Food Industry

Can a Simple Menu increase profits?

Keep it Simple, Chef. Reducing Menu Options Delivers More Customers and Profit
Can a Simple Menu increase profits?

How did Chick-fil-A increase annual same-store sales from $2.7 million to $6.3 million in 10 years?

The restaurants serve one protein. Cooking a singular product with the same equipment reduces kitchen complexity. This decreases services times, which increases guest counts.

Is it true Chick-fil-A has the slowest drive-thru times?

Yes and no.

When counting total wait time, CFA clocks an average 8 and a half minutes - the longest among quick-service restaurants. That’s because their average 4.74 cars in line is higher than 2.76 cars among 10 other chains. When considering the number of cars, CFA service times lead the industry at 1 minute 47 seconds.

How does CFA maintain production speed without sacrificing quality?

While their product arrives frozen, CFA serves its chicken after a 24-hour thawing process. Filets are individually breaded by hand and cooked in peanut oil for 4 minutes in a signature pressure fryer. Employees can spend adequate time perfecting a single flavor-enhancing process. The sandwich and nuggets’ fresh taste brings cars into the drive-thru.

The simplicity of preparing them gets customers out quickly.

How do fast food operations apply to other restaurants?

Slow service can ruin any guest’s overall dining experience. A gourmet or fast-casual kitchen will prepare one dish better and faster than two.

In-n-Out is the classic example of a very simple menu that works well

A reduced menu keeps:

  • inventory turnover high
  • employee turnover low

Operators want to buy large quantities of what sells the most to get better deals from vendors and increase profit margins on their highest-ordered dishes.

Will an operator miss out on potential sales from 86’d dishes?

Each menu item makes up a percentage of sales. Serving more units of popular items should make up for marginal lost revenue. Stocking product in low demand for the sake of providing options raises food cost. Restaurants often lose customers to high wait times. Training staff on new procedures with different equipment negatively impacts speed of service.

How does reduced complexity benefit restaurant employees?

When operations are kept simple, team members have more capacity for hospitality. CFA spends as much time training their staff on greeting as they do on breading. When there are fewer stations and procedures to learn, there can be more focus on customer experience during onboarding.

Loyal employees want to feel:

• capable in their jobs

• connection with others

Streamlined operations enables them to achieve proficiency while developing softer skills that create a friendlier restaurant environment.

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