Menu Design & Psychology

To turn over a greater profit, psychologists and menu engineers have identified a series of menu engineering strategies that encourage guests to spend more and to select high profit items. Todays blog picks up from one of my later posts on menu engineering, the mathematic analysis of sales volume and contribution margin. If you haven’t read this yet, you should do so! So many foodservice operations fail unneedingly, having not used this one tool. Simply basing your profitability on food cost percent is a formula for failure. I offer an affordable service, that takes as little as a couple of hours to see were you really stand in terms of “money in the bank”. Slip over to my partner site to see what we can do for you!

Before menu engineering is even a consideration, there are a number of things that have to be looked at first.

I taught a college course in this field for 6 years, it can be a little dry, and perhaps confusing at first. However applying these ideas have remarkable outcomes.

Guide guests’ attention to your high profit items. Studies show that customers are likely to order one of the first items that draws their attention. Since guests only spend an average of 109 seconds looking at your menu, it must be designed for guests to easily find key items. Include a photo, graphic, colored or shaded box, border, or surround the item(s) with white space. Only highlight one or two items per section. Place the items you want to sell in the center, the top right corner, and the top left corner. Psychologists fittingly call these three areas “The Golden Triangle,” and it refers to the way our eyes tend to move when first looking at a menu. In each section, place your most profitable items at the top of the list and one at the bottom. Studies show that people notice and order the top two items or the last item in each section more often than the others.

PRICING TIPS: Write your pricing information using the nesting method. List the price discreetly after each meal description in the same size font, so customers’ eyes glide right over the price instead of focusing on it. Avoid dollar signs. Avoid price trails. Avoid price columns. I COULD GO ON…. Recall the college course, it took 20 lecture hours to deliver! As this is a blog, I’m going to finish up here. Again feel free to contact me for more information!

Cheers, and happy, profitable cooking!