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Friday, February 12, 2010

Menu Price Trends

Histograms profile the number of data points for each class using a standard bar chart format. In constructing a menu map, I like to see the action in terms of popularity and dollars of sales produced. For this analysis, the data points per bin is the starting point. Knowing the number of menu items offered at each price point helps you later in the analysis.

The chart below shows the additional information in columns. Almost 3/4 of sales are produced by menu items priced between $23 and $40.

Should this restaurant eliminate the high priced items which are seldom ordered?

Menu psychology suggests the very high priced items help make the popular item's prices look attractive. Given the current economy, this philosophy may not work as well as in 2008 (source year for the test data). In fact, the operator is currently pushing pasta entrees during mid-week dinner periods.

I'd like to get my hands on the data from last year and make a comparison. In a side by side comparison, I'd expect a shift to lower priced menu items.

Here in the Mid-Atlantic, crab cake dinners are very popular. Although jumbo lump crab meat is pricey, diners expect to pay below $30 for two cakes with a salad and sides. The cakes with minimal filler are recommended in the local press and by word of mouth. This means a competitive dinner house serving Maryland jumbo lump meat needs to use about $10 of crab for the entree.

Last week, I had a conversation with a neighbor who loves to dine out. He and his wife ordered crab cakes at one of the most well known restaurants in the area. The two cake dinners sold for $28.95.

He said the cakes were loaded with bread crumbs. He was quite disappointed due to the treatment he received when he told the manager. He was offered an apology and a free appetizer card. This free card was good for a future meal. They lost a loyal patron and fan.

1 comment:

Your Mama said...

Wow, your blog is great! I am very impressed and will be looking to your helpful advice when I get to my food math and cost chapter. Thanks so much for sharing!

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