In an article in "Hotel-Online" from July 2000, Mazalan Mifli argues that the menu could be considered "the soul" of the restaurant; it tells patrons what food and drink is offered and at what price. Analyzing menus helps restaurant owners communicate with their customers and helps patrons decide what to buy. Restaurant owners periodically analyze a menu to make sure they are keeping up with their customers' tastes. It is a valuable skill that can make the difference between staying a relevant eating establishment and going out of business.
Examine the positioning and descriptions of items on the menu. The position of an item can have an influence on its popularity. For example, the eye tends to gravitate first toward the upper-left side of the page, so items in this position will be more popular.
Compare the prices with the menu items to see if they correspond. Are the prices charged in keeping with the food items being sold, or are customers being over- or undercharged for items?
Use Boston’s matrix technique, otherwise known as "portfolio analysis" or "menu analysis." Boston’s matrix is a way of analyzing a menu’s prices and sales information to improve the performance of the restaurant. This method can help you determine which menu items are making you money and will lead to growth in your establishment.
Examine the location of the prices. Restaurants prefer to place the price after the description of the item and state it without the dollar sign. This leads the customer to focus on the item and not pick what she wants based on price, which is likely to happen if the prices are aligned.
Look at the menu design. See how attractive it is and how easy it is to read. Determine if options are clear -- for example, whether or not side dishes are included in the price of a meal.
Based in Leeds, United Kingdom, Nicola Gordon-Thaxter has been writing sales articles since 1995. Her articles have appeared in the "Milton Keynes Citizen" and on the ePolitix website. Gordon-Thaxter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of the West Indies and is completing a Master of Arts in writing from the University of Leeds.