How Can Restaurants Improve Their Menu With Data?


August 13, 2019

You know how the saying goes, ‘you know how many people are buying the tuna sandwich but you don’t know how many people are pulling out the cucumber.’  

Unless of course you let your customers make exactly the meal that they want to eat.  

Plate waste at Vita Mojo is almost negligible because when you let people choose the exact food and quantities they want to eat, they won’t order what they aren’t going to eat. 

Our food focused data is interesting in a number of ways, not least because it informs our new menu creation.

We change our menus four times a year with the seasons. There are only a certain number of items that we can serve, so ahead of a new menu, we start looking at what items are selling and which aren’t.  Largely, the decisions are fairly straightforward and the most unpopular items are removed without too much issue, however there are some instances when it is not so. For example:

  1. An item is barely sold in 2 of the 3 restaurants but seems to be a favourite item in the 3rd. 
  2. A dish is wildly popular but the suppliers have changed and it no longer is financial viable.
  3. A dish is not a very good seller overall but is hugely popular with our most regular and loyal customers.
  4. Great selling dish but the reorder rate is bad and the retention rate for first timers coming back is poorer if this is the first meal they have with us.  

We also use our data to help with new menu development and look to our data to try and make more informed choices. 

  1. There has been a marked uptick in our lean proteins, do we want to add some others?
  2. Items with gluten on the menu are proving wildly popular. Should we continue the range?

We also look to customer behaviour to inform our new meals. So for example, if a certain type of macro split is proving popular, or a certain combination of foods, we might consider building our new meals along those guidelines to create something suited to our customer base. 

Having data doesn’t mean that you always get it right, but it certainly helps to see what people are actually eating.