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How to Use Menu Engineering to Maximise Your Profits

Menu engineering first came to light in the 1980s, but now more and more businesses are taking advantage of this growing trend to maximise profitability and customer satisfaction.

Menu engineering

What Is Menu Engineering?

Menu engineering is a strategic approach to designing and managing menus in the hospitality industry. It involves analysing and optimising menu offerings to maximise profits and customer satisfaction.

The goal of menu engineering is to strategically position menu items to increase sales, control costs and improve overall profitability.

Menu Engineering Categorisations

Products are analysed on sales value and quantity vs. product costs and are categorised into four distinct categories:

1. Stars - extremely popular with a high-profit margin.

Ideally, ‘Stars’ should be your flagship or signature products, your menu’s top performers that generate significant revenue.

It’s important to maintain and promote these items to drive sales and profitability.

2. Plough Horses - sell well but do not significantly increase revenue.

They may be customer favourites, but their ingredients or preparation costs are relatively high, resulting in lower profit margins.

Menu engineering strategies for ‘plough horses’ involve cost optimisation or redesigning the dish to improve profitability without compromising customer satisfaction.

3. Puzzles - difficult to sell but have a high profit margin.

These items have low popularity but high profitability. They are often under-promoted or misunderstood by customers.

Menu engineering techniques for ‘puzzles’ involve highlighting their unique features, improving their descriptions, or adjusting their prices to increase their appeal and sales.

4. Dogs - difficult to sell and, when they do, they are not all that profitable.

These items have low popularity and low profitability, that neither generate significant revenue nor contribute to profitability.

‘Dogs’ may be removed from the menu altogether or repositioned and redeveloped to become more appealing to customers.

How Menu Engineering Will Help Your Business Grow

Optimise Your Offerings

By analysing the performance of menu items and strategically adjusting pricing and promotions, menu engineering aims to increase profitability by encouraging customers to order high-profit items while maintaining customer satisfaction.

Enhance Menu’s Visual Appeal

The right menu design and layout will influence customer choices and help businesses to maximise profits.

By using eye-catching food photography and strategic placement of items, you can guide customers towards high profit items and boost overall sales.

Understand Emerging Trends

Menu engineering helps businesses identify trends, understand customer preferences and make data-driven decisions when it comes to menu design and management.

Through analysing your restaurant menu carefully, you can strategically position your menu items, entice customers and boost your revenue like never before!

Accessible Real-Time Data With SymLive

MCR Systems’ Symphony Reporting tool features insightful Menu Engineering reports to guide you on the performance and profitability of your product range.

Menu engineering

You’ll find MCR Systems’ SymLive is intuitive, simple to navigate and will give you real-time key metrics to respond to the ever changing needs of your business.

Whether you choose desktop, tablet or phone, you’ll have the right data, to the right people, at the right time.

For a free demo of SymLIVE and our Menu Engineering reports, call our expert team on 0116 299 7000, or email


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