Menus have limited space. Guests have limited attention spans. Kitchens have limited storage space and prep capabilities. Bottom line? Make the most of the space you've got.
I never met a menu I couldn't make smaller. A simple rule of thumb is that every menu item in a category must sell at least 3% of its category. That's right, 3%.
Take a look at the example below. The Sweetwater Catfish sells a mere 1.08% of the appetizer category...not enough to warrant a coveted place on the menu (or in the freezer).
You might be thinking...
"Great Aunt Millie's Sweetwater Catfish would have to go!"
And yes, maybe that special pasta that three of your regular customers order every time they come in. But trust me, they've gotta go — the menu items, not the customers, that is.
This doesn't mean that you can't occasionally offer the catfish as a special, or assure your regular customers that the pasta can be made upon request if the ingredients are on hand. Streamlining your menu and your mise en place (that's your line set up) makes sense from both an economic and ergonomic standpoint.
Take a few minutes to calculate each menu item's contribution to category sales in our automated spreadsheet . Just use the numbers from your POS machine. Remember, bigger is not always better.