After you’ve taken a call on your Concept, Location, TA, etc. it’s time to engineer the most crucial element of your business - Your Product Offering.
For it is the success of your menu - your end product - that will make your cafe successful. And profitable.
Before you proceed further, you’ll have to decide your menu. This seems so obvious. But this would require much more work than you may have anticipated. The first starting point will be to zoom down on the broader categories first. Say whether it’d be primarily food-based or beverages-led menu. Starting from there, start breaking down categories in each and then comes individual menu-items.
Remember a menu item isn’t just about preparing it. It has a whole supply-chain process attached to it. So more efficient the better. Also different items will have varying profit margins as well.
For a Cafe/QSR, follow the thumb rule of KISS when finalizing the menu - Keep It Simple Silly! As you settle down with your initial launch and teething issues, you introduce newer items one-by-one once you’re confident of handling more.
For detailed know-how about Menu Engineering, read the article in our Cafe/QSR Startup Guide… Menu Engineering for Cafe/QSR
Designing the Menu
Your Cafe/QSR menu is more than just a piece of paper which lists down your menu items and its prices. It’s your last-mile branding as well. Hence, try to keep the menu design in-sync with your Cafe’s brand proposition. The menu is an opportunity for your business to communicate directly to customers and pitch your products to them, so it’s important that you put some thought into it.
Cafes today are experimenting with varied formats. It could be a one-pager or a large board or a TV screen or anything else. Whatever its format, your menu design should be an extension of the brand proposition of your cafe – if your cafe has a theme, the menu should follow it. More about menu designing in the article - Cafe/QSR Menu Designing Basics.