• Pricing


2024 Restaurant Menu Design Strategies and Best Practices

2024 Restaurant Menu Design Strategies and Best Practices

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Jenny Day

Successful restaurant operators continually adapt and innovate to keep up with consumer preferences. Does your menu include these 2024 restaurant menu trends?

Why should I update my restaurant menu?

Your restaurant menu is your strongest marketing tool. It is your main form of communication and engagement with customers. Even operators with the best engineered menus should conduct regular reviews to be sure that their restaurant menu design evolves along with the changing tastes and interests of diners.

What restaurant trends are important in 2024?

While consistency is important in a restaurant, making small changes to the aesthetics of your menu can make you be perceived as fresh and innovative, which is a great way to retain loyal customer while potentially attracting a new crowd.

Here are a few popular dining trends for 2024 that can be reflected in your menu to tap into your customers’ passions and increase your restaurant’s sales.

Wellness influences menu choices

Grouping healthy choices in a box or flagging them with “stickers” can help diners easily identify menu options that are high-protein, low-calorie, heart-healthy, and more. Customer who can easily identify menu items based on their individual wellness goals will often overlook an added dollar or two in the price of that dish because it serves a bigger purpose in their personal goals.

Personalization is key

While many restaurants carry full-on vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, or other specialty menus, it is not always necessary to go to that extent if your recipes can be tweaked to accommodate those diners with dietary restrictions. Instead of lending valuable menu space to special menus, create a special menu for dietary requirements. and be sure to let your guests know they are available.

Supporting local businesses is a priority

According to the 2020 National Restaurant Association Industry Report, 76% of adults said they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers locally sourced food. If you are can source certain items locally, be sure to let your customers know that you are supporting other local businesses. This can be added to the dish name or description, such as “locally grown beef” or “locally sourced potatoes.”

Sustainability is a concern

Recent polls show that forty-three percent of diners are willing to pay more for food that prioritizes sustainability efforts. Fifty-six percent of diners want restaurants to be more transparent about their eco-friendly efforts. Restaurants are responding to this shift in consumer mindset by making their in-store offerings more eco-friendly, so be sure to share your sustainability efforts used in reducing food waste, to-go packaging, composting, etc.

And since this blog is about updating menus, consider swapping expensive laminated menus for a digital menu board or a simple recycled paper menu. Especially if you’re changing your menu frequently or using a special menu in addition to your regular menu, a printable menu is easy to change and recycle consciously.


Restaurant Menu Pricing Strategy: A Guide to Maximizing Profits

The importance of menu costing

While it’s important to change with the times and keep up with the newest dining trends, no amount of menu updating is viable without the proper foundation. Operators need to carefully make the calculations that menu changes and additions are profitable – otherwise, it may not be worth it.

Here are five key calculations to test a new menu item’s profitability:

Price = Sales / Quantity  

Price is the average menu price for an item over the time period reported. This is calculated as total sales (from POS) divided by the quantity sold for the period reported.  

Menu Item Cost = Cost of Each Ingredient + Cost of Purchase  

Cost of purchase includes the price you paid, delivery fees, interest, and other charges related to purchasing. This value does not include labor costs.  

For example, a loaf of bread costs $1.50 + 50 cents for delivery. You paid a total of $2.00 for the loaf of bread. It has 12 slices which can make 6 sandwiches. Each slice would cost 16 cents. Each sandwich uses 33 cents worth of bread. Overall it might use 33 cents worth of bread, 70 cents worth of turkey, 5 cents worth of mayo, 25 cents worth of tomato, and 10 cents worth of cheese, bringing the total cost of that item to $1.43.  

Gross Profit Per Item = Price – Menu Item Cost  

Gross Profit (Per Item) is the difference between the selling price and theoretical cost (Price- Cost) for an item.  

Using the same example as above, if the turkey sandwich costs $1.43 to produce and you sell it for $8.00, your gross profit for that item would be $6.57.  

Theoretical Cost of Goods Sold = (Item A Food Cost x Units of A sold) + (Item B Food Cost x Units of B sold) + (and so on)  

Cost of Goods Sold (CoGS) reveals how much it costs to create each of your menu items. CoGS represents your inventory within a set period. To correctly calculate this value, you need an integrated restaurant management system that automatically records inventory at the beginning and end of the period you want to measure.  

Contribution Margin = Menu Item Sales – Food Costs (within a certain period)  

This value helps measure profit and shows how sales affect your net income. Contribution Margin (CM $) high or low, indicates whether the gross profit per sale of the item is above (high) or below (low) the average gross profit per sale of the report items. This is the total number of dollars that you take to the bank.  


If you find these manual calculations difficult and time-consuming, you are not alone. The most accurate way to ensure that your efforts are fruitful is to invest in a Restaurant Enterprise Management platform that frictionlessly integrates all of the vendors, partners, and people involved in successful restaurants, you and your team can easily access and understand all your restaurant’s performance metrics before changing your menu.

Join the 40,000+ restaurants that trust Restaurant365’s back-office software to seamlessly bring together your accounting, store operations, and workforce to create incredible moments that drive profit and growth.

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