A picture's worth a thousand bucks

Increasing sales of high profit menu items is a goal in every foodservice operation. But how can you influence guests to order profitable menu items? Try an effective, if not-too-subtle, menu engineering technique called Signature Icons.

The idea is simple: Create a miniature version of your restaurant's logo or a symbol that is tied to your establishment. Then, place the icon slightly to the left of the menu items you wish to sell more of. Make it fun and colorful so that it easily catches the eyes of guests scanning the menu for something tasty.

The icon suggests that the item is a "signature" — one that deserves special recognition or attention. It must be special, good, or at least different. The subconscious mind of your guests will pick up on this, and chances are you'll increase sales of these higher-profit items.

They're are also a great way to shift guest selections to items which are seasonally advantageous. For example, Caesar salads are a great menu item to sell in the summer months when lettuce prices are low, and gross profit is high. But what about during the winter months, when lettuce prices go through the roof? You can't take the Caesar salad off the menu, but you can use Signature Icons to shift guest selections away from the Caesar Salad to French Onion Soup, the perfect winter item with a higher gross profit.

Be careful that you don't overuse signature icons on your menu. To maintain the perception of "specialness," no more than one item in ten should have a signature icon.

For more information on Signature Icons, and other menu engineering techniques, check out our Menu Magic workbook and video, and 50 Proven Ways to Build More Profitable Menus.


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