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  • Menu optimization: Three ways to help your outstanding menu items take centre stage
    above them When looking at them how do you answer important questions such as Are there some items hidden in there that guests are loving and you should be featuring more Are there some items a lot of people order but only once while others relatively few people order on a regular basis Are there items we could cut and no one would care Some of these questions may be relatively easy to answer if you are a massive chain or have a huge research budget Most restaurants however don t benefit from that type of scale One of the ways we find answers to these questions among others is by using consumer surveys to get key information on things such as menu item penetration and menu item favouritism Using this information valuable insights can be obtained in terms of what your guests love and come back for on a regular basis what they can do without and what you shouldn t be offering them all of which help to efficiently build sales and loyalty in the long term 2 Make your truly outstanding menu items really stand out Even when a restaurant knows what its superstar menu items are it s easy to fall into the trap of everyone already knows us for that let s make other things much more prominent With rare exceptions most of your guests probably don t spend that much time thinking about you and reminding them of what you are truly great at can be beneficial As an easy way to test if you are doing this give your menu to someone who has never been to your restaurant before If they don t quickly know exactly what you are known for there is probably something very wrong In terms of communicating outstanding

    Original URL path: http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/Menuoptimization.aspx (2016-02-14)
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  • R.A.V.E. about your restaurant's menu design
    of menu item quality and value establishment of quality and trendiness and intent to repurchase Descriptive text can take many forms from simple description of ingredients and cooking techniques to words that have psychological ties to customers values and experiences Similarly words that describe sensory experiences like taste smell texture or appearance help customers imagine the experience and support the decision process For example crispy chicken or tangy beet salad is more appealing than chicken or beet salad because customers understand the qualities of crispiness and tanginess Co branding e g Certified Angus burgers is another form of descriptive text that uses values constructed by other successful brands to add value to menu items The same psychology that empowers descriptive text demands descriptions be truthful and accurate If a product s region is specified the product must be from that region Co branded items cannot substitute other brands Items described as crispy impose customer expectations that must be met Beyond ethical and legal implications failure to deliver on customer expectations can do more harm than if the description was not used in the first place Visibility Another study found customers read menus for only 109 seconds on average Having less than two minutes to promote offerings has menu design implications First regardless of the type or style of menu being designed it should be uncluttered easy to read and as concise as possible This will reduce the time required to scan each item on the menu and increase the likelihood that customers see every item Second you will need to help the customer find the items you want to sell profitable and that you think they want to buy popular Never assume the customer will find these on her own The following tactics can increase item visibility Item order Studies have shown that items at the top and bottom of lists with six or more items will typically outsell items buried in the middle of the list Position For decades menu designers have included relative positioning of menu items in a suite of tactics to increase menu performance The theory is based on gaze motion studies that predict the path customers eyes follow on a menu and identify sweet spots where items are more prominent Recent scientific studies have tested the eye movement theories and their effect on sales with varying results Nevertheless industry convention suggests that there is truth to the theory even if results vary due to the other factors identified in this article Pictures Pictures can effectively increase menu item sales because they help customers envision what they are ordering lowering the purchase risk Before using pictures on your menu consider the following Accuracy Like descriptive text pictures must accurately represent the components garnish and presentation of the dish or customers expectations will not be met Formatting Formatting such as font type size style and colour placing a box around select items and background colour can draw attention to menu items you want to sell Economics Price

    Original URL path: http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/RAVEaboutyourmenudesign.aspx (2016-02-14)
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  • Eight rules to creating a menu for recession-stricken customers
    customers 1 Offer more affordable appetizer options Customers are probably more inclined to skip ordering an appetizer and move straight to an entrée in order to save money but they might be convinced to select an appetizer if there were something on the menu that was less than 5 00 Consider offering items that have relatively low food cost like onion rings a small bowl of homemade soup a half order of chicken wings or nachos etc 2 Offer half portions for entrées On the flip side customers might be inclined to only order an appetizer and skip the entrée altogether especially if your restaurant is known for its large portions Consider offering customers the option of ordering a half portion of an entrée for a little more than half the price 3 Offer prix fixe meals By offering a prix fixe meal or allowing customers to pick from a selection of appetizers entrées and desserts for a set price everyone wins Your customers end up buying a three course meal which they probably would not have ordered otherwise but walk away feeling like they got a great deal 4 Highlight profitable and signature dishes Use borders and shaded boxes or increase the size of the words to attract attention to your most profitable or signature items Your menu should always be written in lower case letters with no more than three distinct styles of font Also try not to incorporate more than three colours in your menu and make sure those three colours relate to your brand and image 5 Offer a separate dessert menu Entice your customers to order dessert by keeping dessert tent cards on the table highlighting a specific dessert item like a special dessert for two that your restaurant offers Research has proven that by keeping desserts and specialty drinks on separate menu cards sales for those items have been much higher Also offer mini desserts so that your customers can either order a variety of them to taste and sample or at least one rather than none 6 Include a children s menu For many families with children the top draw to a restaurant is whether or not that particular restaurant offers a kids menu Many parents do not feel it is worthwhile to pay full price for a dish that their child may not like or finish Be sure to offer a wide variety of choices including healthy items like veggie sticks and dip steamed broccoli baked fish grilled chicken breast or rice and some fun favourites like pizza burgers and chicken fingers Make sure that the kids menu is priced reasonably and always include a drink a dessert and a treat in the meal 7 Keep your price increments unnoticeable During a recession it is very tempting for restaurant operators to increase prices to make up for some lost business If this is your situation try to keep your price increments small and unnoticeable Another strategy is to lower the prices on

    Original URL path: http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/MarketingSales/Eightrulestocreatingamenuforrecession.aspx (2016-02-14)
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  • How to increase your restaurant's profit through menu engineering
    profit through menu engineering By Patti Hone November 7 2011 Leave a comment What would you rather order a juicy marinated fire grilled chicken filet or a plain chicken breast Do you scan the menu prices from top to bottom and choose your dish based on price Are your cheap staples like burgers and sandwiches occupying a prominent area of your menu because they are popular Have you considered if they are they giving you the highest margins These are all common questions and concerns when you analyze and engineer your menu for profitability Menu engineering has been around since the early 80 s and is defined as the process of selecting costing pricing and evaluating all of your menu items to ensure your offerings are contributing to bottom line dollars not food cost percentages Let s face it you take money to the bank not percentages Think of it like this A customer comes in and wants a recommendation Are you going to push your penne arrabiata for 10 your cost 2 or your Steak and Frites for 20 your cost 8 If you were looking at food costs you would push the pasta as the food cost are 20 per cent versus 40 per cent for the steak However if you are looking at contribution margins the steak will contribute 12 to gross revenue while the pasta only contributes 8 Each of your items has to be analyzed and categorized There are generally four categories Stars high popularity and high margins Work horses high popularity and low margin Puzzlers low popularity and high margins Dogs low popularity and low margin Menu engineering involves the analysis of each and every one of your menu items as well as the critical design and placement on your menu High profit items

    Original URL path: http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/menuengineering.aspx (2016-02-14)
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  • Getting started with your menu makeover
    signage at the restaurant entrance by providing prime positioning on the menu and by influencing the order with the sales pitch at the table The top sellers might not be your best money makers so don t leave money on the table Remember the rule of supply and demand Learn what your best money makers are for contribution margin Example 10 selling price minus 3 cost a contribution margin of 7 after food cost only and before labour and other expenses Other considerations in the menu pricing What is your necessary average cheque to break even To calculate the necessary average cheque divide the total expenses in a month by the number of customers you serve in a month Example 60 000 in total expenses for the month divided by 10 000 customers served in a month a necessary break even of a minimum of 6 00 average cheque per customer What is your actual average cheque per customer Using the total sales for the same month divided by the same number of 10 000 customers calculate the actual average cheque per customer Example 59 000 in sales divided by 10 000 customers a 5 90 average cheque Summary The actual expense per customer is 6 00 minus the actual average cheque of 5 90 10 cents short per customer average cheque Consider the difference between average cheque and the necessary break even average cheque Now that you know the average cheque per customer is short by 10 cents you can fine tune the menu pricing in a what if scenario on a sales mix spread sheet or simply use Menu Tools to calculate your menu mix for all items sold to ensure your operation exceeds the break even with a planned profit Dealing with fear of increasing menu prices Today more than ever customers are willing to pay a slightly higher price for your product given the top of mind increasing cost of food and fuel At what average cheque increase 30 40 50 cents or more would the customer not see the value of their meal experience Always maintain the guiding principle of Quality Consistency and Value in your operation Increase prices before cutting quality or portions Never underestimate the power of nickels dimes quarters and even higher amounts given the popularity and demand of a menu item Take for example if the average customer consumed three items per meal at a five cent increase per item At 300 customers per day this would translate into 45 per day or 1 350 per month or 16 200 per year in extra bottom line net profit Per menu item Total all items sold Name Number sold Sales mix Food cost Sell price Food cost Contrib Margin Food Cost Sales Revenue Contrib margin Actions Ceasar Salad 300 8 0 1 61 5 99 26 9 4 38 483 00 1 797 00 1 314 00 N A Chicken Nachos large 150 7 0 5 91 10 49 56 3 4

    Original URL path: http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/menumakeover.aspx (2016-02-14)
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  • Putting passion into the pub
    up the bar menu and seriously consider whether it inspires a guest to dine at the establishment while savouring a good pint or cocktail If the answer is no don t fret there is a solution that can offer tremendous benefits to owners operators as well as guests Part of the problem with bar food is often quick and easy appetizers are offered that don t inspire diners They are predictable safe and chosen for the menu because they can be executed as a consistent product Instead why not embrace recipes sought after for their comfort food status or choose a standard dish and jazz it up That s what some of the world s best chefs have done they ve enhanced the classics by putting their own spin on them At hot spots in New York Chicago and Las Vegas mac n cheese fish and chips and sliders can be found in every shape form and fashion Some restaurants have incorporated local cheeses hand cut fries and house ground organic meat into these traditional must eats while others have included a story on the menu about how they learned to make the dish thanks to grandma nana or poppy These dishes are often low cost food items that will quickly become guest favourites driving customers to make a habit of regularly frequenting the establishment to enjoy them Implementing change at the bar is not as hard as it may appear Here are seven tried and true ideas to help you get started 1 Examine the numbers Often a guest will ask their server for a dish recommendation and hear It s one of our best sellers when in fact it is the staff member s favourite There are also favourite dishes of many owners or chefs who may see a menu item through rose coloured glasses not objectively which is what a menu mix report provides 2 Seek out the bottom three sellers among the starters currently offered Try the items for a couple of days in a row and analyze if they are consistent The restaurant s culinary brigade may simply need to be retrained on how the dish was originally envisioned Also ask the front and back of house teams why the items are not selling Tweaking tired dishes works too Inject some excitement by adding a local microbrew beer sauce or farm raised beef from down the street 3 As an incentive hold a contest with service staff to see who achieves the highest sales of bar food 4 On the topic of staff they can provide the most honest feedback on why dishes aren t selling Servers can also make or break a bar menu with their attitude Quite simply if they don t love it they won t sell it So ask them what they like to eat when they dine out and some of the spots they patronize after work Then get the management team together and go do some competitive dining 5

    Original URL path: http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/Areyougettingthemostoutofyour.aspx (2016-02-14)
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  • Photographing meals at restaurants: A picture is worth a thousand shares
    Chiasson Chris Elliott Roger Mittag Janine Windsor Devon Peart Chad Finkelstein Kristin Menas Liana Robberecht Jordan Knox Go A picture is worth a thousand shares Upping your photo game in the age of social media By Barbara MacDonald February 23 2015 Tweet Leave a comment Yes the expression used to be a picture is worth a thousand words but it doesn t necessarily apply anymore With the rampant adaptation of Instagram Snapchat Twitter and even the old standby Facebook there s a total fascination with photographing our meals especially when they look appetizing interesting and venturesome Friends are one thing food is another Restauranteurs beware that your food and plate presentations are going viral and global all with the click of a button You might want to spend some time reviewing the presentations you re serving as well as the polish on the dishes and vessels you use Those plain white plates with their years of scratches and slopping sauce splatters could really be doing you some disservice Big hint take some of your own photos and review with your team Snoop around at what other photos are circulating and up your game It s bound to be good for

    Original URL path: http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/photographingmealsthousandshares.aspx (2016-02-14)
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  • Six useful customer privacy protection tips for restaurant owners
    to know about PIPEDA To collect use or disclose your clients personal information you generally need their consent Personal information could include clients preferences or order histories contact information and or video or audio footage Generally speaking you can use or disclose your client s personal information only for the purpose for which it was collected unless your client consents For example if you collect their address for delivery purposes you can t use it to send them special offers unless you obtain their consent to do so You also can t sell your customers habits to a third party marketer unless they gave you consent to do so Even with consent you may also be subject to other requirements such as the requirement to only collect use or disclose personal information for an appropriate purpose The law requires that any personal information you collect be protected with adequate security safeguards This may include limiting employee access to customer information to a need to know basis and securing computer systems that hold personal information with passwords encryption and firewalls Individuals have a right to see the personal information that your business holds about them and to correct any inaccuracies Good privacy is good business Gaining the trust of customers is important for all businesses and losing it can take only one incident According to a study by PR firm Edelman Privacy Security The New Drivers of Brand Reputation and Action Global Insights 2012 data security and privacy considerations have a huge impact on purchasing decisions In fact the study showed that nearly 50 per cent of participants would either leave or avoid businesses that suffered a security breach Making privacy and security a key part of your branding and corporate identity can be an important step to build consumer confidence

    Original URL path: http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/customerprivacyprotection.aspx (2016-02-14)
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