As we inch closer to dining rooms opening to the public, menu planning is a critical step towards the great comeback. Some restaurant menu concepts have done better than others during the pandemic. But, a vast majority of restaurants have their menu to serve dining rooms filled with people. With no dining rooms to fill, it’s probably time to reconsider your menu and the service style. We may be nearing the end of the health order, there’s still time to test and try new things that you have always wanted to try. But, it’s also time to stick to what sells and keep people ordering on a regular basis.
Here are some ideas to consider to remain relevant and profitable in these challenging times.
Keep it simple
Food costs are volatile and supplies are limited. Labor costs are high and social distancing is important for keeping your employees safe and healthy. There are many barriers to overcome towards your road to recovery, so keep it simple. Simplifying your menu requires fewer employees and fewer ingredients. Recreate a menu that does not compromise your concept, aligns with your budget, and is always delicious.
Focus on the Winners
If it’s selling well now, keep it on the menu. The industry is planning to see dining trends continue, so don’t expect to push your best takeout dishes aside for the old dine-in only favorites.
Keep it Simple with Limited Service
Until restaurants are given the green light to open their bars and dining rooms to at least 50%, service should remain limited. Several surveys (let’s find a couple surveys that prove the point) that guests are not comfortable enjoying dinner inside just yet. If you’re not offering takeout, get on board now and keep hours of operations limited to focus on the traditional busy times.
Try Something New
While it’s best to stay financially conservative and keep things simple, this is also the time to try a new dish or two. Stay within your budget, know your staff’s limitations and never stray from your core concept. Maybe it’s just new toppings on your hamburger or a new salad or appetizer using fresh, local ingredients that follow trends amongst your competitors. It’s been an entire season since most guests have seen your menu. Give it a seasonally-inspired boost.