Engineering a profitable Christmas Menu | Unilever Food Solutions UK

Where to start: Throw it back to last Christmas

If you’ve got sales data from Christmas 2019 to work from, that’s a really great place to start. The world might have changed this year, but it’s unlikely that people’s appetites have shifted too far from the Christmas classics. In fact, insight suggests that the old favourites and a sense of normality will be all the rage this December.

Once you’ve pulled your sales data from last December, plot your dishes and pricing information into our ‘Star/Dog’ analysis template. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, and our handy Excel chart will do all the hard working out for you. Download it here.

Your Star/Dog analysis will tell you which dishes were most profitable and most popular for your business last Christmas – and which weren’t. Start shaping your menu by maintaining the ‘Stars’, and consider how you can improve the popularity and profitability of the ‘Dogs’ – or whether to remove them completely.

Get inspired

Get inspired

Try an Italian twist on a classic with this Tuscan Style Turkey.

Or, to ensure that all your customer needs are met this Christmas, try this Vegan Stuffed Butternut Joint.

Now make your life in the kitchen a little bit easier

Dish complexity refers to the amount of effort and skill required to execute a dish successfully. This can include factors like prep time, number of steps in the recipe, number of stations required to prepare the dish, margin for error, etc.

Use our ‘Star/Dog’ analysis template to measure dish complexity too, and you’ll soon start to see where you could benefit from making some changes.

Decreasing dish complexity can help make your operations more efficient, offer your guests a more consistent product, and often decrease your food cost – especially if labour is a challenge for your business in the run up to Christmas.

Finally, consider how much to charge

Christmas might be a time when consumers don’t mind splashing out, but most will still want to feel that they are getting value for money. It can be a tricky balance to strike when setting prices for your menu. 

Set menus will likely have a better perceived value amongst consumers, especially when dining in groups at Christmas (they’re also easy to prep for and manage during a busy service in the kitchen!). Consider how you can maximise your margins with upgrades, add-ons and drinks to help elevate the dining experience for the consumer, along with your profitability.