Redesigning Menus for Better Margins

Navigating Covid-19 (part I)


Restaurants are reopening, customers will be back on seats. There is light at the end of the tunnel: redesigning your menu for better margins.

Even as restaurants open again, there’s still a big problem. Strict social-distancing rules, with tables at least 1.5m apart, are combined with shorter opening hours, so customers are limited to barely half of the regular number. For more cozy restaurant setups, this might reduce the people served during a day to a third or even a quarter of capacity. With employees already on unemployment and costs that can’t be squeezed any further, restaurants face the real worry of not generating sustainable margins. One way through is to redesigning your menu for better margins.

Reducing menus down to a few basics

A wide variety of dishes means a wide range of ingredients. But with far fewer customers, these options are unlikely to be ordered, meaning a lot more food waste. More options also make the kitchen more complex, increasing the cost again. So smart owners are limiting their menus to just a few dishes. Whether it’s five, three, or even one option, this minimizes produce costs to only absolutely necessary ingredients, allows for a more basic kitchen setup, and keeps waste to a minimum. “Due to the situation, it is now all the more important to consolidate your menu and to offer efficient meals. We do this with our Kaarage Curry Bowl, as it contains seasonal and qualitative vegetables we use in many other dishes. The focus on high-yielding dishes makes it easier to calculate in our restaurant” (Duc Nguyen, chef of 6 trendy restaurants in Germany). They are also choosing these dishes carefully. In general, they pick items that are:

  • High margin: a simple calculation of price vs ingredient cost can go a long way.
  • Customer favorites: what do you sell the most? If customers see their go-to dishes on the menu, it won’t matter if there aren’t other options.
  • Prepared in similar ways: the fewer different parts of the kitchen involved in running your new menu, the easier to run a more basic setup.

We're in this together

Our priority at Choco is always to support restaurants, to offer help and guidance through this crisis. We will be putting on virtual panels so restaurants and suppliers can share methods, connect to support each other, and make sure we keep our gastronomy community strong.