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Would You Like Fries With That And How To Replace Lost Potato Sales

Q:

We used to have just one choice of a side with our bundled meals and that was fries. Now we have lots of side dish options and I think I have discovered why my food costs have been climbing... the fries were much more profitable than offering a side salad or fruit. How can I get my profits back up?

A:

First of all, I am willing to bet that your counter cashiers and order takers are no longer scripted to influence or say... "Would you like fries with that" and probably even more importantly the signage on the menu boards now play down any photos of the fries and highlight all the other choices. Nothing wrong with that, in fact moms would argue that offering kids healthier choices makes good nutritional sense. Just smacks your food cost percentages pretty hard.

Here are some suggestions:

  • If you don't offer a smaller size fry portion, consider it. But don't just take away, add some fun dips or sauces for the fries. That way the person receiving the fries can enjoy each bite just a little bit more and is likely to order them again the next time they come in. Flavored ketchup, salsa, chipotle mayo, BBQ sauce, etc. add zip to the fries.
  • Increase the side options to include other forms of potatoes such as baked or mashed. If 3 of 6 sides are potato based the customer or guest is more likely to order one of them.
  • Lastly, people not only eat with their eyes as they used to say, but they order what they see. Add in photos to the menu or with register toppers. 

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