Make More Money: Most Profitable Menu Items for Your Restaurant

by Greg DePersio

2 min read

Figuring out food costs and knowing what to price items can prove a challenging endeavor for any restaurant or café owner in Canada, especially considering you don’t know which items customers crave. Maximize your menu’s revenue by knowing the most profitable menu items for all restaurants and mark these items up in your own dining establishment.

Fountain Drinks and Coffee

Workers can fill glasses for less than $.10 per serving and you can sell those drinks for $2 each, making fountain drinks and coffee highly profitable items with huge markups. Requiring drink refills can actually discourage customers from ordering or returning, so be sure to offer free refills to keep patrons happy and you making around $1 for each beverage in most situations.

Alcoholic Beverages

The average markup for wine sits between 200 and 600%, and beer goes for even higher at 500 to 600%, according to instoredoes.com. This high profit level makes selling “adult beverages” a great way to make money on your menu. Consider pairing your dishes with high-profit alcoholic beverages that go well with your food, which encourages even more sales of both.

Pizza

Most restaurants can make a basic pizza with dough, sauce, and cheese for much less than $5 in most circumstances. Keep toppings to a minimum to ensure you don’t go over on costs, and sell your pizza for nearly double. Sell your pies by the slice to turn even more profits while catering to lunch crowds that need to get in and out fast.

Soup

Use kitchen scraps and re-purpose side items to make high-profit soups ideal for pre-meal ordering. For instance, save all your vegetable trimmings for stock, or take the onion and beef trimmings from a roast and turn it into stew. Using what you would have otherwise discarded prevents waste while allowing you to offer quick and simple soup-of-the-day options.

Dessert

Desserts set at the top of money-maker lists for high-end restaurants. The best way to increase profits on the desserts you offer come down to selecting recipes with inexpensive ingredients that require minimal labor, which lets you make them ahead and in larger quantities. Dress up old standards, including ice cream, cookies, and cakes, for cost-effective menu items that give patrons a full dining experience.

Children’s Menu

Kids eat smaller portions, and items such as grilled cheese have very low price points. Items that most kids love typically have lower costs to begin with and fewer ingredients. Think hot dogs, burgers, spaghetti, mac and cheese, and quesadillas–all cheap and quick items to make. Due to the lower portion sizes, kids’ menu items can consistently make you money while encouraging families to return to your establishment.

Breakfast Items

Most breakfast items require just a few cheap ingredients and require minimal labor input. Considering a dozen eggs sells for less than $4 on average, a two-egg, spinach, and feta omelet with a side of breakfast potatoes typically costs diners less than $4, which you can then sell for upwards of $10. Depending on whether you operate a diner or higher-end restaurant, you could get away with selling plates of basic breakfast items dressed up in a little hollandaise for upwards of $15 a plate. Aside from the items you mark-up, making more money in your dining establishment comes down to ensuring you have the right menu engineering and understand restaurant marketing. When looking for items to add or pare down on your menu, choose versatile items that work in multiple dishes to minimize waste and maximize profit.

References & Resources

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