Menu mix

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A restaurant’s menu mix, also referred to as its ‘sales mix,’ is the ranking of each menu item by customer preference (popularity) by meal period. It has a direct impact on the overall food cost percentage that will be produced at the end of the month and on the profit generated by the operation.

The objective of sales mix analysis is to identify specific menu items that contribute to your profit, cost, and revenue objectives. Major contributors become featured items on the menu (using menu psychology techniques). This also works in the reverse to ‘hide’ items that do not contribute to cost and revenue objectives.

Menu mix optimization is assessed using a variety of menu engineering techniques. The simplest of these take into account the popularity and food cost of each item relative to all other items within the menu item category (e.g. entre´es). More robust techniques include multiple variables including contribution margin, popularity, and likely degree of relative elasticity, among others, within the context of other related menu items. The key to effective menu mix analysis is to use a continuous improvement approach and to integrate those variables that are most salient to the operators, the market, and the concept.

References

Miller, Jack E., & Pavesic, David V. (1996). Menu pricing and strategy. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Reynolds, D. (2008). Foodservice management fundamentals. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons.

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