Menu pricing is one of those things that it's important to get right from the start. It will be hard to drastically change your menu prices once you've established your price points with loyal customers. At the same time, your business will be judged for value based on the numbers that you set. Here are some tried and true tips for pricing menu items correctly.
Set Different Price Points
Variable pricing is one of the most important keys to pricing your menu with success. Although you might have a certain type of client in mind for your restaurant, and thus you may think you know where to price items for your restaurant, the reality is more complicated. The amount that people are willing to spend may depend on their mood for the day, the occasion, guilt about recent purchases or happiness about a recent surplus of income, and many more. Plus, groups of people may come into the restaurant with different ideas about what they're willing to spend individually. The short answer is to give people many different price points to choose from, from the simple and low-priced entree to the more extravagant, premium cuts of meat.
Price for Your Environment
Your pricing structure should also depend on the type of restaurant that you want to be. For instance, a family style restaurant should consider pricing menu items higher but also giving larger portions that can be shared by the family. A great kids menu with reasonable prices would also be key here. If you are more of a trendy restaurant, then having small dishes that people can try without breaking the bank may be key.
Let the People Choose
You can also make your menu more price friendly by separating add-ons from the cost. If one item includes a high-priced ingredient such as a special meat or garnish, then consider leaving it as a separately priced add-on. This way, people get more control over how much they want to spend.
Hire a Professional
With something as tricky as menu pricing, it's a good idea to hire someone with expertise to make sure that you don't alienate potential customers. A good food service management services company will do the research needed to make informed decisions on your menu pricing. They may research menu prices for similar restaurants and similar items at other restaurants. They can also do some focus group testing to see how customers would rate your restaurant's value, so that you can get feedback before you set your prices in stone.