The art of menu design (also known as menu engineering) is one of the most valuable tools in your arsenal for increasing profit and improving customer experience.
By combining initiatives like upsells, customisation and strategic menu placement, operators can increase ATV by up to 35%.
Menu design strategies might vary between different brands, but the most successful approaches all have one thing in common: they start with analysis.
In this guide, we provide you with a free menu analysis worksheet, which includes clear instructions for every part of the process. You’ll have the tools to analyse the performance of your menu items, and turn the insights into a winning menu design plan.
What is a menu design worksheet?
When you’re looking to improve your menu, the essential first step is to analyse how your menu items currently perform.
Our free menu design worksheet categorises your items by profit and popularity – giving you a strong foundation on which to build your menu design strategy.
All you need to do is input some simple sales data, and you’ll get both an item-by-item analysis, and a big-picture view of how your menu performs.
How to use the menu design worksheet.
Input your data
1. Choose a time period to analyse. We recommend your last completed quarter, but you can choose any period that suits your operation.
Make a copy of the Data tab and name it appropriately e.g ‘Q4 2022’ or ‘Week 5 2023’.
2. Note down the names of the menu items you want to analyse. You can focus on a specific category in your menu (e.g ‘Sides’) or look at your menu as a whole.
3. Record the number sold of each item. This data will be easily accessible in your reporting tools, which should tell you exactly the number sold of each item in your selected time period.
4. Record the Cost of Goods for each item. [need insight from tobias on this one]
5. Note the sales data for each item. Finally you now need to input sales data for the time period against each menu item. This data includes: Gross Sales Before Discount, Gross Sales, and Net Sales (after VAT).
With your data inputted, you’ll get both granular and big-picture menu design analysis.
The following values are automatically worked out, and show you insight into the revenue of each menu item. These are used to work out the all important Profit and Popularity categories later on.
- Product sell price: The average menu price of this dish during the selected time period. The actual menu price may have fluctuated over the time period due to manual price changes, promotions and discounts.
- Cost of Goods %: How much of your Gross Sales Before Discounts was taken up by the cost of producing the menu item. The lower the Cost of Goods %, the more profitable that item is for your operation.
- Item Profit: How much profit you make from a single order of this menu item.
- Contribution Margin: The total revenue made from this menu item throughout the selected time period, taking into account Cost of Goods, VAT and discounts.
Profit and Popularity categories
These are the all important menu design categories that will inform your strategy for each menu item moving forward.
Each item is automatically categorised as either Low Profit or High Profit, and as either Low Popularity or High Popularity. This puts each into one of the following categories:
Turn insights into strategy
Having categorised your items’ profit and popularity, you are now empowered to make data-backed decisions about your menu.
Here are some quick-wins to help get you started…
High Profit and High Popularity (Stars):
Add these items as upsells across your menu:
- Recommending menu items to customers based on what they’re ordering is one of the most simple (but effective) ways to increase ATV, and can put this valuable category of dishes front and centre.
Discover the power of meal deals:
- You can also introduce meal deal discounts for certain combinations of menu items – for example a burger, fries and a drink. This is another natural way to push those crucial High Profit and High Popularity items, whilst boosting satisfaction by appearing to offer a great bargain!
High Profit and Low Popularity (Puzzles):
Push these items as basket recommendations
- Basket-level recommendations are a great way to replicate the impulse-buy feeling customers often get at the physical till. Basket recommendations are the perfect opportunity to push quick-buy items like sweet treats or crisps that might have slipped under the customer’s radar, but provide you with a good revenue boost.
Use promo banners
- Promo banners are a tried-and-tested way to direct customers to specific products or categories. Use promo banners to hero your most profitable items that customers might not be organically searching for themselves. This can include new releases and limited, seasonal dishes.
Low Profit and High Popularity (Plow horses):
Consider alternatives to more expensive ingredients
- For these popular dishes that aren’t making much profit, consider using alternatives to the more premium ingredients that eat into revenue. Chicken thigh is a much cheaper alternative to chicken breast, for example. Work with the kitchen to make sure this trade isn’t affecting the quality of the dish, and it will remain popular with customers whilst providing more profit
Low Profit and Low Popularity (Dogs):
Be wise with your upsell strategy
- Items in this category may still add value to your operation by elevating your menu and meeting customers’ menu expectations, e.g steak in a pub. But these shouldn’t be taking up valuable space in your upsell selection. Limit the number of upsells to five and make sure they rank higher in the profitability and popularity stakes.
With the right setup, your menu can be your hardest working member of staff by increasing ATV and improving customer experience.
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