Menu Engineering

Menu Engineering to create new menus | KitchenCUT

The aim of menu engineering is a simple one, increasing profitability per guest. To do this, it’s vital to understand exactly what menu engineering is and how it can help you with your menu creation.  
Here, John Wood explains just how menu engineering can help you to create successful menus…

What is menu engineering?

People often refer to ‘Menu Engineering’ in two different ways.
  1. Looking at your sales data against your dish costs, margins and profit and seeing how they are performing individually and within the menu area and the entire menu.
  1. Reviewing your menu application, font, type of menu, size of menu, reviewing the ‘Sweet spots’ and ensuring you ‘Hero dishes’ are in them and ‘Boxing’, bold texting and all the things you do to make a menu work better for you from a customer’s perspective.
Actually the two are intrinsically linked, but it’s essential to understand that you need to start with the first one so that you can do the second properly.

Menu engineering with sales data

At Kitchen CUT we have created an easy to use tool that allows you to do this very easily, either manually or through an integration with your EPOS*.
What this will tell you is:
  • What the margins are on each dish.
  • How each dish performs in its category?
  • How much profit each dish has made?
  • What are your ‘Hero dishes’?
  • What your ‘Theoretical Food cost/ Gross profit % Margins’ should be.
You can also edit this sales data to create ‘What if?’ scenarios too, so you can see if you sold more or less of certain dishes how that would affect your margins and profit.
Even if you are creating a new menu/restaurant it is good to try and forecast what your sales might be to give you good indication of what ‘Theoretical Margins’ you might achieve.
Once you have this information then you can accurately review your menus.

Menu Engineering is really ‘Menu Psychology or Menu Mapping’

Once you have detailed and accurate financial and performance data as outlined above, you then start to review what your ‘Hero dishes’ are and also which dishes are performing and which are not.
This information will determine where you might want to consider placing them on your menu to draw attention to them or not!
By doing this correctly you can increase profits and improve margins by doing the same amount o even less customers.


  • Sweet Spots: These are the perfect areas where you guest look first depending on the type of menu you offer and what application you use ( please see our previous blog on Menu Psychology)
  • Hero Dishes: These are the great financial performers and dishes that sell well, if they are great sellers and they deliver a great margin/profit they are real “Stars”.
  • BoxingThis is terminology for boxing in a particular dish you want to draw the customers attention to – these are typically your big hero dishes (don’t over do this though)
  • Theoretical MarginsThis is the theoretical margin that you should achieve on the amount of dishes you have sold with their costs to produce. It is only theoretical as it does not take into account- Stock variances/ excessive wastage/ loss/ complimentaries etc.

*Not all accounts have EPOS integration. See out integrations page for EPOS companies we connect to. If you don’t see your EPOS on there, let us know and we’ll talk to them about a connection.

You can find more detailed information about using KitchenCUT to help with your menu engineering here or call us on +44(0)330 113 0050

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