When creating a restaurant menu, whether it’s for a brand new restaurant or a menu revamp, there are particular elements that one should take under account. I will share with you the three most frequent mistakes I see restaurants create in their menu improvements. Bear in mind that this is geared toward independent restaurants, not the large chains.
The first mistake I see is a lot of diversity. Now, lots of folks may think this is a fantastic thing but hear me out. Too much diversity creates confusion to your employees, your clients and your restaurant’s identity. Now this does not mean only serve hamburgers or fried chicken, this means stick with your restaurant’s theme and keep the menu simple. You do need to try and have something for everybody but you ought not place sushi on the menu beside pasta Bolognese. It’s much better to do a couple of things really well than to do lots of things bad or poor at best.
The next error I see is inconsistent cost point. There’s a certain margin that items can differ but you don’t want a $3 appetizer and a $12 appetizer like you don’t want a $10 entrée plus a $40 entrée. Obviously you have to keep food cost and labor in your mind however if your price point is all over the place, it makes it seem as if you’re over charging in certain regions and selling cheap product others. There’s a balance to be had.
The number three error I see, is restaurant owners/chefs making menus that their kitchens cannot handle. By way of instance, placing fried food on the menu if there’s not any fryer, things that need plenty of prep and insufficient storage or attempting to bake bread using a conveyor pizza oven. If you don’t have the correct equipment, change your thought or find the equipment necessary. We all like to push the envelope but some things just shouldn’t be done.
Again, these are only guidelines and my own observations from my many years in the hospitality business, not hard fast rules. Menu growth can be stressful but it can also be plenty of fun.