Vol. 11: COVID-19 Impact on Menu Optimization

Over the past 6-8 weeks, many restaurants adjusted their menus to maximize off-premise sales and simplify operations. As we enter a time of transition, a unique opportunity exists to assess and build your ‘menu of the future’.

Legacy menu engineering principles relied solely on quantity, price and cost to determine what to keep, remove and promote.  Modern menu optimization now includes more diverse data sets and advanced methods to help you determine the product lineup and menu layout that has the highest potential to satisfy the greatest number of current and prospective customers.

Advances in technology have made these methods accessible for chains of any size, and the effects of COVID-19 now require menu managers to be more discerning in their product and ingredient selection process. Use the following 4 principles as the foundation to build your menu of the future.

For a more thorough guide to optimize your menu for any channel, download our Guide to Menu Optimization in the COVID-19 Era.

  1. Reach & Frequency
    • Survey your existing and prospective customers to determine which of your current products, and new product concepts, will maximize unique customer reach and frequency. This TURF Analysis (Total Unduplicated Reach and Frequency) is described in detail here.
  2. Sales and Profit
    • Determine product contribution to your business from a quantity, sales and profit standpoint, in aggregate and by individual items.
  3. Execution Complexity
    • How many ingredients and prep steps are involved? What is the cook time and speed of kitchen production? What is the hold time once prepared, and is it a fit for the delivery channel?
  4. Brand Relevance
    • Asses each product’s position relative to your desired brand identity – is it in line with the experience you seek to provide your customers?

As your dining room customers begin to return, use this time of transition to assess recent takeout and delivery performance. Determine if a uniform menu is optimal for all channels, or if margin improvement and operational efficiency can be gained by offering different products or bundled solutions in your off-premise channels.

Contact Fishbowl to learn more about our Menu Optimization services.

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