by Aaron Allen
Restaurant Consultant, Speaker & Industry Analyst
Aaron Allen & Associates
If ever there were a time to invest in restaurant menu strategy, surely it should be now. The issues of labor shortages, supply chain constraints, cost inflation, optimization for digital and delivery, brand differentiation, enhanced productivity, kitchen complexity, bottlenecks, guest experience, order accuracy, maintaining relevance and competitiveness — nearly all of these issues have roots in the menu.
To get it right requires a CEO-level mandate, as such an initiative involves a dedicated team authorized to work across functional lines and hierarchies for weeks on end (which is why so few chains harvest the full value such an endeavor can yield when done properly). It can be time-consuming, laborious, and costly; but it can also meaningfully contribute to profitable revenue growth as well as benefit the organization across a wide spectrum of intangibles.
Menu engineering is the spring cleaning equivalent in the industry. Menus, SKUs, inventory, POS data, etc. — they tend to attract clutter just like a utility drawer. Not everyone enjoys cleaning out and organizing a messy garage or attic, but everyone does feel better once it’s done.