The Menu Engineer-A New Restaurant Job Classification

I would like to propose to the industry an entirely new job classification, the Menu Engineer. A traditional full-menu kitchen staff is often organized something like this:

Executive Chef


Chef de Cuisine


Sous Chef


Garde Manger




Line Cooks





 This organization (with more sub classifications in classical French and hotel kitchens) evolved over many years and covered all the specialized tasks that complex food preparation required. However, with the advent of new restaurant accounting software,  real-time information regarding item sales, cost of goods by menu item and day part, daily cost fluctuations of raw materials, cost impact of portion sizes, seasonal cost adjustments and the impact of pricing on item sales is now available to restaurant managers and chefs.

Daily innovation and cost management is now possible. For example, the MENU ENGINEER is able to change side items because the purchasing agent has found a great buy on green beans. He might change the portion on a steak special because his accounting system reveals that the smaller portion is selling better than the larger portion. The cost of the chef’s lobster bisque has suddenly fallen because of a great buy on lobster meat. “Let’s feature lobster bisque tonight,” he might suggest. As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

Subtle shifts in menu item popularity, fluctuating food costs, seasonal preference changes, portion sizes and the daily use of low cost but popular specials all have a substantial impact on food costs and restaurant profits. For the first time in history, restaurant accounting software enables restaurant management to become true product innovators by engineering the menu daily to control costs.

Daily menu engineering also leads to the heightened control of a “just-in-time” inventory management system. Spoilage is reduced and daily food item cost fluctuations are factored in.

Don’t be stuck in the past living with a menu that has been out of date for months.  Food costs are not static. They change daily. Your menu can now be engineered to keep up with a fast paced, changing world.

THE MENU ENGINEER is quickly becoming an essential position in every restaurant’s kitchen. With the new tools of modern restaurant accounting systems at his disposal, he is responsible for lowering food cost and increasing menu item sales along with check average. Menu engineering is fast becoming an indispensable function of professional restaurant management.


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