While I was travelling Europe in the summer of 08 I had the chance to eat in some really great restaurants. One in particular I happened to walk by had a line of people wrapped down the street before they even opened. La Relais de Venise they call it. This restaurant sells only steak and fries for dinner. You sit down, you are then brought a salad followed by steak and fries. Choice is only available for wine (which is limited) and the dessert menu. They kept it simple.
Too many restaurants have too many choices. Restaurants have naturally low margins as it is but once you throw in too many entries it spells disaster. The restaurant with too many dishes plagues itself with inefficiencies and margins so low that the restaurant will go nowhere if it doesn’t fail.
Some problems I see with having a large menu.
1)It’s hard to manoeuvre customers to the most profitable items.
2)It’s hard to create a menu that reduces inefficiencies by having complimenting food in different dishes.
3)It’s hard to have and maintain quality on all aspects of your food.
Like any industry it’s good to specify. It’s ok to choose one theme with 5 different entries and master them. The thing about customers is when they try something really good in a restaurant once, they’ll generally come back and order the same thing – because the risk of buying food and it being mediocre outweighs the risk of knowing the food they had last time kicks ass.
Shorten the menu, reduce inefficiencies and create higher margins. Quality food is better than too much food or too many choices.
Question of the day. What’s your favourite restaurant?