Published April 10, 2020
After shifting your restaurant’s operations to takeout and/or delivery, you might have found yourself dealing with some additional complexity because of your menu. The menu that served you so well before the pandemic has maybe hindered your operations since, whether because of the number of items you offer, the complexity of preparation of some dishes or associated inventory adjustments.
Other restaurants have faced this challenge, too, and after conducting an evaluation of their menu, simplified their offerings to streamline their takeout and delivery operations. Here are three menu strategies to help you do the same:
Paring down your menu gives your true “stars” the ability to shine; not only does it create focus for your guests, but it also provides you some operational gains in quicker service and inventory savings. Choose your best-selling items, most profitable items and dishes that share ingredients so you can limit the amount of inventory you need on hand. Additionally, with physical distancing measures in place, you’ll also want to focus on items that require fewer kitchen staff to prepare without sacrificing delivery times.
Identify items that are good to promote as discounted add-ons to raise the total purchase cost, like offering a gallon of a beverage, or upselling a small dessert. Not only does this drive additional revenue for your restaurant, it’s also convenient for your customers. Why does it work? Since your guests aren’t leaving their home as much, they may take the opportunity to stock up on certain items or order additional dishes to share or nibble on over the next several days. Which leads to…
Consider creating new item combinations that can serve as full meals for groups of 4–6 people, such as families or larger households. This could be in the form of meal kits, pre-packaged meals, bulk choices or combination discounts on certain item groupings. Meal bundles can also help your kitchen staff, as they can be easier for your team to prep and assemble, particularly you have fewer employees in the kitchen.
When you’re pivoting to curbside and takeout, don’t let your menu stand in the way of operational gains and enhanced customer experience. The net result of a focused menu, with special “pandemic-only offerings,” will help you stay top-of-mind when your doors are open again.
For additional restaurant articles, tips and resources, visit NCR.com/coronavirus/restaurants.