Profitability has never been more important to restaurants. With dine-in having been closed for months and now being limited to a maximum of 50 percent capacity, profitability is the lifeblood of the industry and key to survival. 

The profit-driving strategies that follow are applicable to restaurants in all segments, as well as convenience stores.

Menu Simplification

TURF Analysis

This method employs consumer research and a mathematical procedure for streamlining your menu. TURF lets you to determine the shortest list of popular and high-margin menu items needed to satisfy the vast majority of your customers. A simplified menu results in back of house operations efficiencies as well as increased customer order throughput.

Menu Operations Analysis

This involves analyzing menu item operations data and complexity ratings to identify the contributing or detracting drivers of profitability. The operations analysis determines menu items that are complex and time-consuming to prepare. These learnings are then used to reduce labor by simplifying the preparation of these items, or deleting them from the menu.

Digital Menu Reengineering (mobile & web)

Digital Menu Assessment

This entails reviewing your current menu strategy: prioritizing categories and products and establishing how each will grow sales and profits in accord with your business plan. Then, the strengths and weaknesses of your current digital menu are determined based on research among your customers. This research evaluates customer interface, ease-of-use and navigation and identifies opportunities and actionable strategies for improvement.

Digital Menu Architecture

Now is the time to reorganize your digital menu based on the assessment findings, and develop an optimized digital menu layout, architecture and customer interface for customer validation prior to launching.

Drive-Thru Menu Communications

Analyze Menu Performance

This starts with conducting a data-driven performance analysis to study key performance metrics, both financial and operational, to identify which menu items lend themselves to promotion, product reengineering, or deletion. 

Optimize Menu Communications

Guided by the performance analysis and the brand’s menu strategy, you should then develop a range of alternatives illustrating the strategic layout, product placement, space allocation and key communication elements for the optimized drive-thru communications.  A quantitative validation survey can then be used to quickly and objectively identify which of the new menu communication strategies will yield the best business results, particularly check average and margin. Keep in mind, the more customers you can get to use your drive-thru will drop the 20-30 percent fees associated with delivery to your bottom line.

Curbside Pickup

Curbside pickup has emerged as a convenient and highly desirable service delivery option for customers as a result of COVID-19. For restaurant brands and operators, curbside results in far more profitable sales than delivery, and the cost and timing to develop and implement curbside is less than other business building initiatives. Furthermore, by continually improving your customers’ curbside experience (improved communications, better way-finding, convenient to-go packaging and faster pick-up service), you can wean more customers off  your less profitable delivery option.

Operations Assessment

Through a comprehensive review, determine if your current back of house and kitchen layout, foodservice equipment and work flow are optimized, particularly with respect to off-premise, given its recent growth surge. This assessment should include order contents, order placement options, POS revenue data, peak demand periods, product mix, type of sales, food handling, packaging, cooking methods, holding, order hand-off, and order accuracy. A thorough assessment will simplify operations and result in increased menu throughput down the line.

Profitability Rules!

By undertaking one or more of these strategies, you will benefit from increased profitability and a smoother road to recovery from the pandemic.

Tom Cook is a Principal at King-Casey, a leading restaurant and foodservice consultancy located in Westport, CT. King-Casey’s focus is on improving the restaurant and foodservice customer experience and offers a wide range of services for achieving this. Tom can be reached at

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