep coming back for more.

WHY CONSOLIDATING YOUR MENU IS WORTH IT

The rising costs of goods is real, with raw materials increasing due to labour and import costs in the wake of COVID-19. Now more than ever, venues need to ensure every single item on the menu is performing at its optimum. Head Chefs can’t afford to have items not hitting target COGS.

BUYING SMARTER WITH QUICK MENU CHANGES

COVID has brought about the adoption of single use menus. Disposable printed menus and digital menus are a real advantage, giving you the freedom to make menu changes more often. This means you can keep up with any major price adjustments and make the most of market specials and seasonal products — literally overnight if required.

IMPROVE KITCHEN EFFICIENCIES

Limited staffing and varying skill levels within the kitchen can be a challenge for longer menus or complex dishes. Consolidating your menu and choosing the items that add value is key.

Selecting dishes that are quick and easy to prepare reduces your labour costs and saves time during a busy service.A simpler menu also helps you stay consistent too. Every plate hitting the pass is the same, no matter who is in the kitchen preparing it.

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT

Food waste is money down the drain, which is bad for your bottom line.

You can help protect your profits by selling more of less items, rather than selling less of more items. Using recipe ingredients across multiple dishes means you can avoid them only being used occasionally in a dish that doesn’t sell well — meaning you make the most from that ingredient and you use it up before it goes off.

GIVE YOUR CUSTOMERS WHAT THEY WANT

There’s no point in having a menu full of dishes that don’t sell. Know what works for your patrons and make the most of those key ingredients across several dishes. It’ll help reduce wastage and keep your patrons coming back for more.

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR KITCHEN SETUP

Plan out how best to use the kitchen equipment you have. Avoid overloading one section – be smart and spread the cooking across the kitchen equipment you have at your disposal. This will mean you can better manage the number of staff you need and know how your team can work together best during a busy service.

5 STEPS TO STREAMLINE YOUR MENU

#1 know your numbers

Data is only useful if you use it to your advantage. The Menu Engine and Sales by Recipe reports in Costimator let’s you see in real-time what’s selling, and importantly, what’s just sitting on your menu collecting dust.

#2 Consolidate your menu

Once you have that intel, start with either refreshing or removing the items that aren’t currently selling. Sometimes they just need a break for a bit. 

The aim is to streamline your menu to make it easier to operate and become more profitable. Yet still offer a variety of options so there’s something for everyone.

#3 BUY SMARTER

Make smart buying choices across your recipes and pantry list by using key ingredients across multiple dishes. This not only reduces food waste, it also takes up less room in your service fridge too.

And don’t forget to take advantage of market specials and promos too. Even if that means a quick menu change – overnight if needs be – to take up good deals, fast. 

#4 cost YOUR RECIPES

Once you’re happy with your simplified menu, double check your recipe costings. Ensure quantities are correct and the products used are the best you can get at the right price.

Costimator will give you accurate costs, factor in your wastage allowance and even suggest if there are any better buying opportunities available through the BetterBuys feature.

 

#5 SET THE RIGHT PRICE

For each recipe, Costimator will give you a recommended retail price (RRP), based on your venues’ default target COGS, which is pre-set at around 29% depending on your venue’s settings.

Ultimately, it’s up to you what your final sell price is — you know your venue and, importantly, you know what your customers are prepared to pay. But be mindful that if you don’t set the right price, you run the risk of consolidating a menu and ending up with higher COGS than before you started.

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