It’s not as simple as just thinking of what food you like and writing a menu:
Customer: Who are they and where do they come from? What is the local economy like? Where else do they go? Identify your target market through reviewing competitor sites as well as identifying who you believe you can and will attract. If your core customer trade is wet led sports drinkers, does a gastro food offer really match that?
Offer: Do you want to be known as somewhere to go to dine regularly or for an occasion? This can affect your menu decisions. Fantastic (and sometimes more expensive) fine dining is great but only if your premises matches the offer and you can get a wide enough customer base visiting on enough occasions to retain turnover and business levels. Regular diners feel comfortable visiting whether pre arranged or spontaneous, on their own, with family or with friends.
Market: What is the local area like? What other food pubs are there? What competitor offers are there? Is the area full of managed house brands, offers and promotions? What are your competitor prices? Is there a gap in the market? What’s missing?
Property: Does your property match your offer? Do your your facilities reflect what your menu and food aspirations say about your business? Would you take your mother in law for a meal in your premises? Can you separate local drinkers and one off diners? Can you manage the atmosphere and ambience? What size menu can your kitchen cope with – not just the staff but equipment too?
To attract customers regularly you must make them feel welcome and ensure that they leave feeling valued, either through offer, promotions and deals or by your atmosphere and pricing structure with high levels of customer service and standards.
Price: Gross Profit margins and percentage are all well and good and should be used as a guide for controlling stocks, but, as has been documented previously, you cannot bank percentages! Your pricing must remain competitive yet be realistic for your target market as well as local area.
Use your main menu to set the theme of the offer – if your target is value dining then price point is key but maximise your margin through “add ons” as well as low cost, high margin specials.
Train your staff to upsell side orders, sauces and desserts and create “sharing” platters or “family meal deals” to increase the perception of “value”.
At RS Hospitality Solutions we do more than “just accounts” and work with clients to advise on every aspect of their business and even have experienced catering professionals who can advise on menu, content, margins, kitchen planning and layouts.