How to use dish-level data to increase menu margins

As the restaurant industry grapples with rising food pricesinflation and supply chain instability, consumers increasingly feel they are paying more for less.

For strategic restaurant leaders, menu engineering and pricing strategies are a priority. And right now, traditional tactics won’t be enough. Trusting your instincts and waiting for monthly sales numbers can cost you valuable time and long-term revenue.

Today’s industry challenges require innovative and proactive solutions. So how can restaurants manage their margins and retain customers?

First, capture the comments at the dish level. Second, make informed decisions based on your customers’ perception of the value of your menu.

Dish-level data allows operators to monitor menu performance, based on real-time customer data, making it easy to spot areas for improvement and make changes to increase customer satisfaction .

Consider, for example, receiving real-time data after a customer’s meal from a customer experience management platform like Yumpingo that reveals your new fried chicken sandwich is weak at times for appearance and taste. This feedback allows you to take immediate action and work with your team behind the scenes to adjust how the meal is prepared and served. Making small changes like raising the frying temperature, shortening the cooking time, changing the batter recipe, or making sure your signature sauce doesn’t get into the sandwich bread before it gets to the customer could do a big difference. After all, nobody likes soggy bread!

Restaurants can also use dish-level data to gain better visibility into their operations. As costs continue to rise, restaurants can use data to determine if cheaper ingredients will impact the customer experience. For example, you might find that your customers settle for frozen or pre-cut fries, as opposed to more expensive hand-cut fries.

This type of data can also play a vital role in menu pricing strategies. Rather than raising prices across your entire menu, portion and value data can enable operators to make strategic changes that protect margins without affecting customer sentiment. This may mean increasing the price of a few items with a higher perceived value or grouping items into a combo.

Dish-level data allows operators to be proactive and strategic in improving food ratings, adjusting operations and menu pricing with real customer feedback at the center of these decisions. And the ability to capture and act on that data in real time can help operators minimize risk and protect their business over the long term.


George Wetz is COO and co-founder of Yumpingo, a next-generation guest experience management platform that enables hotel brands, such as Texas Roadhouse, California Pizza Kitchen, and Nando’s, to make high-impact decisions with unparalleled clarity, confidence, and speed. In addition to overseeing the general operations of the company, he also leads the product and engineering teams.