Restaurant menu engineering – examples

What is restaurant menu engineering?


It’s getting the best out of your menu.

I write more about it here 

For this to happen, you can’t just send me off to rewrite your menu. For the exercise to work I will need:


  • A list of your best sellers with high profit
  • A list of your popular items with low profit
  • A list of high-profit items that aren’t popular
  • To talk with the servers – or be able to ask them questions
  • To talk with the kitchen staff – or be able to ask questions


I use proven research information on human psychology surrounding choice and a bit of common sense.


The nightmare dining companion


Personally, the first thing I do when I’m in a restaurant is to analyse the menu. I’m sure I’m a terrible dining companion. I don’t drink, so while the others are all arguing/discussing which wine to order, I’ll be taking apart the menu in my mind.


It doesn’t matter (much – there are some differences) whether it’s fast food or gourmet, the principles remain.


This is a menu I’ve found from an online template by way of example.




Of course, if it were real, I’d have a discussion first as there may be a compelling reason why the menu is written as it is. But quite often, no one has really thought about it, beyond describing the dishes and deciding on prices.


Here’s what I think about this menu:

  1. Get rid of the money signs. We associate those signs with spending money, which is usually painful.
  2. Don’t line up the prices so people can (maybe subconsciously) order the cheapest. Diners should choose the dish on its own merits.
  3. Top right is the top spot. I wouldn’t put appetizers or starters here. Here should be your top-selling, most profitable item.
  4. Next best spot is the second and third best is the bottom.
  5. Least favourite is one up from the bottom. Your popular but low-profit item should go here.
  6. This is the second position and a good place for high profit best sellers.
  7. A bit like ‘thank you for visiting my website’, it says very little, it’s valuable space and maybe could be better used to emphasise your USPs and how they benefit your visitor.
  8. This is a hot spot on the page and maybe should have your strapline/emphasise your USPs and how they benefit your guests/opening hours/phone number/address


The important thing is to realise that a menu is not just a selection of food items with a price but how you arrange your menu affects how people perceive you and how they order food.

Have I whet your appetite for some help with your menu? (See what I did there?)


Drop me a mail at and we can have a (free) short chat.