The Principles of Great Menu Engineering

From quick food trucks to sit-down restaurants, every business that serves food knows that they need to provide a great menu. While consumers will think a menu is great based on the quality of the food, everyone in the food industry knows that there’s more to a menu than just the food. To create a great menu, you must use psychology and make sure you get the principles of menu engineering just right. Keep reading to learn more about this psychology and those important principles.

Customer Psychology

Customer psychology will play a huge role in helping you engineer a great menu. While all customers are different, most humans tend to respond the same way to pages of text and blank spaces. When faced with a page of text, most people’s eyes are drawn to the center of the page, then the top right corner, followed by the top left corner. The information they gather through these three glances will affect what options they choose. Arrange your menu wisely within this triangle.

Since pages of text are also overwhelming for the eye, your customers will often take a break from reading to look at blank spaces or pictures. Strategically placing these blank spaces and pictures throughout the menu will draw the reader’s eye to specific dishes.

Understanding Demand

Another part of creating a great menu is understanding the demand behind different menu items. Arranging your menu to take advantage of customer psychology will partially affect the demand for various dishes, but personal tastes will also have a substantial effect. Since personal tastes are hard to quantify, it’s a good idea to use an automated system to track the popularity of certain dishes. This will help you know what menu items to promote and give you an idea of how new menu items may perform, which will allow you to create a better menu over time.

Financial Margins

The last principle of great menu engineering is making sure you have the right financial margins. Understanding psychology and demand will help you design a great menu, but if you’re not making money, you can’t keep offering the dishes on that menu. You’ll need to add up the cost it takes to create each dish, then figure out how much to charge for that dish in order to create a profitable financial margin. Before deciding on a price, you’ll also need to consider what your customers are willing to pay for a dish. Finding the sweet spot of making a profit on a dish that is affordable will take time, but it’s necessary to create a successful menu.

Once you understand psychology, demand, and margins, you can build a great menu. Make sure your kitchen has the infrastructure to create this menu by investing in high-quality commercial food equipment. DSL is here to provide that equipment and serve you so that you can run a successful business and contribute to the food industry.

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