Should You Update Your Restaurant Menu?
January 18, 2020
The success of every restaurant, from mom-and-pop eateries, to chef-driven bistros, depends on its dynamic menu. Edgy concepts, inviting decor, and a prime location are all crucial components to creating a lasting impression. However, it’s the menu that ultimately keeps clients coming back for more. Want to entice more customers and keep food costs in check? Consider updating your menu.
4 Reasons to Refresh Your Restaurant Menu
Successful restaurant menus are more than just meal descriptions. They communicate your brand identity and draw customers to your establishment. Changing up your menu keeps things exciting for your customers and helps you maintain profits. In 2020, menus scaled down but there are signs of them starting to build back up. Not sure if you should update your menu? Our wholesale restaurant food suppliers share four reasons why you may want to consider it.
1. Increase Profitably
It’s important to keep in mind food costs can vary widely throughout the year. To preserve profits, restaurateurs should evaluate their menus and related food costs annually. The time of year can affect the prices of ingredients. For example, purchasing tomatoes in the summer months can be less costly than during winter months. External factors like weather patterns and bumper crops can also drive prices up or down. If the costs of your raw ingredients have gone up, you may need to increase menu prices, rethink portions, or retire some menu items.
An annual menu review can also help identify which items might not be top sellers. Haven’t sold many of your Acai berry breakfast bowls, but are still receiving (and paying for) product? Then it’s time to update your menu.
2. Guests Will Savor Seasonality
Updating your menu to reflect cold and warmer temperatures can help save on food costs and increase customer traffic. Chilled gazpacho with farm fresh tomatoes may be the perfect way for customers to beat the heat during sunny, hot months.
As fall and winter approach, guests might be more receptive to hearty, warming dishes like beef and root vegetable stew. This doesn’t mean you need to completely revamp your menu with the changing of every season. A few seasonally focused dishes will keep your menu fresh and delight your customers.
3. Reduce Food Waste
Reducing food waste in your restaurant has two major benefits: it saves on food costs and has a positive environmental impact. There are a variety of ways to decrease food spoilage in your commercial kitchen. Revamping your menu to focus on cross-utilization is one easy way to help cut down on unnecessary waste. Using ingredients in more than one dish lessons the chance of throwing away unused product. For example, your flank steak dinner entree can be turned into a steak salad for lunch or a steak crostini for happy hour.
4. Strike a Balance Between Classic & Contemporary
As we all know, food fads come and go. Uncooked, plant-based menus were huge during the Raw Food Diet phase, low-carb options popped up during the Atkins Diet craze, and grain-free alternatives are now increasingly popular with Whole 30 eaters. While you want your menu to be trendy and relevant to the current food scene, always keep your classic standbys.
There’s no rule saying you can’t have an elevated vegan beet carpaccio with truffle oil and traditional eggplant parmesan on the same menu. In fact, great menus often strike that fine balance between the new and the familiar. Look at your menu from a customer’s perspective. Does it have too many overly complicated modern dishes? Is it still stuck in the past? Update your menu to be both exciting and approachable to all your guests.
The most successful menus are profitable, approachable, and flexible. The culinary world is never static, and your menus should reflect that kind of fluidity. Whether it’s due to food costs, upcoming trends, or the changing of the seasons, you should consider periodically updating your menu.
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