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Benefits of Smaller Menus
For many years, the vast majority of food away from home menus followed the common logic that giving customers a wide range of options to choose from would make it easier for them to find their perfect dish. It’s become clear though that more choice is not always better, and more often than not, too many options can actually overwhelm and confuse consumers leading to what’s come to be known as “choice paralysis”. In an effort to curb menu confusion, many food away from home establishments have begun gradually shrinking their menus.
With many consumers embracing the trend towards smaller menus, the benefits are big. From boosting your bottom line by doing away with the waste of rarely ordered items to the ability to increase your focus on menu creativity and quality, the experts at Affinity Group are here to give you the inside scoop on all the reasons why bigger isn’t always better.
Define Your Dining Experience
A smaller menu is a great way to show your customers exactly what your food away from home concept is. For instance, if you’re a burger joint, maybe you don’t need a shrimp pasta option. When you focus on offering the items that best reflect your vision for your business, you are making a strong statement that both defines your brand AND makes it much easier to market on social media and online ordering apps.
A smaller menu can help ensure that the dishes you serve are ones that your kitchen can handle efficiently and quickly, without placing a burden on your staff, kitchen equipment, or storage space. With many operations continuing to face ongoing labor issues, the ability to operate efficiently without sacrificing quality is of the utmost importance.
Logic dictates that a large menu requires a large staff. However, when you offer just a few core dishes, you can get away with fewer people in the kitchen. And with many food away from home businesses dealing with tighter budgets and hiring shortages, the ability to operate with less staff will pay big dividends.
Teach a Thing or Two
A small menu is a great way to help to simplify staff training. Fewer dishes to learn allows you to bring new back-of-house team members up to speed quickly. A focus on a smaller number of dishes can also have the effect of improving both consistency and the quality of your food overall.
As for your front-of-house team, a small menu means fewer items for servers to remember. This not only makes their lives easier, but it also means they can become more familiar with the dishes you do serve and make better recommendations to your customers.
Easy to Order
Not only does a smaller menu make the decision process easier for your customers, but it can also help increase the perception of quality. Today’s customers understand that food away from home establishments can’t be everything to everyone, and a large menu may make it seem as though your efforts are not focused. By limiting your menu to just a few carefully curated selections, it sends a message to customers that these dishes are your specialties.
By removing items that don’t travel well or take too much time to package, you can increase both the efficiency AND profitability of your takeout and delivery orders. A small menu improves the online ordering process for your customers as well. A large online menu is difficult for consumers to navigate on a small screen, while a small menu makes the selection process quick and easy. This is an important consideration when signing up with third-party delivery apps or adding a direct online ordering integration to your website.
Want Not Waste Not
One of the most obvious benefits of a small menu is that it helps to reduce food waste. With fewer dishes on your menu, the question of how to do inventory becomes much simpler because it’s easier to keep track of how much you need of any given ingredient or to figure out which ingredients can be cross utilized in multiple dishes.
Less is More…Profitable
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a small menu is great for your bottom line. Fewer items mean fewer ingredients to order. It also offers the opportunity to order in bulk for the things that you do need. Not to mention, if you’re reducing spoilage, you’re also reducing the financial loss of food that would go to waste.
Of course, a small menu may not be the right decision for every operation, but for many, there are clear advantages to downsizing the menu. Not only does it make the ordering process easier and more enjoyable for your customers, but a small menu can also come with huge cost savings – something that can help every operation. Always remember that when you need help making your menu (big or small) the best it can be, the talented culinary team at Affinity Group is always ready to help you elevate your menu, maximize profits and Build Your Bridge to Local Sales Success.