Mixed bag

The beef with beef

A combination Mad Cow scares, McDonald's taking a huge share of the domestic beef supply, and increased consumer demand thanks to Dr. Atkins is wreaking havoc with beef prices. Looking for ways to counter the skyrocketing food cost?

  • Reduce portions sizes to stay somewhat in line with current pricing. Smaller portions of center of the plate items are consistent with many current diet trends and eating habits. Feature a "petite" size for just under your current menu price, and raise the current item by a couple of dollars.
  • Don't let people think you're just charging more for the same dish you've served for the last year. Jazz up your current offerings with unique sides or sauces like Carvers' Jack Daniels Sauce to help justify a menu price increase. Using branded products will help boost the item's value perception and allow you to charge more with less price resistance.
  • Encourage sales of non-beef items using your daily specials menu, themed nights or promotions.
  • Re-work your menu layout to "bury" high cost beef items, and nudge sales of higher profit dishes. A combination of menu item placement, signature icons, and menu descriptions can subtly shift sales to help protect your bottom line.

Sweeten the pot

Desserts, people...desserts! Forget table turn. Sell desserts! They're a great way to boost incremental profits, they're memorable, they're festive and they're easy to sell. Don't ask guests if they have room for dessert. Have servers automatically deliver dessert menus to the table at the end of the meal and describe the most delicious decadent dessert you have to offer. More than one full stomach has found extra room when faced with an ooey, gooey concoction. Even one dessert shared among the group can make a big difference in your bottom line, so be sire and offer extra spoon.

Want to go the extra mile? Hold a dessert sales contest for your servers. And don't forget the after-dinner drinks! Track the sales through your POS system or manually using the downloadable tracking form . You'll immediately see a jump in sales... and profits.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Multimedia

Exclusive Content

Financing

At Papa Johns, delivery shifts from its own apps to aggregators

The Bottom Line: The pizza delivery chain’s business with companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash is thriving while its own delivery is slowing. But this isn’t the beginning of the end of self-delivery, CEO Rob Lynch says.

Topics

How the shift to counter service has changed Steak n Shake's profitability

The Bottom Line: Sardar Biglari, chairman of the chain’s owner Biglari Holdings, details how the addition of kiosks and counter service has transformed restaurants.

Food

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa's 'Ouisconsin' croissants reflect the state's French legacy

Behind the Menu: Hyper-local Wisconsin ingredients and a three-day baking process turn out pastries that are in high demand by hotel guests.

Trending

More from our partners