Problem solved - budgeting your menu

Wed 22nd May 2019
Hints & Tips

Q How can I expand my menu without eating into my profits?

Until now I've just been selling soup, sandwiches and cake in my cafe, but I'd like to expand my food offering to a couple of hot dishes for lunch and dinner time. I'm not really sure where to start with selecting the right dishes and setting prices. Are there any basic rules or principles I should follow?

John Wood, who founded Kitchen CUT software to better enable menu costing, replies:
A successful and sustainable restaurant business is based on sound knowledge of food costs and gross profit percentage targets. Costing and pricing every dish on your menu is a basic necessity.

Before looking at pricing of new menu items, make sure your pricing of current items is correct. Once you’ve done that, you can apply the same principles to your new dishes.

You need to know who your existing and potential target customers are. Look at what your product offering is and what customer base it is attracting/going to attract.

Be aware of your real competitors – the businesses that attract the type of customers you want to entice.
Do some research into their menu offering and their prices.

Serve a quality product that is presented well and you can often justify a more expensive price tag than your competitors.

Not every dish needs to achieve your budgeted food cost percentage. Don’t get caught up with achieving percentage margins over profit. When costing dishes, look at how much profit you make on each dish in real-money terms. Higher-cost dishes with worse food cost margins can deliver the most profit.

Write a detailed recipe for every dish on your menu and then cost it: you’ll achieve consistent dishes, in cost and in customer experience. Customers are likely to return again and again when a favourite dish is made to the same standards each time.

Recipe-costing software can help improve accuracy and save time in pricing and creating menus. Kitchen CUT’s Enterprise-grade F+B SaaS Solution is built for the hospitality sector, simplifying and managing recipe creation and costing, and managing and operating a hospitality operation’s ‘engine room’. Accessible anywhere, from any device, the system is there to support, engage, educate and transform the way your teams operate every day.

The system also includes purchase to pay, supplier management, recipe costing and menu planning, allergen tracking, nutritional analysis,
stock depletion and inventory management and wastage tracking. The new Vendor Gateway connects operations directly with suppliers.

Detailed sales analytics, GP insights and a scalable configuration make Kitchen CUT the ideal system for any food and beverage business.

Do you have a query you'd like answered by an expert in our next issue? Let us know [email protected]

Kitchen Cut was developed to help cages, restaurants and bars manage their operations better to reduce food waste and boost profits. To find out more go to

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