Maximize your Profits with Daily Menu Specials
Offering daily specials at your restaurant can set you apart from the competition and help define the character of your establishment. It can also increase your profits.
Since diners expect to pay more for your signature dishes, you should be able to charge more for a special without impacting sales.
In fact, sales should increase as much as 15% for items offered as specials, simply because they are being singled out.
Use the tips below to get the most out of your daily specials.
1. Don't recite it, type it. This one may seem obvious but many restaurateurs don't realize that specials should be printed rather than recited. The recitation of specials by your servers with follow-up questions from your customers can take up to 15 minutes or more. This is valuable time that can be better spent on improving customer service. It is a rare individual who can verbally outsell a printed menu. In most cases, the best you will get is a monotone spiel that hopefully won't leave any specials out. Furthermore, it is a rare customer who will remember each special and, if they don't, they'll be reluctant to ask questions. Offering an 'up-sell' suggestion or two about a particular special is not a bad idea, but reciting the entire list is. The specials should appear on a menu insert or menu page that is separate from your regular menu to further distinguish them and to facilitate daily or weekly changes.
2. Above 5, add 95. Since pricing increments of less than $1 don't change the value of perception for an item that it priced at more than $5, add $0.95 on any special that's more than $5. For example, since $13.50 and $13.95 have the same perceived value, go with $13.95 to maximize your profits.
3. Try it, you'll like it. But sometimes they don't. Offering a new item as a special is a great way to test market a new dish. If it sells consistently, consider moving it onto the main menu. If it doesn't, you won't have to worry since you can drop it without affecting your regular menu.
4. Keep them coming back. Your best and most frequent customers will eventually tire of the same menu over and over. A variety of specials will keep things fresh and keep them them coming back. You can also post specials on your web site allowing your customers to check in and see if their favorite dish is being served.
5. Pitch desserts and beverages under a tent. If you operate a restaurant where table tents are appropriate, consider using them for dessert and beverage specials. Table tents used in this fashion can double sales from these two highly profitable categories since they continue to 'sell' after the regular menus have been taken away.