Selling More Appetizers, Desserts and Sides In Your Restaurant

Most restaurant operators look at appetizers like any other item on the menu. This is a mistake because appetizers, like desserts and sides, are incremental. In other words, they add on to the overall profits of the restaurant and don’t need to pay a share of the overhead or fixed costs in the operation.

Think of it this way … When a consumer goes into a restaurant, he or she will very likely purchase food. It’s why the consumer stopped in in the first place. So the only question that remains is what he or she will order. And what’s cool from where you’re sitting is that you can have a lot of influence on what the customer decides.

Now, you can bet the guest is going to have an entrée, salad or a sandwich of some kind. And, in fact, the entrée is the reason the customer came into your restaurant in the first place. But you don’t know if you will sell them an appetizer or dessert. And, in fact, less than 10 percent of the people who visit a restaurant actually do get an appetizer or dessert, on average. When customers order one of these items, the profit, or the leftover money after the food cost is subtracted, can go directly to the bank as long as the appetizer isn’t being substituted for an entrée.

Many restaurant operators try to get the same amount of money from an appetizer as they do from an entrée or sandwich. And the mistake they’re making is, if they allowed for a higher food cost percentage on the appetizers by lowering the price, they would sell a lot more appetizers as add-on items and make a lot more money in the process.

Appetizers are supposed to be before and in addition to a meal. So even if the appetizer has a 45 percent food cost, it’s still delivering an increase in the profits for the restaurant. And if you can keep the prices reasonable without dampening the quality of the finished product, you’re way better off.

To find the best appetizer, dessert and side menu for your restaurant, contact Brown Foodservice today!