more, but to simplify the study, only three were used.) The meal covers lunch for two days. Sales
in this example are 100 orders of shrimp at $8.00 with a food cost of $2 per serving, 500 orders
of beef ribs priced at $13.00 with a food cost of $3.28 per serving, and 400 orders of roast turkey
priced at $9.00 with a food cost of $2.40 per serving. This comes to 1,000 orders for the study
group items, but total orders for the period studied were 1,500. By following through on the 18
steps outlined, we can see how a Hurst menu score is compiled.
Steps in Performing the Hurst Menu Analysis
The steps in making a Hurst menu analysis are as follows:
1. Decide on the period and meal to be covered, and the number of items to be evaluated, and
fill in the necessary data.
2. Select items that contribute to a major portion of the revenue—all can be included or only
the part to be studied. The items selected for special study are called the study group in
this discussion. Place these items in column 1.
3. Make a count of the number sold for each of the items in the study group. Place the results
in column 2.
4. Add entries in column 2 to get the total number of study group items sold.
5. Add to the number of study group items sold (step 4) and all other (nonstudy) menu items
sold and place the total on the line for Total Items Sold and in space 11, Total Served.
6. Record the selling price for each item in the study group in column 3.
7. Multiply the number of each study group item sold (from column 2) by its selling price
(from column 3) to get the total dollar sales for each item. Record these in column 4.
8. Add column 4 to get the total dollar sales of the study group.
9. Calculate the dollar food cost for each item in the study group. Record this in column 5.
10. Get the total food cost of each sale by multiplying the number of each item sold by its
food cost. Record this in column 6.
11. Add column 6 to get the total dollar food cost for all items.
12. Obtain the meal average—or average selling price—of all items in the study group by
dividing the total dollars in sales (the sum of column 4) by the total number of study group
items sold (the sum of column 2). Place the result in space 7.
13. Calculate the gross profit and gross profit percentage. Subtract the total food costs for all
study group items (sum of column 6) from the total dollar sales of study group items (sum
of column 4). Record the difference in space 8. Then divide this difference by the total
dollar sales (sum of column 4) to get the gross profit percentage. Record this figure in
14. Calculate the gross profit average by multiplying the check average (average selling price)
in space 7 by the gross profit percentage in space 9. Record this in space 10.
15. Calculate the percentage of customers that select the study group items by dividing the
sum of the study group items sold (total of column 2) by the total items sold as compiled
in step 5 and recorded in space 11. Record the result in space 12.
16. Calculate the menu score by multiplying the gross profit average (space 10) by the percentage
of patrons selecting the study group items (space 12). Record the result in space 13.
17. Make any comments in space 14.
18. Sign and date the form.
Evaluating the Menu Score
One menu score by itself means little. It merely indicates how numbers sold interact with prices,
sales mix, gross profit, and food costs. A number of menu scores kept over a period of time must
be compiled and analyzed to obtain desirable information on how well a menu is doing. (See
Exhibit 8.9.) Also, comparing scores with those of other operations is not helpful. There are too
many varying factors. Only scores generated internally are good for comparison.
Often a low score is the result of too low a selling price resulting in a low check average, or
some items not eliciting patron selection. Whatever the cause, management should take steps to
correct the situation. The manager may try to reduce food costs and thus raise gross profit, use
merchandising to elicit more patron selections, or increase volume. There are many possibilities,
and managers should investigate carefully to identify the cause of a low menu score.
A menu planner can use a computer to simulate menu changes before actually putting them
into effect. Putting the Hurst method into the computer can make simulation easy, quick, and
quite accurate—as long as accurate data are fed into the computer.