How to Approach Your COVID-19 Menu Strategy

Across the country, restaurants are adapting to a new normal. It’s impossible to say whether this ‘norm’ will be temporary or lead into a longer-term way of things. Regardless, restaurants are making changes to their food procurement and operational processes to keep operations running and profitable.

Food Procurement Approach

For some, this means operating as take-out only. For others, this means constructing new seating arrangements to meet local or state guidelines. Many restaurants are even adjusting their food procurement strategies and working with experts to maximize cost saving opportunities.

Regardless of how your restaurant is adjusting operations to serve customers, one of the biggest areas you should focus on is your menu offerings.

While the decision may be tough, adjusting your restaurant’s menu during COVID-19 can help ensure you make efficient food procurement decisions and generate profit.

Not sure where to start?

Our team of food procurement experts created some tips and strategies you can follow to help adjust your menu.

Keep reading to hear from our food procurement experts and learn about a few ways your restaurant can approach your COVID-19 food procurement and menu strategy.

Revise and Limit Your Offerings

While it may seem like reducing your menu offerings could hurt your operation when reopening, revising and limiting your menu is key.

Diners understand what is going on and are ready to encounter limited menus as places continue reopening. Removing some less popular dishes will not impact their dining experience but could save you big.

Our food procurement experts recommend looking at your sales report and identify your slow-moving items. Or, use the matrix below to help guide your decision making. This could be a great opportunity to remove those high cost, low profit dishes from your menu.

At the end of the day, if a dish is costing you more to have on the menu than you are making by selling it, consider removing it.

Menu engineering matrix is key part of food procurement process to help  operators identify if their menu item should stay or be removed.

Rationalize Your SKUs

Now more than ever, it’s critical to ensure your ingredients are cross utilized. Not only will this help drive profitability, but it will also help streamline font line operations.

Our food procurement experts recommend spending time looking at your menu item performance and food cost metrics. Your high profitability, high popularity items may justify requiring a few unique ingredients to them. However, dishes that are less popular or profitable may require you to re-think the SKUs required.

If you do have some items that are profitable but less popular, it’s important that you make sure each ingredient used is also being leveraged in one or two other dishes.

By focusing on SKU rationalization, you can help ensure that your restaurant chain is maximizing on profitability while also avoiding potential risk of spoilage.

Balance Scratch vs Prepared Items

In the restaurant industry, labor and cost savings are key. To help achieve that, our food procurement experts recommend you consider balancing some prepared items into your menu.

Many restaurant professionals prefer creating items from scratch. However, current times require that you seriously consider what value scratch items are truly adding to the dish.

The foodservice industry offers a lot of high quality and cost-efficient solutions that you can utilize in your restaurant to help you save on time, labor, and inventory. Things like soup bases, sauce mixes, and dehydrated potatoes are a great option to help you minimize SKUs while maximizing taste and profit.

Ask your distributor reps and brokers to introduce you to value-added products and make sure that they fit your restaurant chain and menu application. Or, connect with us for personalized consultation (it’s free!)

Hear From Our Food Procurement Experts

This article only scratches the surface on ways you can approach menu engineering during COVID-19 to focus on profitability.

To learn more, we sat down with one of our food procurement experts to dive deeper into ways restaurants can approach menu engineering during COVID-19. Click the video below to watch.

It’s impossible to predict how long we will be feeling the effects from COVID-19. For that reason, it is critical restaurant reassess their food procurement and menu engineering process to maximize profitability.

By following these tips from our food procurement experts, your restaurant can save on costs and ultimately reduce expenses. In this time of uncertainty, that’s crucial. The decisions may be tough to make, but they could be necessary for the success of your operation.

For additional help, the food procurement experts at Consolidated Concepts created tools and resources to help restaurants learn more. These resources provide additional information on menu engineering as you adapt your restaurant to current times. You can download the entire reopening guide, or access an easy-to-follow menu planning checklist.

Contact us!

Do you have additional questions on menu engineering? Or, are you interested in learning about other ways Consolidated Concepts can help your operation find cost saving opportunities? If so, contact us!

At Consolidated Concepts, our team of food procurement experts are dedicated to helping your business thrive. Plus, did we mention it’s free to join?