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Your Menu is Your Most Important Sales Tool

Proper menu engineering will help you build sales and profits. In this department, we analyze the strengths and weaknesses of menus and suggest how they may be reorganized, reworded, and redesigned to build the bottom line and guest satisfaction.

These are just a sample of the MenuMakeover articles in Restaurant Startup & Growth magazine and on!

A True Value Meal: Genova's To Go
There is price and then there is value. If you treat your menu like a price list, you are inviting guests to think of price first. The fact is, only the major chains can compete on price, and even they depend on building ticket averages with add-ons and upselling. If you are serving good stuff in your restaurant, you need to leverage your menu to build the perception of value for your items. . . . keep reading
Menu Makeover: Do-It-Yourself Menus (and the Case Against Them): Benny's Bar & Grill, Potomac, Maryland
Mark Laux
The more work you do on your own menu -- unless you are a designer-turned-restaurant guy -- the more likely your menu will not look as good as a professionally designed menu. It's just that simple. And while there are tricks you can use to help you get a custom design and still make your changes, the more you want to develop your own menu, the simpler the end product must be.

. . . keep reading

Thrilla From Manila: Manila Resto of Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Mark Laux
Mario and Patricia Ambas have never lived in Manila, Philippines, but they have been influenced by its collision of cultures that started with nearly 300 years of Spanish rule, a Mexican settlement and a powerful Japanese invasion, which ended with the United States governance of the Philippine Islands in 1898 through the Treaty of Paris. . . . keep reading
Come for the Wings, Stay for the Steak C.W. Coop's of Alliston, Ontario
Mark Laux
Alliston, Ontario, is a town of about 15,000 people just north of Toronto, Sandra Lambie is the general manager of C.W. Coop's, a bar and restaurant in Alliston, which is one of several Restaurants by the same name. And while not exactly a chain, all units of the concept have the same logo and generally the same foods. Sandra asked us to revamp the menu for the Alliston Unit only. . . . keep reading
Not Just Another Deli: Kosh--Kosher American Bistro of Stamford, Connecticut
Story by Mark Laux
Glenn Karow's Northeastern accent sounds a little like Howard Stern over the phone. But that's where the similarity ends. Glenn is cool, friendly and nice. He's also humble, even though he has much to brag about. . . . keep reading
This Menu Is Brought to You By the Letter C (Cup): Bikinis of Austin, Texas
Story by Mark Laux
Many Years ago I went for a ride with my dad in his '69 Dodge Monaco station wagon. As i recall it was light blue with faux wood paneling on the sides, which was ironic, because our basement had the same wood on the walls. We drove along and noticed a new gas station on a corner about a mile from our house. Itwas called U-Pump-It, and it was the first self-serve gas station in our town. . . . keep reading
Creating Value: The Banana Hut of Eureka, California
Story by Mark Laux
Fatima and Ken Evans own an independent restaurant in Eureka, California, that I would frequent if I lived there. It's a Hawaiian barbecue restaurant, which positions the food beautifully between South east Asian and Western cultures. And while I have not tasted their food, I have imagined it and I have listened to Ken and Fatima describe it often enough for me to feel intimate with the product. . . . keep reading
Competing With the Chains by Building Real Value: Baldino's, Fayetteville, North Carolina
Story by Mark Laux
Peter Papas from Baldino's in Fayetteville, North Carolina, called the other day and said that his check averages were up 19 percent due to his new menu system. He was pretty excited, especially since he had been trying to sell against the discount kings in the sub sandwich category, and in the process he was attracting coupon hungry patrons. . . . keep reading
The Power of the Matrix: Alfie's, Ormond Beach, Florida
Story by Mark Laux
Everything that comes in contact with your guests in your restaurant influences their impression of your business, how much money they will spend with you, how willing they will be to return, and how likely they are to recommend your restaurant to friends and acquaintances. At the top of the list of these points of contact, of course, are your food, your staff and your bathrooms. . . . keep reading
Starting From Scratch: Jose O'Brien, Spring Valley, New York
Story by Mark Laux
In December 2007, I wrote my first article for Restaurant Startup & Growth, Since then i have written about nearly every kind of restaurant, ironically, except one: a true "startup." . . . keep reading
MENU MAKEOVER - The Creative Process: Wing Central, Ellensburg & Seattle, Washington
This isn't always true but it is mostly true, and from the standpoint of you and your restaurant, you will want to keep in mind the three most important words in brand marketing when making design choices: "Is this us?" Because while there are a lot of styles and creative design for any restaurant, there are often only a few designs that will work best to represent your brand.

. . . keep reading

MENU MAKEOVER -- The Importance of Value: Library IV of Williamstown, New Jersey
For the better part of 30 years, Williamstown, New Jersey, has been home to Library IV, a top steakhouse serving hand-cut steaks by the ounce, prime rib, seafood, veal and chicken. Library IV's menu i . . . keep reading
Menu Makeover - Making a Case for Mental Anchors Victoria House; Victoria, Minnesota
Mark Laux
Mental anchoring is a stretch of the imagination, and the longer you're in the restaurant business, the more trouble you, too, will have getting your mind around it. So perhaps, if you are new to the business, I'll convince you of its benefits, and help make you a whole lot more money from the get-go. If you've been at this business for a long time, I hope you'll give me one more chance to make my case. . . . keep reading


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Belinda Self - Ginza Japanese Restaurants, Inc. - Winston Salem, NC

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Martin Hardy - City Bagel Café - Siloam Springs, Arkansas

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Marc Cedron - Printer's Alley Bar & Grill - Memphis, TN

"Your web-site and magazine have helped our independent restaurant grow from 1 restaurant with revenue of $350,000 to 3 restaurants bringing in $3.5 million in only 4 years."

Donald Spahr - Spahr's Seafood - Thibodaux, LA

"So far, we’ve revised our accounting system and introduced the prime cost concept. My prime costs are dropping because of focusing on both inventory and labor together. This will improve my contribution margin by $120,000!"

Brian Fitzgerald - Paddy's Brewpub & Rosie's Restaurant - Kentville, Nova Scotia