Unlock the profit in your menu

Related tags Menu Dishware

It is more important than ever to make sure that you maximise the margin that can be generated from your food offering. Shaun Hill, executive...

It is more important than ever to make sure that you maximise the margin that can be generated from your food offering. Shaun Hill, executive development chef at 3663 First for Foodservice analysed the menus of the Sell More Save More outlets and offers up some tips on how to carefully examine your menu and unlock the opportunities to increase profit.

Streamline without losing choice

"Pubs want to keep costs as low as possible. Customers want the best value for money. It can be a very tricky playing field as outlets try to offer customers what they want while consumers become ever more savvy of both value and quality.

"The concept of value engineering - improving the value of goods and services by looking at its function - is becoming very important, especially when considering the difference it can make to the GP from your menu.

"Value engineering is a fine art, and it is important to make sure that in enhancing your margin, you don't compromise on the quality, taste or appearance of the dish.

"One of the first things to do is to keep your menu on a manageable level. Consider use of ingredients in more than one dish. This is absolutely key to the process. If the menu consists of many options with a lot of different ingredients, you can quickly build up a lot of stock.

"Having a simpler menu which uses the same ingredients across a range of different dishes, and offers fewer of the most popular dishes well presented and cooked will deliver success. This keeps your customers happy and makes stock control, ordering and kitchen service much easier. An example would be to consider fewer types of rice on your menu.

Also think about how you can use your suppliers more effectively. At 3663 some of our customers view us as their storeroom and they order fewer ingredients as and when needed. It saves them storage space but more importantly, it also helps them to manage their cash flow better.

Value learning at the Priory Arms

The 3663 team will be visiting The Priory Arms shortly to consult with Graham Bulpett on how he can get even more value from his menu. Shaun has had a look at the current menu and has highlighted some areas where Graham is already making the most of his offering.

"Graham has a great gourmet burger offering on his menu. It uses burgers he makes from scratch but which he could also buy in," says Shaun. "He is definitely on the right track, dressing them with ingredients like chilli or salsa, guacamole and sour cream, mozzarella or pesto which feature in other dishes throughout the menu.

This principle was one of the key pillars to making suggestions for revamping the Rose and Crown menu last year. 3663 advised Tim Robinson on how to streamline the offering by using ingredients in more than one dish.

Switch ingredients

Another opportunity for value engineering lies in substituting ingredients to lower cost options," says Shaun. "It is very important to stress that you should under no circumstances compromise on the quality and taste of the dish. Good options for substitution include cheaper pastry, nachos and pasta.

"It is a fine art and there are some items that should always be of the highest quality, like centre of plate, meat, burgers and vegetables."

Mains versus sides and the importance of upselling

Shaun continues: "Offering extras like chips, coleslaw, grated cheddar and garlic bread as part of dishes in addition to placing them on the menu as side dishes can reduce your profit. Why would someone order something they really like as a side dish when they can pick a meal that already includes it?

"Pubs can very easily fall in this trap because they feel the need to add more value by added additional items to a dish. It isn't necessary though, to offer everything in the main meal".

"You can offer one extra with the main dish, leaving the opportunity to upsell on a couple of other extra options. For example offering lasagne with garlic bread or vegetables, allows you the opportunity to sell additional items like vegetables, coleslaw or chips.

"You will find that sides sell better if they offer a point of difference. Winter vegetable selection, or honey-roasted vegetables and mediterranean salad sounds much more appetising than seasonal vegetables or side salad.

"Make sure that your staff know how to spot the potential to sell in additional dishes. Consider incentivising them to sell additional side dishes, desserts and extras.

Shaun's tips for enhancing your menu margin

- Try and upsell where possible: give good value with your main dishes, but save some things as extras that your customers can buy

- Keep the menu short and manageable: always keep your stock levels and cash flow in mind

- Rationalise your ingredients: use similar ingredients in different dishes

- Swap ingredients with care: Where you do want to take cost out of a dish, take care to switch ingredients that customers won't notice in the taste or appearance of the dish. Be especially careful to make sure you don't compromise the quality of centre of plate and produce.

Value expertise at your fingertips

3663 has a team of business development experts with years of experience of delivering maximum value and creating the most cost efficient solutions for businesses. Contact them to discuss opportunities to improve your profit. Call 0870 3663 000 for more information.

Related topics Menu Ideas News

Property of the week


£ 60,000 - Leasehold

Busy location on coastal main road Extensively renovated detached public house Five trade areas (100)  Sizeable refurbished 4-5 bedroom accommodation Newly created beer garden (125) Established and popular business...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more