The Role of Price Lists in Restaurant Menus

Find out how a restaurant menu price list can help or hurt the profitability and success of your restaurant.


If the goal of your restaurant is to make money, one of the ways you can turn this goal into a reality is by being strategic about the price list on your menu. On most restaurant menus, prices are placed in one uniform place, making it easy for customers to find and compare prices.

Prices are usually all lined up one side, all pushed off from the item name, or all lined up at the bottom of a paragraph. Additionally, they are often bolded, italicized, or in a different color so that they easily stand out.

Sell Food, Not Prices

When designing your restaurant menu price list, you should keep in mind that you are selling food, rather than prices. Customers are not coming to your restaurant to order a $14.99 with a side of $3.99. Instead, they are coming to order your delicious salmon and a side of fresh broccoli.

In addition, you should understand that making it easy for your customers to compare prices can take away from your profitability. Customers will be more likely to order your stuffed mushroom appetizer instead of your calamari if it’s clear that the mushroom appetizer is less expensive. If you’d like to sell more of your expensive menu items, your menu should not be designed in a way that promotes price comparison.

M+K Laux took a look at the menu of Biaggi’s, a popular casual Italian restaurant and found that it was designed in a way that encourages customers to compare prices. We decided to get rid of the price list in every category of their menu and tuck the prices into paragraphs without calling any attention to them. Thanks to this change, customers will be more likely to order the menu items they would prefer to eat instead of worrying about cost.

Take Advantage of a Menu Matrix

When working with restaurants to improve their menu, we like to promote a menu matrix which is a scatter graph that places each menu item into one of four categories. These categories include:

·         Stars: Menu items with higher than average sales and profits.

·         Puzzles: Menu items with higher than average profits but slow sales.

·         Plow Horses: Menu items with above-average sales but below average profits.

·         Dogs: Menu items that are below average in both sales and profits.

A menu matrix can help you understand how your restaurant customers view your menu and food. The matrix can also allow you to learn about your best growth opportunities.

Contact Laux Today

If you’d like to make sure your restaurant menu price list can help your restaurant rather than hurt it, it is in your best interest to contact M+K Laux today. We’ll evaluate your current menu and let you know how a menu matrix can improve it.