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Romeo's Menu

Romeo’s Italian Restaurant Menu Matrix

Got a call about a week ago from the owner of Romeo’s Italian Restaurant Menu Matrix and perhaps a menu makeover. We spoke over the phone for maybe an hour and this operator sent me information he had prepared. This included a PDF of his menu and an Italian Restaurant Menu Matrix that he had done with his point of service system. I offered an estimate and then he disappeared. Like many independent restaurant operators who have made their own menus for years, the cost of professional help can be shocking. This is mostly because independent restaurant operators think of a menu as an expense rather than an investment.
When you think of the menu engineering process as a cost, that will happen. It’s a simple expense that way, and using HotOperator can seem very expensive. If that’s your thought, do what you’ve always done. Keep in mind, if you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get the same results you’ve always had.

“HotOperator menus pay for themselves in the first 6 weeks of use.”

But if you start to think of the menu design engineering process as an investment, then you will see the menu differently, and suddenly our charges make more sense. That’s because the payback is very high. Our menus pay for themselves in the first 6 weeks of use. In other words, you will make more money with a HotOperator menu, enough to pay for everything you spent in that little time. The rest is simply additional profits for your business.
Since he sent the information for Romeo’s Restaurant Menu Matrix, I looked it over and have some thoughts that I’ll share. And then I’ll leave it in your court. If you are interested in the extra income, great, give us a shout. If not, do what you have always done and go the cheap route.

Strategic Pricing

For the three months for which Romeo’s gave me data, they are leaving $8,748.59 in their guests pockets that the guests are offering. That’s roughly $100.00 per day in added income. So, nearly $35,000.00 per year just in the change that their guests think they are already paying that is not asking for because the price pints are not strategic.
“It’s like telling them you don’t want the money.”
When HotOperator engineers a menu, we look for the ‘sweet spot’ for each item on the menu. Each product you sell has the perfect price point, which has to do with the food costs, but also has to do with consumer expectations. The price points on Romeo’s menu are losing them money every time somebody orders food from them. We can fix this. We can hit that sweet spot for every item and make sure they make the money they have coming to them without pushback from consumers. But we don’t offer that service for free.

Product Positioning

Romeo’s menu is problematic in this regard, and their sales reflect the problem. The Gourmet Pizzas are in the hot spot, but they are also their leader. It’s why their guests come, so they don’t pizzas front and center on the menu. It’s like eggs and milk in the grocery store. They should be deeper in the menu, and other items with a higher plate contribution should be positioned to draw attention.
The problem with pizza is, people share it. So while it looks really profitable, it’s actually only marginally profitable.Contact HotOperator
Another example, why are wraps on the flap? It’s the first thing people look at, and their sales reflect that. But if a restaurant is selling pizza, you want the add on items to sell, and at the moment, they’re not getting enough of those sales because those items are not in the right place to sell.


When a guest walks into a restaurant, they want to know what you recommend. At the moment, Romeo’s is not offering any advice at all. This is a missed opportunity, and could add an additional profit margin to their restaurant. Just a couple of simple highlights done correctly can smooth out the throughput in their operation and make them a lot more money.


There is one time in your life when you are most likely to buy an expensive item in a restaurant. That day is the day you sign on a house, or a car, or buy some expensive furniture. The thinking is, I’ve just gone $300,000.00 into debt for my new house, so what’s another hundred bucks? This kind of thinking can be leveraged on a menu with the right price points. Romeo’s is missing all of those opportunities. Again, we can fix that, but not for free.

Speaking of Missing Things, Romeo’s is Missing Products

HotOperator design-engineers a lot of restaurant menus. Because of that, we can tell Romeo’s is missing some very important items on their menu. These are items that have a high return on investment. Sadly, they are simply missing out on those sales. If we worked together, HotOperator could make a list and get recipes for each item in each category. This service is worth the price of admission alone.

Good Design

HotOperator Cool Menu DesignPeople pay attention to how a menu looks. They like things that look nice and offer a personality. At the moment, Romeo’s menu is clean, but it is also sterile and it looks generic. If they want to make the menu attract an expanding audience, they will need to improve the look of the menu. We have some of the best menu designers in the business, and they are all trained to engineer as they design. This menu is not well designed, nor is it engineered. We’re not offering a cheaper menu. We’re offering a better menu. As an independent restaurant operator, there is simply no way for Romeo’s or any other single unit restaurant to save their way to success. At some point, they will need to differentiate their items from everyone around them and get more for their products in the process. They may think they are already doing that, but they aren’t. At least not unless they have another secret menu that they didn’t share with me.

Menu Matrix

The menu matrix that Romeo’s gave me is not developed correctly. As an example, they show appetizers and some snack items as stars when they bring less than $6.00 to the bank. There is simply no way those are star items. The Star threshold is north of $8.00. By using this menu matrix, Romeo’s is getting the wrong impression about what brings money to the bank for them. If we developed an Italian Restaurant Menu Matrix, we could straighten all that out. But not for free or even on the cheap. It takes a lot of time and expertise to make the correct recommendations.
Menu Matrix HotOperator

Poetic Prose

Women read menus. Men scan menus looking for what they already know they want. The writing style of Romeo’s menu is simply too generic to be effective. It needs to be written for women, not men. And it needs to touch emotions. Simply put, this menu text is not helping Romeo’s sell the items that make them the most money for their business.


When HotOperator does an analysis of a menu, we start with a menu matrix done correctly. We also look at the social media and reviews for the restaurant, and we look at the demographics of the area of the restaurant. In this way, we can uncover the profit potential for the business, and what you might want to change on the menu to make it more effective. If you are interested in growing your business and reaching its full potential, you will need to invest in a better menu.

Mark & Kelly LauxM+K Laux dba HotOperator is a farm to table marketing consulting firm. Mark and Kelly are a marketing team and managing partners of HotOperator. They have been working in the food business since 1989. Either can be contacted through the HotOperator website, or by calling 800-316-3198.


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