04 Jul 2022

It seems like data dominates every decision these days, and for good reason. No matter how small a company you are, you can use data to influence your menu choices, engineer better-performing dishes, and maximise profit.  


With the cost of many ingredients skyrocketing, now is the time to ensure every last morsel is making you the best value dishes, delighting your customers, and maximising your dry sales.  


Dunns Food and Drinks is here to help. We’ve been championing Scottish businesses and the hospitality industry for almost 150, supporting customers through multiple recessions and crises, and that experience is invaluable as the cost-of-living crisis bites.  


We want to help our customers to maintain maximum profitability throughout their post-pandemic recovery, and with this in mind, here is our guide to making the most of Menu Engineering.  


What is menu engineering? 


Data can provide insights into industry trends, what’s performing well, and what could be removed from your menu. By monitoring what your dishes are, how they perform, and their turnover rate, you can begin to see what dishes are carrying your menu versus those that are expensive to prepare and perhaps don’t sell as well. 


All of your data will give you clear insight into which dishes you should promote more, which ones are priced too high, and which ones should make way for a more suitable alternative. It’s a perfect way to let your own data upgrade your business and boost your profits.


How does menu engineering work? 
To conduct a proper evaluation, ask yourself the following questions about the dishes on your menu. 


Popularity: How many orders do you get for the dish on a weekly basis? 

Chef time (min): How much time is spent by the chef preparing this dish?

Kitchen help time (min): How much time is spent by kitchen staff preparing this dish? 

Menu price excl. VAT ( £ ): What is the menu price of the dish before taxes?

From this analysis, you can see which dishes are clear winners, but if you really want to deep dive into the data, head to our supplier, Lamb Weston’s website and use their calculator to gain even further insight. 


How to increase profitability on menu items  


There are many steps you can take to up the profitability of your dishes as the cost of food rises. In fact, we have a whole news article on upping your premium sides offering you can read here. 


If you’re in need of additional inspiration, we also have these top tips to increase profits on food sales:  


1. Reorganise your menu


When was the last time you redesigned your menu? It’s true that we ‘eat with our eyes’ first, and so having a menu that is easy to look at and that matches the quality of your product is paramount.


Having too many dishes on one page, a font that is difficult to read, or dishes hiding in the corners means diners won’t be able to take everything in and may end up ordering the first thing their eyes land upon. Ensuring your menu is orderly and aesthetically pleasing is key to dialling up and diversifying food sales.


2. Add menu modifiers to upsell


Highlighting ingredients and adding a premium upsell to your dishes is another fantastic profit driver. For example, adding bacon to loaded fries; avocado to a burger; or a speciality sauce to a steak are simple ways to add small increases that soon add up.


3. Reduce menu size


Finally, similar to redesigning your menu, you may even wish to reduce the size of the menu altogether. If your burgers outsell nachos, you may become more viable by focusing on your speciality. In addition, a smaller choice highlights your best-selling dishes well, meaning diners are more likely to choose a profitable option. 


We can cater to your needs with a fantastic range of food and drink items at fantastic prices. To find out more about our range, why not get in touch today? You can also follow updates via our Instagram and LinkedIn pages to stay up to date with our range.