How to Build a Restaurant Menu: Your Complete 6-Step Guide

How to Build a Restaurant Menu: Your Complete 6-Step Guide
Food Inventory, Restaurant Inventory - September 20, 2021 Written By: Krista Dinsmore

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Your restaurant’s menu is the backbone of your customer experience. It draws guests through your doors, delights them while they are dining in your restaurant and keeps them coming back for more.

Not only that, but it’s your restaurant’s most important selling tool. The profitability of your business is heavily dictated by the success and profit margins of your menu, which is heavily influenced by your sales and inventory data. The more strategic insight that goes into building your menu, the higher your profits.

With that in mind, Sculpture Hospitality has created this six-step guide to building the perfect restaurant menu that will drive profitability and improve guest loyalty and satisfaction.

  1. Develop your menu concept

The first step in the creation of any restaurant menu is to think about and develop your menu concept. This is what you want to be known for in your area, and what will drive customers to walk through your doors. 

Are you predominantly a bar serving ‘pub grub’, are you a high-end restaurant offering a full-course dining experience or are you focusing on a specific type of cuisine? Whatever you want to achieve, your menu absolutely needs to reflect that.

  1. Categorize the menu items

With your menu concept built, it’s time to start listing the items that you’ll include on your menu. Categorize all of these items into appetizer, entree, dessert and any other category your menu may need. 

These menu items should be centred around a core list of ingredients, designed specifically to enhance the concept of your restaurant and turn customers into loyal brand advocates. 

  1. Calculate the prices of your menu items

Whether you use a food inventory management system, bar inventory management system or simply input your data into a spreadsheet (not recommended as software is so much more efficient, effective and accurate), it’s time to strategically set the price of your menu items. 

This is significantly easier if you are undergoing an update of your menu and already have data in your restaurant inventory management system. You can use existing data around your inventory and sales data in your point of sale (POS) system to ensure the items on your menu have high-profit margins.

If you’re starting from scratch you’ll need to price your menu items based on your inventory prices and food cost percentages. The best way to kick that process off with accurate data and calculations is through the use of a restaurant inventory system. 

  1. Write menu descriptions

As we mentioned earlier, your menu is your restaurant’s best sales tool. Menu descriptions are your opportunity to tell the story behind each menu item, using evocative words to really peak your guest’s attention. 

Think about all of the things that make that dish special. The inspiration behind its creation, how the ingredients are sourced and what goes on in the creation process. People visit restaurants for memories, and a good story can help sell a dish.

  1. Design your restaurant menu 

You’ve strategized your menu pricing based on your restaurant’s inventory, you’ve written descriptions for your dishes and you have a core concept for your entire restaurant. It’s now time to put that all into action and design your menu. 

To get the most out of your menu and optimize it as a sales tool for your business, we’ve created a guide of restaurant menu design tips that will drive sales and increase profits. 

  1. Proofread and print your menu!

Last but not least, it’s time to give your menu some quality assurance. Pass your menu design around your team, and ask them to proofread it and provide feedback. A small mistake on your menu could have a huge impact on a guests’ perception of your brand. Once you’re done, you’re ready to get it printed and start delighting your customers!

Interested in learning more about how you can use your menu to improve restaurant profitability? Get in touch with Sculpture Hospitality today. Our team of hospitality and inventory management specialists would love to help.


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