Engineering menu: organize your menu effectively

Menu engineering

Menu engineering is a strategy that is gaining fame in the restaurant and hotel sector, by creating a menu through the study of its components.

To use the engineering menu, several calculations must be made to see how popular each dish is and whether it is profitable to prepare.

Once you have completed the necessary calculations, you will know how your menu works and what the flaws are that it needs to be fixed.

Believe it or not, the menu is one of the aspects that should attract people’s attention so that they feel like eating the dishes in your restaurant and come back often.

So, without further ado, know what steps are necessary to use the menu engineering and implement it in the daily dynamics of your restaurant.

What is the engineering menu?

¿Qué es el menú engineering?

Menu engineering is a technique for organizing and controlling the menu you offer in your restaurant, taking into account the demand for the dish among diners and the profitability it represents for your business.

In recent years it has been one of the most used methods to eliminate from the menu the dishes that are less consumed and represent a great expense for the business. In addition, the most ordered dishes are studied and their preparation is considered, as well as eliminating or adding ingredients to improve their taste.

The aim of using this method in restaurants is to improve the gastronomic alternatives you offer in your restaurant in terms of taste, demand and profitability.

Thanks to this, it is possible to provide pleasant and quality service to the diners, in addition to generating greater income.

What do you need to apply the menu engineering in your restaurant?

¿Qué necesitas para aplicar el menú engineering en tu restaurante?

Before ordering the dishes you serve in your restaurant, two important calculations must be made: profitability and popularity.

Profitability represents the earnings generated when customers order a certain dish and popularity determines how often it is ordered by any customer.


To determine the profitability of each dish that is part of your restaurant’s menu, you must subtract the selling price and the cost of preparation to obtain the margin.

The average margin is then calculated by adding the margin you made at the beginning with the amount of the given dish that has been sold.

To finish the calculation, the average margin is divided by the number of dishes sold. A dish has a high profitability if the profit margin is higher than the price of the production cost and has a low profitability if it is lower.


The other data that is necessary is the popularity to determine the type of dish that will be used to serve it. As a first step, you must achieve the ideal mix, in which you must divide 100% between the number of dishes on your restaurant’s menu.

The percentage obtained will be multiplied by 0.7, to obtain the ideal corrected mix. With this data, the real mix will be obtained, which consists of dividing the number of sales of the dish by its total sales and the result is multiplied by 100.

To determine the popularity, the data of the corrected ideal mix is used as an example.

If the percentage is lower, the dish is not popular; and if the percentage is higher than the corrected ideal mix, the dish is popular among diners.

Classification of dishes according to the engineering menu

Clasificación de los platos según el menú engineering

After finishing the calculation of profitability and popularity, the dishes must be classified according to the matrix of the menu engineering.

This matrix is composed of four types of dishes: the dog dish, the puzzle dish, the workhorse dish and the star dish.

Dog Dishes

They are those dishes that have a low profitability and popularity, that is, they are not ordered by the customer and therefore do not generate profits. These are the dishes that you should eliminate from your menu.

Sometimes these dishes are a staple that belongs to your menu, but instead of eliminating them, you can give them less importance and place them in a category such as starters.

Puzzle Dishes

Puzzle dishes are those that do not have a high level of popularity, but are profitable for the restaurant.

As the name suggests, they are called puzzle dishes because you have to find the pieces that will make it a star dish.

Some of the solutions that can be applied to the dishes may be to change the price, the presentation and even to write a better description of the dish within the menu.

Battle horse dishes

This type of dish has a high popularity, but has a low profitability for the restaurant. They are dishes that do not need to be recommended to the customer because of their fame and their flavors.

In order to serve this type of dish in the restaurant, measures must be taken to make it more profitable, such as increasing its price or buying economic and quality ingredients that help to reduce the cost of the dish.

Workhorse dishes should increase their value by adding garnishes or creating eye-catching decorations.

So that the price increase does not affect your customers, progressively raise the price and hold draws with the followers of your social networks to gain their loyalty.

Star dishes

These are the dishes on the menu that have a high popularity and profitability.

Diners tend to order these dishes frequently, so kitchen staff members are under pressure to maintain the flavor and quality that characterizes them.

These dishes are called stars because they are the main options of the customers, so they should be in a visible place within the menu.

Transform your business menu using this method

Transforma el menú de tu negocio utilizando este método

Each of the classifications explained above should be applied according to the previous calculations of popularity and profitability.

In case you have a lot of dog dishes on your menu, you should eliminate them. In case you have puzzle dishes, they should not have a wide spectrum within the menu and the battle horse dishes will guarantee the winnings.

It is important that after defining which dishes will be served and which will be eliminated from the menu, a meeting is held with the kitchen staff members to announce the decisions.

In addition, a meeting should be scheduled with the waiters so that they are aware of the changes in the menu and mention them within the day’s recommendations.

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