HOW TO RECREATE YOUR MENU TO INCREASE PROFITABILITY
New Year, new menu? Why and how should you refresh your menu? Emily Chipperfield from Callooh Callay points out what to think about when revamping your menu post-festive season and how to do this as cost-efficiently as possible.
A WAY TO BRING GUESTS BACK
Working at Callooh Callay, I consider « new menu season » one of my favorite times of the year. There are a few reasons why changing menus has a positive impact and good return on investment for our businesses. The obvious one is that it presents a new reason for your guests and regulars to come back post-festive season. The novelty might also attract new guests if you shout about it on social media or make any press release linked to the launch.
NEW YEAR, NEW MENU: A FRESH START FOR ALL
Internally, it is a fresh start after the Christmas break where your team might have spent the entire month of December making the same few drinks again and again. January might be quieter and a good time for them to reconnect and get excited thanks to a common creative goal. Here are some tips on how to switch things up without a huge budget or where to save if you want to use this momentum to invest in another area of your business (venue refurbishment, investing in equipment, etc.)
- Creative presentation: Printing is one of the biggest costs of launching a new menu, especially if you have a large venue. As hard as the last two years were, one of the ways we were able to launch an award-winning menu was by saving on the costs of printing and using QR codes. Our new « Hello » menu showed us that we could still deliver a unique and joyful experience with that extra creative constraint. It doesn’t need to be digital either: bars around the world have built surprising menus by being a little more resourceful (stamped menus on old cardboard etc.).
- New year, new me: A lot of bartenders’ first instinct is to put 1 1/2 oz of spirits (regardless of its ABV) and top that with a few liqueurs and sherry (also alcoholic). If the no and low movement have proven us anything it is that a drink does not need to contain three units of alcohol for it to be worth its price or experience.
- Lowering the alcohol content might make it easier for your guest to try an extra drink without getting intoxicated (extra sales opportunities) but also to redistribute that cost into some other aspect of the drink (glassware, garnishes, etc.).
- We always teach our teams how to cost drinks. Costing a drink is a matter of copying an excel formula. Not only is it easy, but it is also an extra skill for our teams to learn and add to their skillset. Most importantly, it’s a way for us to empower our staff to present any new serves they want to add to the menu and strengthen your team. We give them an opportunity to modify their drink to meet the business’ financial goals.
- Reuse waste creatively: one way we have lowered our spending last year was by getting away from fresh garnishes when possible. We make crisps out of dead mint for example. The Duchess of Dalston also takes all the fruits and vegetables from the next-door grocers, which do not look good enough to sell alone but are still good to consume.
- Look into qualifying expenditure for tax relief linked to R&D costs. For example, the fact that you have started a delivery service for cocktails, which may not have been done before, from an HMRC point of view, does not constitute R&D. However, if there were certain ingredients that needed to be added to the formula which you had to trial and test in order to keep the drinks carbonated for longer (as an example), this would constitute a level of R&D which you could consider putting a claim through for. Further examples may be, creating specific bottles for the drink to preserve shelf life, creation of a delivery type app specific to your company, or food science involved in the creation of the cocktails, etc.
- Creating a new menu after the festive season will give guests a reason to venture out to your bar
- Get your team involved: use this quiet period to get everyone together and get the creative juices flowing
- Spend time thinking about how to present the menu, you can still think out of the box whilst on a budget
- Consider incorporating no and low serves - a lot of people opt for these options at this time of year
- Reuse any stock that you can, for example, old garnishes can still serve their purpose in your new cocktails