What would be the direction of restaurants in terms of menu development post-pandemic?

The shutdown of restaurant dining rooms created a necessity for restaurant operators to re-develop their menus and to implement changes that would endure far beyond the pandemic’s aftermath. Restaurants who never had the takeout and delivery services before have started rolling out these services in order to survive. Considering menu mix and ways on how to beef up their menu selection to improve razor-thin margins is now a crucial part of post-pandemic planning. Catering is now a thing re-imagined for the restaurant industry as another effective way of beating the current crisis.

How can menu engineering help restaurants drastically perk up  profitability? Menu item analysis to modify pricing models, changing the descriptions of the dishes and adjusting portion sizes are all part of how menu development would look like going forward.

Highlighting Immunity-Boosting Beverages and Dishes in Menus

When it comes to menu development in the time of Covid-19 and even after this, expect restaurants to highlight immunity-boosting meals giving customers motivation to order based on nutritional qualities. Restaurants can be as creative as they can in their offerings to satisfy especially the “foodie” population. Meal descriptions should include the ingredients and additives to attract those who are very health conscious and would rather eat home-cooked meals (but don’t have much time to prepare their own meals). The more transparency you put in on your menu, the more you can convince them that you are serving nutritious food and your meals would be of help to them in maintaining their health and fitness goals.

Removing Shareables in the Menu

The new normal discourages sharing of food among diners despite the eventual lifting of social distancing. Expect menus to be filled with appetizer-entrée-dessert format with greater focus on entrees, salads and sandwiches. Family-size snacks, snack bowls, finger foods with dips and sauces for sharing should be avoided and anything that used to be communal must be organized and served in individual packages.

Streamlining Menus Based on What Customers are Really Ordering

Restaurants should check what type of foods or meals are doing well when it comes to takeout and delivery especially for customers isolating at home and craft their menu based on this. Working on very thin margins is indeed challenging and the elimination of “wastes” when it comes to inventory and old menu format is an important part of menu development. Data should tell you what customers want, do a product mix,  double down on those core products and speed up menu development based on that niche.

How to “Crack the Code” in Menu Development

How can you get the most perceived value from the food that you sell? Cracking that code in enhancing the content of your menu means setting a price that would be both beneficial to your customers and to your restaurant business. From ingredient swapping, choosing cheaper alternatives without sacrificing flavour profile, knowing the current demands of your customers, to ensuring safety protocols are being followed, while taking note that craveability and food value still matter, are all challenging. But what is important is that restaurant operators are given the right direction of post-pandemic menu engineering and how they can better focus on safety which is a  new priority for restaurant customers.