Make Changing Your Menu Easier, Quicker and More Effective

(If you make the process difficult, you won’t do it as often)

When should you change your menu?

  • When your customers are tired of dishes
    • Your staff will tell you
    • Your sales will tell you
    • Your customers will tell you (by not showing up as often)
  • Seasonally (If applicable)
  • When it’s time to shake things up, stay relevant and keep interest piqued
  • When dishes aren’t profitable and raising the price isn’t an option
  • When food cost is too high
  • If you haven’t changed it in 6 months

How do you know which dishes to change?

  • Seasonal items
  • Tired items
  • Unprofitable items
  • Most Effective way of deciding
  • Menu Engineering
    • Take the decision mostly out of it
    • Requires some up-front work, but the ROI is incredible
  • Going by Sales Mix report is what most people use, but you may be missing the mark in doing so
    • Could be a profitable and popular dish if the price is right

Make it Easier, Quicker and More Effective

  • Develop a protocol
    • Step 1: Continually research and develop dish ideas that fit your segment
      • Trends
      • Competitors
      • Corporate LTO’s
      • Trendy Social Media accounts
      • Your own LTO’s that have won fanfare
      • Ask Hillcrest/Anthony
    • Step 2: Test execution and market response via LTO’s/Special Board
      • Toggle price, description and composition until you are comfortable
    • Step 3: Decide what existing dishes to change
      • Implement an ongoing menu engineering workflow
        • Isolate proposed changes based on menu engineering work sheet and audit each recommended change from a financial perspective
    • Step 4: Cost out proposed dishes to ensure profitability
    • Step 5: Get changes to graphic designer (Find a good one and latch on!)
    • Step 6: Develop menu descriptions to educate your staff
    • Step 7: Pre-launch tasting with all staff and encourage HONEST feedback
    • Step 8: Launch
      • Hype up on social media/marketing outlets
    • Step 9: Start the process over the day you launch
    • Step 10 (Bonus):
      • R&D Panel tasting (can include management, friends, family and customers)
      • Create a cloud storage space to where employees can post ideas and share thoughts
      • Learn how to change prices/descriptions
        • Eliminate need for graphic designer on small changes – increase speed exponentially
        • Print in-house
          • Tailor menu design to fit this
          • Purchase/lease requisite printer
            • Will pay for itself


  • Being faster means more profit (especially with fluctuating prices)
  • It keeps things interesting and you relevant
  • Don’t let a long process render you cynical. 
    • It still needs to be done
    • You can get faster – don’t accept anything else
    • I have changed menus mid-shift


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