Menu Management For Restaurants: Comprehensive Guide

March 12, 2024
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A restaurant's menu is a potent sales tool that can persuade customers to eat there or not. Knowing how to prepare a great meal is not enough to run a successful restaurant business.

Key Takeaway: From omnichannel customer experience strategy and menu design to eCommerce accounting procedures, every area of your restaurant operations must be coordinated. A menu's impact on customers extends far beyond its appearance and mouthwatering appeal. 

Whether your menu is printed, accessible online, or propped up above a counter, it can boost sales while also enhancing customer satisfaction and customer retention. Your restaurant's menu is the main tool for generating sales.

This guide answers your questions about restaurant menu management. We also review the best menu management systems available.


Online Menu Management: What is Menu Management System?

The process of developing, changing, and administering a restaurant's menu is known as menu management. Menu management entails taking all necessary steps to ensure that the menu at your restaurant is profitable, including controlling recipes, using menu engineering approaches, determining menu prices, and changing cost.

You can maximize revenue per plate by using effective pricing strategies on a well-designed restaurant menu. At first glance, paying attention to matters like menu design or menu graphics could seem unimportant, but your eCommerce marketing team would know that they are of the utmost significance. Customers' behavior is greatly influenced by the design of a menu.

What is Menu Planning?

The process of developing a menu for a restaurant or other food service business is known as menu planning. A menu with all the options is typically presented when a customer visits a restaurant or bar to eat or drink.

A menu may change based on daily meals like breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Menu planning gives the chef the ability to oversee the kitchen, maintain tabs on the inventory of ingredients, and contribute to the business's financial performance.

It is simple to organize restaurant supplies and plan menus when using a menu management system. By meticulously organizing and procuring its ingredients, your restaurant can benefit from the praise and loyalty of returning customers while also saving storage space.

What is a Menu Management System?

A menu management system is a tool that helps restaurant owners manage their menus. Restaurant businesses can create and maintain their online menus and digital catalogs thanks to restaurant menu management systems.

For businesses that employ multichannel order management platforms, menu management solutions make handling food delivery and online ordering simpler. Menu management systems are used by restaurants to provide consumers with the perfect digital menu experience, from highlighting popular item combinations to offering regional and seasonal menu choices.

The menu management system enables restaurants to instantly publish all menu modifications and update all of their digital menus without missing a beat (online, on third-party delivery platforms, and in-store).


What is a Cycle Menu?

A cycle menu is a menu or section of a menu that offers the same choices again over a predetermined time period. For two reasons, cycle menus are frequently used. 

A cycle menu is used to plan, anticipate, and predict the meals that will be available over a certain period of time, often 21 days to 1 month. Through the use of cycle menus, restaurants can plan their meals and estimate the costs of upcoming meals.

3 Benefits of Menu Management

The benefits of menu management include the following:

  1. Reporting and Analytics

A menu management system provides reporting by location or across several locations to help you better understand the price and menu item options for your business. Reports are easily customizable to support internal procedures like updating POS software or third-party delivery systems.

  1. Reducing Costs and Scaling up Offerings

Menu management systems give restaurants the resources they need to scale their offerings as their customer base grows. For multiple restaurants, a menu management system is essential for versioning print or digital menus. 

  1. Integrating with Third Party Software

Smart analytics can be used by a restaurant menu management system that is integrated with a reliable POS system to automate online order processing and order fulfillment. This streamlines payment processing and invoice processing

A menu management system can be integrated with the following third-party systems:

Menu Engineering: What is Restaurant Menu Engineering

You can find yourself overstocking and spending too much on wholesale restaurant supplies. Food waste and revenue losses result from this. Understocking the ingredients needed to make your customers' preferred meals and specials will have a comparable negative impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty.

So, how do you solve this problem? Menu engineering is the solution you need.

You might be wondering at this point how a menu can enhance your sales process. With the help of your menu design, you can enhance restaurant sales by understanding what menu engineering is and using the advice in this guide.

What is Menu Engineering?

Menu engineering is the methodical process of analyzing restaurant sales and inventory data to comprehend the appeal and profitability of the items on a menu over time. Restaurants can carefully plan their menus, assess how they perform over time, and make modifications to ensure that every item remains profitable and popular.

Restaurant Menu Engineering: 3 Ways to Improve Profitability

Let’s look at how you can improve your restaurant profitability and engineer your menu.

  1. Analyze Your Menu Items

In order to create a menu that is both popular and profitable, you must first analyze the products on your menu. You will be building your menu around these things, thus it is crucial that you know this. 

When analyzing your menu items, consider the following:

  • Check the pricing of your menu
  • Understand the profitability and popularity of your products

It helps if you remember these menu engineering terms:

  • Dogs (Low profitability Low popularity): Dogs stand for food products with low profit margins and infrequent orders. 
  • Plowhorses (Low profitability High popularity): It is crucial to retain certain menu items on your menu even when they don't have a high profit margin because they are popular choices. 
  • Stars (High profitability High popularity): Customers orders for these items, which have a high profit margin, are frequent.
  • Puzzles (High profitability Low popularity): Even though they are difficult to sell, puzzles have a large profit margin.
  1. Redesign Your Menu

Here, the use of color, visuals, and attention-getting strategies is important. The "Golden Triangle" method of menu design allows you to arrange the things you wish to sell in the middle, top right corner, and top left corner.

Choose a typeface and size that are easy to read, and keep layouts simple. Section headers and meal titles should be prominently stated. According to menu engineers, even if your menu is more than one or two pages lengthy, people will still feel at ease selecting from it as long as it is scannable and has fewer alternatives per category.

  1. Consider Your Pricing

Food cost percentage, contribution margin, and menu item profitability are the three key variables you need to consider. You should be able to find the data in your restaurant's point-of-sale system, but if not, you can manually calculate it using the following formulas:

Food cost per serving = Total cost of ingredients per serving
Contribution margin = Sales price - Food cost per serving

6 Restaurant Menu Engineering Tips for a Profitable Menu

If you are looking for a way to improve your restaurant sales processes and profitability, then menu engineering is the solution for you. Let’s look at top six restaurant menu engineering tips to get you started.

Before we continue, let’s look at the components of restaurant menu engineering.

4 Components of Restaurant Menu Engineering

There are normally four components to restaurant menu engineering:

  1. Psychology 
  2. Managerial accounting
  3. Marketing and strategy
  4. Graphic design

Top 6 Restaurant Menu Engineering Tips

You should keep the following fantastic restaurant menu engineering advice in mind when you create your menu.

  1. Decide on a Central Idea and Emphasize it on the Menu

Consider your restaurant's original concept first, and then ask yourself, "What value do I want to provide to my customers?" “What is my unique selling proposition?” Find a way to incorporate the answer you've discovered into your menu when you've found it.  

  1. Keep the Traditional Favorites in Mind

The traditional and time-tested favorites must be kept while creating the restaurant menu. Even though it is acceptable to desire your menu to be interesting and modern. To guarantee a consistent stream of orders, it is always advised to have a few tried-and-true, very profitable menu items.

  1. Try to Stick With a Restaurant Menu with Affordable Food Prices

During the menu engineering process, keeping your food costs low should be a top emphasis. The price of food is now the actual cost of producing the dishes on your restaurant's menu. A meal that costs a lot to make will cost a lot to eat. 

  1. Fewer Options on the Restaurant Menu

Create a menu for your restaurant that is scannable, slidable, and brief. Instead of feeling like you're doing the gallon challenge, reading through the pages of your menu should be like taking a relaxing sip of wine.

  1. Keep Simple-to-Prepare Items on Your Restaurant's Menu

The complexity of your menu items may hinder the efficiency of your kitchen staff during peak dining hours. Sometimes simple is good.

  1. Always Keep in Mind your Intended Audience

You must keep your intended audience in mind as you develop restaurant menus. You can then price your restaurant menu to reflect the tastes of your patrons with the use of this information. 

Menu Design: How to Design a Restaurant Menu in 6 Steps

Your restaurant menu design is an integral part when building a positive customer experience management strategy. It’s also an important part of your restaurant’s unique selling proposition and marketing strategy.

The experience of a customer will be negatively impacted by a menu that has an excessive number of products, poor writing, poor images, or an awkward design. Your customers will feel like they've made the perfect restaurant choice from the get-go if your menu is attractive and well-written and reflects your brand in a seamless manner.

So, let’s look at some menu design ideas and the best practices on how to design a restaurant menu. 


How to Design a Restaurant Menu in 6 Steps

Simply follow this straightforward 6-step approach to build a restaurant menu if you don't have the money for a designer or menu engineering expert. You can also use a menu design template as a starting point.

Designing a restaurant menu requires calculation and creativity. Let’s discuss top visual strategies to employ when creating your restaurant menu.

  1. List each item on the menu

Learn how to write a restaurant menu before you start designing. Make a list of all the meals you wish to serve using Excel, a Google Sheet, or even just ink and paper. Google Sheets is excellent for this because it makes it simple to cut, copy, and paste various objects, and the sheet will immediately save.

  1. Sort Menu Items by Type

Sort all the menu items into categories such as appetizers, main courses, desserts, and so forth. Decide which menu items you want to be featured most prominently on the menu after that. Put your menu items in the precise order that you want them to display on the menu by simply moving them around.

  1. Define Menu Prices

The most important element of a restaurant food menu is the price of the items on the menu and how you present them. Add your current prices if you're working from an earlier menu, then stand back and evaluate them.

  1. Create Menu Descriptions

Think about the mental image a potential customer would have while reading your menu for the first time. As you add those details to your restaurant menu, consider what queries or clarifications a customer might have.

  1. Choose a Color Scheme for the Menu

Pick a color scheme for your menu that complements the identity of your restaurant. Choosing three colors for the menu or deciding to print your menu in black and white to save money on printing are both simple ways to do this.

  1. Design Your Restaurant’s Menu

Now, here’s the hard part. You can use simple digital catalog making software,  Microsoft word or online menu management systems to create your restaurant menu design.

Top 5 Restaurant Menu Design Best Practices

  1. Menu Layout

The three sections of your menu that most customers glance at first are known as the "Golden Triangle" by menu engineers. Your most popular menu items, such entrees and appetizers, should be placed here since customers' eyes are drawn to particular areas of your menu when they look at it.  

  1. Create Menu Sections

Set up the menu items logically and in a logical order, beginning with the appetizers, to make it simple for customers to find dishes. You should think about how many menu items you have and how they can be grouped or separated when developing the various parts that will appear on your menu. 

  1. Choose Menu Design and Theme

You must make sure that the style you pick fits the premise of your company and is appealing to its target market. 

  1. Write the Menu

You can give your menus flair and character by combining a variety of particular design elements, including text, graphics, and colors. The design of your menu, like the layout, will influence customers to purchase particular high-priced goods.

  1. Menu Printing

When your menu design is complete, it's time to print and assemble your menu covers. Making a decision about the size of your menus is necessary before you can print them. When deciding on a size for your menus, take into account the layout you've chosen, the font size, and the quantity of items on your menu. 

Menu Management System for Restaurants: Top 6 Features

There are a number of things to consider when selecting the right menu management system for your restaurant. This article reviews the top features and selection criteria for restaurant menu management systems.

3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Menu Management System for Restaurants

It can be difficult to choose the right menu management system. Before choosing a menu management system, ask the following questions:

  1. Can be system be used to manage costs?
  2. Is the system cloud-based?
  3. Can the system be used for front-of-house operations?

Top 6 Features of Menu Management System for Restaurants

Let’s look at the top features of a menu management system.

  1. Smart Menu Display
  2. POS Integration
  3. Central Menu Management
  4. Recipe Management
  5. Category Management
  6. Multilingual Support 

Restaurant Menu Management Software: 7 Best Options

With a restaurant menu management software, you can create recipes, manage expenses, and reduce food wastage. The system also allows you to automatically plan your meals all in one location.

Choosing the right restaurant menu management software for your restaurant business can be challenging. In this article, we review the top seven restaurant menu management software you can invest in and their unique selling points (USP).

Top 7 Restaurant Menu Management Software

Here are the top seven picks:

  1. BlueCart

BlueCart's digital catalog and menu management software makes it simple and effective to update your menu and product catalog's pricing in response to market fluctuations. This ensures that your consumers always receive the most recent information while also safeguarding your margins.


  1. Omnivore


  • POS software integrations
  • Grow virtual concepts
  • Optimal digital menu experience for customers
  • Direct injection of online orders and pre orders
  • Delivery platform optimization
  1. TouchBistro


  • Easy to create a menu
  • Customization options
  • POS integrations
  • Tools for upselling to boost sales
  • Easily manage takeout orders
  1. Trabon MenuNet


  • QR Code Menus
  • Contactless Menus
  • Digital Menu Boards
  • Beer and wine management
  • Topshelf Features
  1. JAMIX Kitchen Intelligence System


  • Costing and management of recipes
  • Management of restaurant inventory and purchasing
  • Management of multiple-unit restaurants
  • Production orders and food production
  • Simple meal creation using your stored dishes 
  • Simple to generate menus using your recipes in the system 
  • Nutrition facts and dietary guidelines
  • Sales and wastage monitoring
  • e-menu with customer feedback
  1. Fourth


  • Menu cycle planning
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Inventory and recipe management
  • Cost management
  1. Kitchen CUT


  • Menu planning
  • Menu creation and management
  • Kitchen management
Streamline order management, grow your bottom line, and get back hours of your time with BlueCart. Schedule a demo now:
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