Small Menus Make Big Revenues. Here's Why.

June 09, 2024

If you're running a restaurant, you know that balancing customer satisfaction with profitability can be a real headache, especially with the rising cost of ingredients. But there's a simple solution: trimming your menu. If your menu is reading like a novel, it’s definitely time to eliminate menu items that don’t serve your profit margins.


Why Reduce Your Menu?

People get overwhelmed with choice

Too many options can cause decision fatigue. Customers get stuck in paralysis and end up not choosing anything. Or worse, they’re so overwhelmed that they go to a competitor instead. Studies show that limiting your menu to 6 items for quick service restaurants can improve the dining experience.

Speed up customer service

Nobody likes waiting in long lines. 83% of customers find it frustrating and 41% are deterred by a line of 5 or more. But a smaller menu means quicker decisions. An out-the-door menu can also ensure customers are ready to order when they reach the top of the line.

Increase your prices

Reducing your menu to really focus on what you’re good at can help justify a small price increase. A little boost in price can make a big difference in your bottom line. A National Restaurant Association survey found that 87% of U.S. restaurants have raised menu prices in 2022, and 58% of U.S. customers are eating out more frequently despite higher menu prices. An increase as little as 10% can put you from barely hitting business costs to profitability.

Avoid wasting food

Wasted food means wasted profits. US restaurants generate an estimated 22 to 33 billion pounds of food waste each year, causing $2 billion in lost profits annually. Avoid those pesky leftover items that never get sold with a small menu.


How to Reduce Your Menu Without Losing Customers:

  1. Analyze the cost of your items and ingredients to find patterns where you're not getting the revenue returns you need. Tracking this across weeks and months can help you make smarter decisions.
  2. Use the same ingredients in multiple recipes to avoid throwing unused ingredients away. If a menu item doesn’t sell out that week, the ingredients can still be used in another dish.
  3. Use a personalized app to track what menu items aren't selling as much as others. Cut those out and don't look back!

Railtown Cafe mobile app.

Dig Deeper: Check out our 3 clever tips to keep your menu fit for healthy customers here.