How Often Should You Update Your Menu?

Whether you’re running a small café, a chain of restaurants or a local bakery, regularly revising your menu is a must!

Your trendy or quirky décor, friendly service and delicious food might be responsible for initially attracting new customers and getting them to come back once or twice more, but if they’re greeted with the same menu year in and year out, there’s a good chance they will start to get bored and go looking for new and exciting menu options elsewhere.

But, how often should you actually update your menu and what do you need to take into consideration?

Menu placemat food restaurant brochure template design. Vintage creative dinner board flyer with hand-drawn graphic.

Chalkboard menu design. Menu template. Chalkboard menu background. Fast food menu design template. Food menu card. Black menu design. Pizza, burgers, drinks and other hand drawing elements in vintage style. Restaurant menu board.

Revise Your Food Prices Once a Year

When revising your venue’s menu, the first thing you’ll need to look at is your existing prices. Each year, the total cost of your overheads will most likely change. For example, if you’re selling smashed avo on toast and the cost of avocadoes has gone up, if you want to remain profitable, you might need to increase the price of this particular item.

Look at each item you’re selling and take into consideration everything from the cost of ingredients to your staff’s wages, both in preparing and serving the food, and any overheads like rent for your building and general amenities like water and electricity. Then, update the cost of each item on your menu to reflect any increases in each of these expenses.

However, try not to over inflate the menu prices or to raise them too often, as this can deter customers from coming back.

A Yearly Audit of Your Full Menu is a Must

While you’re auditing your menu prices, use this as an opportunity to review your seasonal ingredients and your menu offerings. Most POS systems will give you an overview of how much you’ve sold of a certain item over any given period of time, which will allow you to make hard yet informed decisions about whether or not certain menu items need to be cut, and replaced by other, more popular or trendy dishes.

Also take a look at which items are selling well, how you can add more variety, what dishes are enticing people to come back and etc. Just don’t fall into the trap of offering a menu that’s either too big or too small.

Seasonal Menu Items Will Need a Little Extra Love

While the bulk of your menu might only need to be reviewed annually, seasonal menu offerings and ingredients might need to be revised more often. As a general rule of thumb this should be done twice a year, to take into account seasonal availability of ingredients as well as the type of food that appeal as the weather changes. For instance, hearty dishes like pot pies and stews might walk out the door during winter but in summer, lightly grilled meat and fresh salads will be more likely to satisfy your customers.

Don’t Forget About Your Refreshments

As well as reviewing your restaurant menu, take a look at your drinks menu each year, especially your bar menu.

If you’re carrying a large inventory of hard liquor, it’s definitely worth looking at what is and isn’t selling. If something simply isn’t selling, you can either remove it from your menu entirely, or scale back the quantities you’re stocking.

Your bar menu should also be revised to take into account current trends. It could be worth speaking to your bartenders about whipping up some on-trend cocktails and removing any drinks that were all the rage a few months ago but are now so last year.

When it comes to updating your food and drink menu, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your customers, because at the end of the day, they’re the ones you need to impress. You’ll also need to make sure you update your POS system to reflect your updated menu and price points. If you need assistance with this, feel free to give us a call, today!