What is Menu Engineering?

With the research I have done on menu engineering and applying design psychology to menus – the simplest way I can put it is as follows: Menu engineering is a systematic process that has three parts.

First, there is the cost break down of your menu items: food expenses, profit and over head along with observing your past revenue of a certain time period. Then we can we determine what items are your most profitable/popular items (star) and non-profitable/not-popular items (dog) and everything in between (puzzle and plough horse items).
· your chart should look something like the below layout ·


· the results of the information will be brought together into an excel chart like the one above
then in turn creating a layout like the one below placing each item into its proper category ·
Second, I strategically place items into a menu layout while using design principals and elements. Using specific psychological tactics, the design will essentially persuade customers into buying what you want them to buy which of course is your profitable/popular items (star items).
Balthazar Menu Design
· One of the most common examples used in the industry is the Balthazar menu design shown above.
Displaying various forms of psychological design — broken down in an article here on the New York Mag Website ·
Third, once the menu layout is accomplished, a test design is put into play for a week or two to see if it will make changes to your profit margins. Looking over your POS system and doing an analysis week by week. Wash, rinse and repeat until it’s right. Once the best results for your menu design is achieved we get into print methods and the best print applications to make your menu look it’s best.
Fewf, it may sounds like a daunting process but it is applying research driven design that is worth the time, and once you see what it can do, it becomes clear that research driven design does harvest results.
Always remember, your menu is the most important piece of printed material that is part of your brand. It makes an impression on your customers when they have it in their hands, so make a good one.
If you would like to know more, please contact Ashley Howell at ashley.howell – at – acgd.ca Or please join Avid Creative on Facebook or Twitter.
Hungry for great design? LET'S CONNECT