Restaurant Expenses: How A Smaller Menu Can Cut Costs

Restaurant expenses can add up quickly. Offering a small, focused menu can keep costs down while keeping customer satisfaction up.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants everywhere began streamlining menu size to increase efficiency, decrease restaurant expenses, and boost profits. Small restaurant business ideas have been popping up across the world over the last few years as entrepreneurs are finding creative ways to build a business and get their food to the people. Although some restaurants have plans to expand their menus again in the future, many purveyors are seeing the benefits and improvements a smaller menu can provide.

Decrease Expenses, Grow Income

Restauranteurs use menu engineering techniques to determine pricing and item placement, while also gaining information about guest preferences and seasonal or limited time offer (LTO) favorites. Decreasing your menu size may seem counter intuitive. (Don’t people want MORE options?) But in reality, a selective menu helps customers focus their interest and benefits the restaurant’s bottom line.

Here are a few of the ways a smaller menu helps curb expenses while boosting profits and guest satisfaction.

Reduced Labor Costs

Extensive menus may require large kitchen teams capable of producing various dishes quickly. Each menu item you add increases ingredient prep time, cleanup, and time spent on meal preparation.

Removing items from your menu helps you shorten ticket times and, in some cases, run shifts with fewer employees. For instance, with the right kitchen setup, one or two people can handle the grills and fryers, while a third person adds cold or warm sides before sending orders out to the table.

More Seamless Employee Training

Front-of-the-house team members are expected to have a close knowledge of all menu items in order to answer questions and make recommendations, which is not an easy feat if your menu selection is over-extensive.

By eliminating some dishes from your menu, you can save time on training and improve staff members’ knowledge of meals, giving them the confidence and enthusiasm they need to promote the food to guests.

Streamlined Inventory & Costs

Tracking stock-keeping units (SKUs) gets trickier as you increase menu items and ingredients. In some cases, you can add menu items using existing ingredients, but you usually need to buy new products, track inventory usage, and find a place for proper storage.

By shortening your menu, you have fewer items to count and reorder. You can save money by reducing your overall stock levels and throwing out fewer expired items.

Improving Customer Experience

Streamlining your menu leads to more consistency and efficiency in the kitchen, reduced ticket times, and satisfied workers and customers. Guests certainly want options, but a limitless menu is overwhelming to hungry diners.

With each guest experience improvement, you can increase restaurant sales. Happy guests refer more diners via word of mouth. They recommend your brand online and leave favorable reviews. Plus, satisfied guests turn into loyal fans leading to repeat visits and higher sales.

Minimizing Food Waste

Food waste can be a significant source of restaurant expenses and diminished profits. It is estimated that restaurants waste between 22 billion to 33 billion pounds of food each year, and 4% to 10% of the food purchased by restaurants becomes kitchen loss before ever reaching the consumer.

A smaller menu can reduce the number of mistakes made when preparing food items, thereby cutting down on waste. By simplifying your options, you eliminate room for potential errors.

Conserving Administrative Time & Resources

While less obvious, every minute spent on administrative duties plays a large role in the cost of running a restaurant. Smaller menus reduce the number of meals, sides and other products that need to be tracked in your point of sale (POS) system.

Fewer menu items mean you can scan reports per meal or product quicker and spend less time coming up with insights. You’ll also save time on updating your digital and print assets. For example, fewer menu items result in a smaller number of prices to adjust on your website, third-party channels, and social media pages.

Build with The Best: Wayback Burgers

Whether it’s a temporary fix or a long-term strategy, switching to a smaller menu can simplify restaurant operations and improve guest experiences, leading to a scalable restaurant model. You don’t have to give up favorite items or put aside fun new dishes. Instead, increase your use of LTOs to keep your options exciting without permanently expanding your menu.

Wayback Burgers is in the business of providing guests with a focused, enticing menu that builds loyalty and elicits happiness. Champions of seasonal specials and LTOs, Wayback knows what it takes to reduce restaurant expenses while tapping into exactly what our guests are looking for.

To learn more about franchising opportunities, get started with Wayback Burgers today.