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Menu Profitability
& Engineering

Partner with one of our Industry Experts to analyze your menu items and develop menu engineering techniques specific to increasing the profitability of your business.

Menu Profitability Analysis

Don't rely on food cost percentages alone. They are merely a guide, not a valid business science. Look at gross profit dollars! Sysco Marketing Services online tool allows you to analyze the business side of your menu in order to make critical, profit-generating decisions.

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The Star Chart

With the Star Chart, you can easily see the menu class of your items based on their popularity and profitability mix.

STARS sell well and they bring the highest gross profit margin.


PLOWHORSES sell well, but don’t do as well in profit margin. 

PUZZLES don’t sell as well as you’d like, but when they do, the profit margin is above average.


DOGS are items that don’t produce for you at all, but are sometimes necessary to have on the menu.

"What If" Profit Calculator

Calculate potential profits while you make your pricing decisions. Take your top 10 best selling items and see how much profit you'll generate with a simple price adjustment.

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Menu Engineering & Profitability

Menu engineering is one of those things you know you’ve got to do, but you just keep putting it on the back burner for another day. Fortunately, it’s not nearly as hard as it sounds. Sysco Marketing Services online tool has professional menu designs with built-in menu engineering features. Based on years of research, there are key elements to the perfectly engineered menu. Without a properly engineered menu, you’re letting profits slide right through your fingertips.

Page Layout

Did you know that customers will spend only 109 seconds reading a menu? Engineer your menu layout to take advantage of every second! Depending on the type of menu, the reader will view the page in a specific path as they scan the items. Your goal is to place the highest gross profit category in the number one position on the menu.


Call attention to high profit items by using these techniques:

Use pop boxes to make your high profit items jump off the page. This effect can increase sales by an average of 18% when properly used.

Use an icon to call attention to your high-profit items, which you may denote as “House Specialties,” “Local Favorites,” “Family Recipe,” etc. 

There is a predictable pattern in which the reader’s eye will read a categorical list of foods. The First, Second and Last positions in a category list are the prime real estate (see circled items on the right). They are the most memorable to the reader and are more often purchased. Items buried in the center of a category tend to be overlooked. Place your lower profit or labor intensive items there.

Value Perception

Using high quality staged photos in your menu will also increase the value perception.

How much would you pay?

Value perception is driven by:

  • Portion size

  • Plate presentation

  • Style of service

  • Demographics


Are you maximizing your perceived value?

Create collaboration between front and back of the house for price setting: Solicit the opinions of your servers when making edits to your menu. They may surprise you with pricing suggestions. They are often very familiar with price resistance from customers.

Menu Analysis
Menu Engineering
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