Get The Most Out Of Your Design

The most expensive item on the menu is usually the most challenging to sell. Make every item worth the space it occupies.


Opening a new restaurant can be daunting. There’s always something to do.  Calculating food costs and inventory is an important step. Of course, you want to price your food to make a profit. That goes without saying.

However, most people don’t think about creating a menu where the prices themselves psychologically lead your customers to spend more, while costing you less per item.

According to RestaurantEngine, a resource for restaurants on many fronts, suggests 3 s methods of menu price calculation.

“Pricing Formula #1:  Determine the price by dividing the purchase cost by the portion. This gets you the portion cost.

For example, you buy 100 pounds of chicken at $1.50 per pound, so your purchase cost is $150. Say you use half a pound of chicken per portion $150/200 (half pound divided by 100), and you arrive at a cost of $.75 per portion.

Pricing Formula #2: With this formula, you take the general market price as determined by your competition into consideration. You have a few choices when pricing this way:

  • Price your item the same as your competitor. If you both sell a burger and fries, price yours the same.

  • Price your item slightly lower. This helps you attract customers looking for a deal.

  • Price your item slightly higher. Subconsciously this attracts customers looking for higher quality.

Pricing Formula #3: Another way to determine food costs is to take the raw food cost of the item and divide it by the desired food cost percentage to get the final price.

For example, if you decide you want a food cost percentage of 35%, and you allow a variance of 5% for market changes, you want to aim for 30% when pricing across the board.”

You can find more about these topics in this informative video.


It has been proven psychologically that the most expensive item on the menu is the hardest to sell. People rarely buy it. That item also most likely isn’t even making you the best profit margins. Expensive dishes, usually have expensive ingredients. Lobster, crab, fish, caviar, truffles etc.

Keeping track of what items actually sell is more important than the price itself. An item that sits un-bought equals no profit, even if your other items margin is small, it’s better than zero. Ideally, with payroll and bookkeeping, keeping track of this won’t be a problem.

According to Webstaurantstore,  “In order for a restaurant to be profitable, it needs more than a solid concept and talented chef.”

The way you calculate and present your prices are important. They determine what items people gravitate towards purchasing.

According to Upserve, its important to start strong, end strong, but the middle takes the cake.  The middle of your menu is where most customers eyes wanders to first. More than half of food sales in restaurants come from the main course options. It’s important to have a quality menu in general, but highly focus on the mains and middle of your menu.

It’s also important to show your drink menu the same love as your main menu. 46% of the money spent at restaurants is spent on alcoholic or fountain drinks. We can help you create an eye-catching drink menu to go with your current full service menu.

You can view some of our work here.

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