In the dynamic and competitive restaurant business world, two essential elements play a significant role in captivating customers: smart pricing and food plating.
Together, they give you the power to make data-driven insights that help you optimize your menu pricing and maximize profitability.
These concepts are invaluable tools to help you deal with uncontrollable market conditions, varying customer demands, and competing restaurants.
Let's discuss why they are useful and how to use them effectively. We'll cover practical examples and combine them with the best plating methods to raise the value of the food you serve.
Menu Engineering: Smart Pricing For Profitability
Today's cutthroat restaurant business makes it increasingly important for restaurants to employ creative ways to price their food. A tiny adjustment in pricing may have a big influence on revenue.
Smart pricing considers the various expenses associated with serving different diner groups in the restaurant market and how they value a food item on the menu.
It's a unique strategy that allows you to adjust your prices when market conditions, customer demand, and product values change instead of using a set price.
Of course, external market factors like the supply chain, inflation, and the growth of delivery services also affect your ability to maximize profits. These factors are uncontrollable, so it's wise to focus your resources on things you can manage and have a high probability of success.
In the web and globalization era, smart pricing is an essential tool for restaurants that wish to thrive. These days, customers use the Internet to compare prices and ascertain the restaurant's actual costs.
Using Smart Pricing: Turning Diners Into Dollars
If your food is on the expensive side, clued-up diners who do their research are going to notice. Thankfully, you can stay ahead by using smart pricing to adjust your prices accordingly and still thrive, regardless of the market conditions.
The ability to set your prices higher or lower relies on knowing the cost of your food per plate. It’s wise to couple this habit with reliable bookkeeping methods so that you know where to use smart pricing.
Calculating the cost of each food item on the menu requires using the same ingredients for every plate.
If one of your chefs uses 1lb of beef and the other uses 2 lbs, you'll never have an accurate measure of your food cost per plate.
After you list the ingredients, you’ll need to calculate the cost for each one. For example, if you paid $600 for 50 pounds of ground beef, start by calculating the cost per ounce.
- 50 pounds is equivalent to 800 oz.
- Divide $600 by 800 oz, and your cost per ounce is $0.75.
- The ground beef on a 4-oz burger costs you $3.00.
Do the same calculations for every ingredient you use in your menu item. If you use condiments, add them too. Let's use our previous example of a beef burger.
You may find that with a slice of tomato, cheese, bacon, lettuce, and a bun, the total cost comes to $4.20. Now you have a figure you lower or raise to make your food more accessible.
Innovation: Using Technology & AI For Smart Pricing
With innovations in technology and AI, digital ordering applications like Chowly, Menu Tiger, Track, and OPS can all help your restaurant to implement the best smart pricing choices. These apps are intuitive, easy to use, and let your restaurant improve its outside delivery and accelerate incoming orders. This not only improves profits but also increases the tips your staff earn, which increases motivation, staff retention, and productivity.
Digital ordering app's machine learning and AI capabilities combine with smart pricing solutions to analyze various restaurant variables. These include peak or slow periods, holidays, and even the weather. They then use this information to select the best pricing that customers will appreciate and provide the highest profitability.
You can also use these ingenious pricing techniques with various platforms, such as off-premise delivery and third-party marketplaces. This flexibility is superb for tightening profit margins and ensuring a steady flow of income.
Visual Appeal: Enhancing Taste Through Plating
Food plating has significant benefits that enhance the appeal of your menu. It enhances your diner's eating experience and allows for a bigger markup on your meal.
The premise that we eat with our eyes rings true, and the results show it.
When plating your food, consider your food placement, garnishes and sauces, colors, and depth, and the actual plate you use.
- The clock method – using the clock method of plating food requires you to imagine a plate as the front of a clock. Your starch items go at 10, meats at, and veggies at 6.
- Rule of thirds – placing the most enticing part of your dish on the right or left side of your plate instead of the center raises its value. The white space around the food creates a highlight effect that draws attention and readies the diner.
Garnishes & Sauces
- Garnishes – garnishes should always complement the taste of your cuisine. When choosing the right garnish, consider whether it's edible with the menu item.
- Sauces – your squeeze bottle is a magic paintbrush allowing you to create magnificent smears, swirls, and accent dots. Don’t forget to clean the edge of your plate so that dripping sauces don't distract from the food.
- Colors – before your customers even take their first taste, colorful plates create the anticipation of a flavorfully complex meal. Place vibrant fruits or green veggies that contrast the main part of your dish.
Choose The Right Plate
- Plate Dimensions – use a plate that can present your food well by making it stand out. Avoid making the plate look overcrowded or giving the impression that your portions are tiny.
- Light Vs. Dark - the hue of your plate can massively impact how diners perceive your food. You can’t go wrong with white dishes because they provide a neutral backdrop for meals with vibrant colors.
However, you can go a step further with light-colored foods and pair them with dark dinnerware. Foods like mashed potatoes, cheese, chicken, pasta, eggs, and rice pop and look especially delectable.
Smart pricing empowers you to make insightful menu choices that guarantee a healthy stream of revenue while meeting the evolving demands of diners. Food plating goes beyond aesthetics, playing a vital role in engaging the senses and creating memorable dining experiences. By combining smart pricing and strategic plating, you can maximize your profits and still ensure diners get exactly what they’re looking for.