Giving patrons exactly what they want is crucial for your restaurant’s success. After all, why bother operating your restaurant if you don’t get what they want?
But actually, the reality of the situation is different because you have to consider that a simpler experience, not an a-la-carte experience, will overall improve your restaurant experience.
Don’t just eliminate menu items, eliminate ingredients
Do you have a couple ingredients that are used for just one or two of your menu items? Odds are, that you’re wasting money just because you’re diversifying–or worse overdiversifying–your menu items.
Instead, analyze the usage of your food ingredients and make sure that you’re only providing the menu items from your most frequently-sold menu items as well. This saves space in your refrigeration and prevents the opportunity of food spoilage and similar food waste.
Only offer an a-la-carte options as a last resort
Just as it is likely very expensive to have a car customized to the extent that you can change the color of your seat belt, it is likely going to be very expensive, to you AND the patron, to start going wild with the condiments of a pizza.
Instead, and this is especially useful if you are doing an initial design or a redesign of the menu, offer a ‘make your own” menu items as physically the very last thing you offer in your menu (ideally, right before the dessert portion). This way, you are priming your patrons to take a look at your most cost-effective (and eventually popular) items.
Tread caution if you are offering pizzas, sandwiches, and salads
But there is a grey area to offer if you are offering foods such as pizzas, sandwiches, and salads as those foods are dependent on diversity.
However that doesn’t mean it’s a matter of black-and-white for these foods. After all, plenty of large-scale sandwich franchises prospered and they didn’t offer an a-la-carte option. However, at the end of the day you need to see where your menu’s selling.