Bakers Journal

Concepts for Success: Redesigning your menu for profit

May 3, 2019
By Diane Chiasson

Learn some easy design tricks to catch clients’ eyes and raise your bottom line

Times are changing in the bakery industry. It is absolutely necessary nowadays for bakery operators to take some time to analyze their menu, product mix, and pricing.  

Your bakery’s menu is one of the first things your customers will interact with the moment they walk into your bakery. It is crucial that you make sure your menu makes an outstanding first impression. Your menu may contain too many product items, bad photos, poor wording, or simply have an unsuitable design that detracts from your customer’s experience. A sophisticated menu will make a significant increase on your revenue by drawing more attention to profitable menu items and will leave a lasting ‘feel good’ impression with your customers. Read the following menu design ideas to help you make the right decisions about how your menu should look and feel.

What is menu analysis?
Menu analysis encompasses many facets. It consists of understanding the brand, design, styles, fonts, menu copy, pricing as well as your product mix, including food and ingredients. You really have to also understand brand awareness which represents the presence of your brand in the mind of the consumer. Positioning your brand in the market requires a thorough knowledge of your market. You must understand if your market is demand-driven or price-driven. If you own a small bakery, the biggest advantage that you have as an independent bakery is the ability to make changes quickly compared to big chain supermarkets. Before you start this exercise, do your homework! It’s not that complicated to gather data from your local bakeries, restaurants, supermarkets that are directly competing with you. You could quickly look at your competition’s menu, and start comparing your design, products and prices to theirs. Type all your findings into a spreadsheet and see where you stand in comparison. You definitely have to take steps to identify the profitability and popularity of each menu item in order to increase your sales.

Why should you update your bakery menu?
Keep in mind that your guests’ tastes change all the time. You definitely have to do your research and see what’s hot and in demand in similar establishments. Your food pricing are also changing. You know that food prices increase and you should adjust for higher prices. There have been some labour costs changes recently, and one of the many challenges bakeries will face this year is the labour market. With more and more bakeries, cafes and restaurants opening, staffing remains the top challenge to bakery operators.


The Golden Triangle
Menu engineering encompasses all facets surrounding the design and pricing of your menu and its offerings. We know that customers’ eyes typically start in the middle of a page, then move to the top right, and then to the top left. It’s called ‘The Golden Triangle’. You should definitely consider putting your high margin products in the middle of a page, then move to the top right, then top left of your menu; these three areas are where your bakery products with the highest profit margin should be. This new menu design and layout will increase your bakery’s bottom line profit from three to five per cent.

Colours can affect what your customers order. As humans, we have associated deep meaning to colours, and we all know that colours have mental and emotional associations. Colours have a subconscious impact on our perceptions and this can certainly be applied to your menu design. The use of green will imply that your food is fresh. Just be carefully with the right hue as it can signify sickness and ‘ill’; pay close attention to the use of this colour. Orange stimulates the appetite, while yellow is a happy colour and it is used to catch the customer’s attention. On the other hand, red suggests excitement, and encourages action; it is used to persuade customers to buy the products with the highest profit margins.

Menu Design
You should always use visual cues to highlight the items you want to sell the most. For example, you could place a box around a product, an asterisk next to it, or put a picture near it. You could also say “Bakery Chef’s Special’ or ‘New’ to draw the eye. Be careful that you don’t use too many features specials as it will cheapen your menu.

We have tested that customers who ordered from a menu without dollar signs ($) spent significantly more. Consider removing dollar signs, and you should not list prices in a single column.

You should definitely pay close attention to how each product description is written. Don’t use superlative claims but consider using enticing adjectives and descriptions to pique your customer’s interest. You could also consider telling the story behind a particular product.

As I say all the time, a huge menu might seem like a good idea; but being subjected to choosing between hundreds of options will make your customers feel stressed. Many bakeries will need to rethink their menus and operations if they want to stay in the game.

© 2019 Chiasson Consultants Inc. All rights reserved.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years. She is recognized as the industry leader in providing innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or or  visit

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