How do you optimize the costs on your menu? Standardize your dishes.
This is always a favorite item for me to look for on a client’s menu, especially when it uses expensive one-of-a-kind items. All too often there is an item, maybe two items, on a food menu that call for ingredients that are not used in any other recipe on the entire menu.
Okay, if it’s a special, signature dish on your menu that gets a lot of coverage and sells tons, that’s one thing. But an item that is rarely sold and has singularly unique items in the recipe that are not used anywhere else on any menu should be dumped.
One-hit wonders tie up money by carrying seldom-used inventory that is vulnerable to spoilage, potential theft and decreased quality as it ages in the back of the cooler. It also ties up capital in unrealized sales potential. And it ties up important real estate on your menu that could be used to feature or promote items that provide a strong financial contribution to your revenue.
My theory: focus on what you’re best at and leave out the obscure extras that don’t really provide a positive impact to your daily sales. Simply, don’t have things on your menu that you think someone might order one day. It means holding expensive food items in inventory for what amounts to an occasional sale which likely doesn’t enhance your customer’s dining experience or your bottom line. If you want to stand out from your competition, this isn’t the way to do it!
Sit down with your food menus and with a critical eye review them to see if any of your menu items fit this description. Review the recipes, looking for potential problem areas.
If you find a one-hit wonder, check that menu item’s financial contribution to your bottom line. How many have you sold of this menu item in the last week or month? How much inventory are you carrying for this one-hit wonder? Has inventory passed its best before date and turned into dead stock? If you got rid of this one item would anyone ever notice?
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Mike has worked across Canada as a food and beverage professional and currently divides his time between writing and teaching people how to start and run their own businesses.