How Often Should a Restaurant Make a New Menu?

Globalization, food prices, financial motivations, and guest satisfaction all influence how often you should adjust your menu. When should you create a new menu? Here are a few considerations.

Globalization and its Effect on New Menu Creation

Globalization and the emerging food shortage crisis are wreaking havoc on food prices. In 2011, menu prices are expected to increase at least 8% in restaurants and costs for many restaurants are going up at far faster rates.

While you shouldn’t react to food price increases on a day by day or hour by hour basis as they shift, you do need to analyze your menu and produce a new menu at least twice per year. The average restaurant profitability is a razor thin 5%. Dramatic fluctuations in costs which are sustained over long periods of time can not only erode margins but can put a restaurant company into the red and cause debts to mount quickly.

Other Important Factors for New Menu Creation

Beyond the important financial motivations to review and adjust your menu on regular intervals, there is also the equally important factor of guest satisfaction (influenced both by factors within your control such as speed of service, quality and consistency of execution, etc., and also external factors such as shifting consumer behavior and emerging trends).

Some restaurants are already geared up to produce a new menu each night, some each quarter/season and some have 18-month or greater planning curves. There is no one size fits all when it comes to how often to conduct a full menu analysis or rollout new menus. Suffice to say, based on your operation, there is a sweet spot for timing – just like timing that perfect soufflé. More often than not though, restaurant companies tend to leave the menu in place without proper analysis for too long of a stretch and burn significant profits as a result. At a minimum – for high volume independents through large regional chains – the menu analysis work should be completed at least twice per year.

Restaurant Consultant

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