"You only have to be right 51 percent of the time to be better than you were." Jerry Weiner, Vice-President of Foodservice at Rutter's Farm Stores. These words should be a guide for and a comfort to any entrepreneur. Maintenance is the real work of ownership, not the purchase. Be realistic when considering your options, and use common sense to keep you grounded.

Change is the only constant, and your success lies in keeping ahead of the trends. If your foodservice program doesn't change annually, it will stagnate. Your menu should consist of customer favorites that will probably remain fixed and contemporary products that will remain in flux. You cannot serve everything and you don't have to serve a lot, but you do need to determine exactly what to sell. Once you weed out what you can cut from the menu, you can start to improve and upgrade it. Consumer demands, industry trends, and purchasing will be important determining factors.

Consumer Demands

  • Who is your target customer?
  • Evaluate each item on your menu. What are your customers buying consistently?
  • Keep the highly ranked items and reconsider the rest.
  • You cannot please everybody, so be prepared for some negative feedback when you remove someone's favorite.

Industry Trends

  • What are the popular items in the industry in general?
  • What is up and coming?
  • How will the new item fit into the menu?


Keep your sales goal in mind, but...

  • Do NOT penny pinch. What could save you pennies in cost could cost you dollars in sales. It is very likely that the better quality item is worth more than the few cents more than it costs.
  • Focus on the quality of your product, including condiments, toppings, and other accents.
  • What is it going to take to serve your new items or continue to serve the old ones? Make realistic decisions about what can be prepared on the premises and what shouldn't be.

Always present your food in an attractive display or organizer. It is inviting to your customers and will help to keep the area clean. Coffee, tea, and other drinks can also be organized with dispensers for cups, sugar, milk, straws, and the like.