Mastering Menu Pricing: In-Depth Restaurant Guide

As a restaurant owner, one of the most important decisions you'll make is how to price your menu items. The pricing of your products or services is a key factor in determining the overall revenue of your business. Inaccurate pricing can have a negative impact on your profitability and can also result in dissatisfied customers who may leave unfavourable reviews. Nobody wants their business to suffer due to excessively high prices. Whereas pricing too low can eat into your profit margins. Setting the right prices for your offerings can ensure a strong start for your business, both financially and emotionally.


Factors to Consider When Pricing Your Menu

Before setting your menu prices, there are several factors you should consider:

Competition Analysis: Research what your competitors are charging for similar dishes. This can give you a benchmark to work from and help you stay competitive in the market.

Cost Analysis: Calculate the cost of each menu item, including ingredients, labour, and overhead. This will help you set prices that cover your expenses and generate a profit.

Consumer Psychology: Understand how customers perceive price and value. For example, pricing an item at £9.99 instead of £10 can make it seem more affordable and appealing.

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Factors To Avoid When Pricing Your Menu

When pricing your restaurant menu, there are certain mistakes to avoid. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Underpricing: Setting prices too low may seem like a good idea to attract customers, but it can lead to lower profit margins and hurt your business in the long run.

Overpricing: On the other hand, setting prices too high can turn off customers and lead to lost sales. It is essential to strike a balance between pricing and value.

Ignoring competition: Ignoring what your competitors are charging for similar menu items can result in you pricing your offerings too high or too low. Be sure to research what others in your market are charging.

Failing to account for costs: Forgetting to factor in the costs of ingredients, labour, rent, and other expenses can lead to inaccurate pricing and loss of profitability.

Neglecting consumer psychology: Pricing is not just about covering costs; it also involves understanding consumer behaviour and psychology. Factors like charm pricing, decoy pricing, and perceived value can influence customer buying decisions.

By avoiding these pricing pitfalls and taking a comprehensive approach to menu pricing, you can set your restaurant business up for success.


Calculating Your Profit Margins

Your prices should cover your cost of goods sold, or COGS, at the very minimum.

The formula to calculate your COGS is:

Cost per serving + Labour cost per item + Variable Costs + Fixed costs + Startup costs

After determining the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) for each of your menu items, you can add an appropriate markup to ensure profitability. It is important to set a reasonable amount for the markup to avoid overpricing your offerings. For instance, if the COGS for your Chocolate Muffin is £1.00, it would be unreasonable to add £5.00 as markup, resulting in a selling price of £6.00 per Muffin. To calculate your profit margin accurately, you can use a Margin Calculator.

Profit margins can differ depending on the industry, but as a general rule, a margin of 5% is considered low, 10% is average, and 20% is good. It is essential to strike a balance between the desired profit and what is reasonable for your customers to pay.

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Prepare for the Unexpected

The year 2020 taught us the importance of being prepared for unforeseen circumstances. For instance, if your kitchen equipment breaks down and you do not have a backup oven or food processor, it can result in lost revenue. Although you cannot predict when these situations may occur, you can prepare for them by budgeting for potential equipment replacements. To do this, it is crucial to set prices for your baked goods that generate sufficient gross profit, allowing you to maintain a flexible budget.


A well-executed pricing strategy can make all the difference for your restaurant business. By considering factors like competition, cost, and consumer psychology, and implementing effective menu engineering and pricing strategies, you can set your business up for success. Remember to regularly analyse and adjust your pricing strategy to stay ahead of the game.

Using SPARK EPoS, you can streamline your restaurant operations and make informed decisions. With features like mobile ordering, loyalty programs, and detailed reporting, our software can help you identify what's working and what needs improvement. Chat with one of our restaurant experts today to learn more about how SPARK EPoS can benefit your business.

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