How Many Items Should Be On Your Restaurant Menu?

How Many Items Should Be On Your Restaurant Menu?

If you’re worried that you’ve got too much on your menu, then you’re probably right.

Following this guide will help you narrow down, focus on your strengths and make more profit from the food you sell.

If you follow these 5 simple rules it will change the way you think about your restaurant and how you serve your guests.

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1. Focus on What Sells

Understanding your core market is incredibly important to running a profitable restaurant. Your target guest has certain lifestyle needs that are expressed in the way they order.

If you’ve done the requisite market research, you should already know the needs of your preferred guests. If your restaurant is already serving guests use your POS’s CRM system to find the order history of your most loyal guests.

When you know who’s spending the most money and dines most frequently you can reproduce this success with focus.

Look at your product sales reports:

  • What are your most popular items?
  • Why do you imagine they sell so well?
  • Do you think similar items will perform just as well?

Find the common thread and narrow down your menu to keep drawing in the right people.

2. Get a Handle on Costs

Examine your sales data and cut out menu items that only sell occasionally, especially if they’re not profitable. Wasted space in inventory costs you money.

You’re running a business. It doesn’t help anyone if you’re unreasonably emotionally attached to particular dishes on your menu that are holding you back. Design a new menu with an emphasis on profitability and fan favorites.

Don’t forget the profit-making power of contribution margin. Don’t chase cents when you can rake in dollars. Profits aren’t all about mark-up.

For example, if selling a steak that costs $10 sells for $20 that’s a $10 net, even though it’s only a 50% margin you’ve made $10.

A basket of chicken nuggets that sells for $5.00 and costs $1.00 only nets $4.00. That means you have to sell a lot more chicken baskets to make the same profit as the steak despite the 5X markup.

Read More: Choosing a Restaurant Business Structure

3. Know your Vendor and Ask for Deals

Before you even think about setting prices on your tasty new creations, know the cost down to the penny. This is why we recommend getting to know your vendors and revolving your menu through the year to avoid expensive out of season ingredients.

Hang out with your ingredient suppliers and get the inside track before you get your heart set on a menu. Find out what quantities you need to buy at to get the best deals.

Go over the vendor’s price list with a fine-tooth comb with your chef. Target ingredients with the biggest gap between your cost and perceived value to the customer. Design your dishes based on your target guests’ taste preferences and the highest perceived plate value. This keeps you from having to compromise the quality of your food to lower costs.

4. Change with the Times

Don’t be afraid to change your menu. At all times you should be thinking about how to better serve the tastes of your target guests while innovating new dishes that maximize profits.

Plan accordingly, as ingredient prices fluctuate through the year. Guests will be delighted to see new and old favorites appear throughout the year.

Rezku POS makes menu design easy. You can access your settings from anywhere to activate and deactivate seasonal items and rotate your menu.

Unleash the creativity of your chef to make something spectacular and appealing using seasonal ingredients. Have fun with your menu and try new things along with your guests.

Your menu’s evolution gives you a golden opportunity to learn from your loyal diners. Listen to their feedback to better target their taste preferences.

5. Put your Best on Every Plate

Rather than a hundred menu items done in a mediocre way, do something that inspires your passion. Diners are more impressed by fantastic fresh food done right than a menu that looks like a telephone book facilitated by a walk-in full of frozen quick-prep dishes.

85% of diners do a Google search before they step foot into a restaurant. If they’ve come to your restaurant they already read online for reviews and know what cuisine and price range they’re looking for. Don’t disappoint them.

The worst thing a restaurant can do is to try to appeal to everybody and every taste. You’ll never find success as an Italian restaurant that also serves sushi, BBQ, oh, and by the way has a vegetarian menu—and did we mention the tacos?

Reduce chaos in the kitchen and always serve the highest quality fresh food by simplifying your menu with a few delicious dishes that the kitchen nails every time.

Read More: Choosing a Restaurant Business Structure


The number of items that should be on your restaurant menu should be a reflection of your best selling food, the best quality you can achieve at the target price point and the taste preferences of your target guests.

Understand the needs of your guests and listen to their feedback. If you want regulars, it means providing food and service they want. A focused menu is the key to higher profits, an efficiently run kitchen and a smoother, less chaotic service.

This guide answers the question “How many items should be on your restaurant menu?” It is part of the free resource library provided by Rezku. Rezku is a leading hospitality management technology solutions provider to restaurants across America.

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