The restaurant industry is varied, complex and highly competitive. Thousands of small and large restaurants compete to offer the best dining experience to their customers. How to stand out among so many options? To achieve this goal, each restaurateur must develop a unique menu.

As for a detailed definition of the signature dish, it is the restaurant’s specialty, the one that represents the main food for which your business is famous, recognized and visited. At the same time, it contributes to a high profit margin for the establishment.

How do you know which is your signature dish? Menu engineering is an ideal technique to classify your dishes. It is a tool to intentionally and strategically create a matrix with the classification of your dishes according to their profitability and popularity. In this way, there would be four main groups, as shown in the image:

Kotler, P. and Armstrong, G. (2018). Principles of marketing 17th ed. Page 67. Harlow: Pearson.

After classifying the dishes, you should have:

  • Stars: ideal, highly profitable and popular dishes –your signature dish is in this category.
  • Cash cows: popular dishes among your diners, but that generate little profit individually.
  • Question marks: dishes that have high profitability with low popularity.
  • Dogs: dishes with low profitability and popularity.

If you want to learn more about menu engineering, we invite you to read our article Menu Engineering: How to Use It to Increase Profitability in Your Restaurant, or check out our Instagram post.

Learn more about the benefits of the signature dish and tips on how to prepare it and incorporate it into the menu at P.A.N. Food Business Solutions. Keep reading!

It allows you to attract new customers

Those visiting the establishment for the first time know very little about the menu. The signature dish helps to have an attractive value proposition about what you know to do. It is a great way to provide customers with a pleasant moment and encourage them to recommend your food.

It helps spread the word

Anyone who likes good food wants to share their experience. Therefore, customer reviews will become the best ally of your signature dish. The goal is to build customer loyalty and have them recommend you to their friends.

Adaptation to the digital world

Good publicity is important; the signature dish must stand out thanks to its presentation and quality. In order to achieve this, you need to take excellent photographs that highlight what makes it special.

Technology facilitates the use of the visual sense. Thanks to social media, you can promote the restaurant’s menu, particularly the house specialty. This communication factor is relevant when it comes to attracting new customers.

Make it the center of attention of the menu

The signature dish deserves maximum dedication; many customers come to your restaurant only to try it. It should be positioned in a privileged place on the menu, so take into account:

  • Inquire or hire the services of a specialist in menu design, in order to determine the ideal space where to promote it.
  • It is important that the menu contains only those dishes with which you want to attract the curiosity of the diner. You can use photos, but only the necessary one.

Turn your customer service team into expert sales people

Customer service staff is a vital part of the experience. It is important to train them, motivate them and make them feel committed to the brand you represent. This way, you will have a prepared employee, capable of suggesting to consumers the most profitable culinary combinations for the restaurant and thus maximize sales.

How to create your signature dish?

It is necessary to analyze the characteristics of the business, to find that infallible specialty approved by diners. Therefore, several relevant factors must be taken into account, such as:

  • The type of food served in your restaurant.
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Which dishes are repeatedly ordered by customers?
  • Restaurant’s trajectory.
  • The image you sell about yourself.
  • Make combinations of dishes with the available ingredients and submit them to the public for approval.
  • Take note of customer feedback and, if necessary, correct any mistakes.

With the help of these tips, you will be able to analyze your food business and determine those strategic dishes that make up the menu of the restaurant. This information is useful to apply the strengths, minimize the weaknesses, and take advantage of the opportunities provided by the environment to maximize profit.

By being clear about the profitability and popularity of your dishes, you will have the possibility to establish the signature product of the establishment, the one for which customers are willing to visit you to taste and live a special experience. Are you ready to implement these recommendations? Let us know in the comments!