Canadian Pizza Magazine

Why you should revise your menu regularly: Making Dough with Diane

Diane Chiasson   

Features In the Kitchen

Why you should revise your menu regularly

Did you know the most effective tool for pizza marketing is right under your nose? Your menu design and layout can increase your pizzeria’s bottom line profit by three to five per cent.

It is absolutely necessary nowadays for pizzeria operators to analyze their menu, product mix, food and labour costs, as well as pricing. Your menu is one of the first things your customers will interact with when they walk into your operation. It must make an outstanding first impression. Your menu may contain too many product items, bad photos, poor wording or simply unsuitable design that may detract from your customer’s experience. A sophisticated, designed menu will significantly increase your revenue by drawing more attention to profitable menu items and will leave a lasting feel-good impression with your customers.

The following menu design ideas will help you make the right decisions about how your menu should look and feel.

Your guests’ tastes are changing all the time. Do your research and see what’s hot and in demand in other similar establishments. Your food pricing is also changing. You know that food prices go up and you should adjust your price in reaction to these higher prices.


Menu analysis consists of understanding the brand, design, styles, fonts, menu copy, pricing as well as product mix, which includes food and ingredients. You need to be able to identify the profitability and popularity of each menu item, and find ways to increase your sales and future success. You have to also understand brand awareness. Positioning your brand in the market requires a thorough knowledge of your market. Determine if your market is demand-driven or price-driven. If you own a small pizzeria, the biggest advantage you have as an independent operation is the ability to make changes quickly compared to big chain operations. Before you start this exercise, do your homework! Gather data from local pizzerias, restaurants and supermarkets that are directly competing with you. Look at your competition’s menu and compare your design, products and prices to theirs. Write all your findings in a spreadsheet program and see where you stand in comparison. Take steps to identify the profitability and popularity of each menu item in order to increase your sales.

Menu engineering encompasses the analysis of your menu including the design of your menu and its offerings, and the pricing. You need to have a thorough understanding of your most profitable and popular menu items and to strategically place them on your menu with enticing descriptions.

We have done many menu designs and we are considered menu-engineering specialists. Menu engineering encompasses all facets surrounding the design and pricing of your menu and its offerings. We know that customers’ eyes typically start in the middle of a page, then move to the top right, and then to the top left. It’s called “The Golden Triangle.” Consider putting your high-margin products in the middle of a page, then move to the upper-right corner of your menu, then to the top left: these three areas are where the products with the highest profit margins should be.

The colours you use can affect what your customers order. As humans, we associate deep meaning with colours, and we all know that colours have mental and emotional associations. Colours have a subconscious impact on our perceptions and this can be applied to your menu design. The use of green will imply your food is fresh. Just be careful to use the right hue as it also can signify sickness. The colour orange stimulates the appetite while yellow is a happy colour. Red suggests excitement, and encourages action; it is used to persuade customers to buy the products with the highest profit margins.

Many studies suggest that use of white space (or negative space) improves reader comprehension by up to 20 per cent. The white space is the area between design elements; that is, space between layouts, paragraphs and so on.

Give your customer visual direction. You should always use visual cues to highlight the items you want to sell the most. For example, you could place a box around a product, add an asterisk next to it or put a picture near it. You could also say “Our Chef’s Special” or “New” to draw the eye. Be careful not to highlight too many featured specials as it will cheapen your menu.

Storytelling is important. Pay close attention to how each product description is written. Don’t use superlative claims but consider using enticing adjectives and descriptions to pique your customer’s interest. You could also consider telling the story behind a particular product.

Many pizzeria operations will need to rethink their menus and operations if they want to stay in game.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years by providing innovative and revenue-increasing food service and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or, or visit

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