THE RULE OF THIRDS
To minimize waste and maximize appeal, design your menu so that one-third of your offerings are signature items (dishes that define the restaurant and aren’t available everywhere); one-third are familiar, accessible choices that will satisfy the most finicky eaters; and the remaining one-third are created from by-products of the first two groups.
This way, nothing gets thrown in the garbage, nothing goes to waste and you are appealing both to adventurous eaters and the meat-and-potatoes crowd
THE HALO EFFECT
Boost the profitability of a dish by pairing inexpensive ingredients with something more exotic, then push the price point. Think: “Pork Tenderloin with Orange Saffron Sauce”. You’ll get the halo effect of the saffron, since it’s known to be expensive, yet use very little of it and pair it with pork, which is currently very affordable
LESS IS MORE
Smaller, more concise menus make a lot of sense for many reasons. Large menus create a wide range of challenges: difficulty of training (both front of the house and back); stress on the kitchen to properly execute and higher inventory costs, to name a few. Additionally, consumers have a higher degree of confidence that a small menu means fresher ingredients. Consider cutting out the fat and simplify. Offer seasonal specials or nightly features to keep your customers interested without bogging down operations
UTILIZE A “PRICE ANCHOR”
Having one unique and relatively pricey item on your menu will serve to make every other item in the vicinity look like a relative bargain. Think “$20 Gourmet Monster Burger” or pair up two or more existing menu items to create a “Platter” i.e. a Surf and Turf, a Fisherman’s Platter, or any other combination dish. Price these “anchor” items significantly higher than your average menu item. You may not sell a ton of these, but you will occasionally capture the attention of a big-spender looking to impress or a “special occasion” customer. And besides, your anchor item consists of items you already have on hand, so not selling many is not a hardship.
Price Anchors can also be used to lessen the impact of price increases elsewhere on the menu. If your Anchor Item is priced high enough, you can take frequent, incremental price increases on the surrounding items, while taking less frequent increases on the Price Anchor
MAKE IT A STAR
Before bumping up the price of a menu item, consider raising its perceived value through re-plating, adding a sauce, revamping a menu description, calling out a premium ingredient in the description, or otherwise thinking outside the box. That planned $.25 bump might be worth $1.00 or more.