Pricing Your Thanksgiving Day Selections

As you plan Thanksgiving Day dinner at your restaurant there is a lot to consider. What will you serve? How much kitchen and wait staff will you need? What marketing methods will you utilize? With all of these decisions to make it is no surprise that you can become overwhelmed with the process. One of the biggest decisions that you will have to make is how to set your menu pricing. The amount you charge for the food you serve will determine whether you meet your budget and make a profit, or incur a loss. During one of the biggest profit-making days of the year, it is important that you make the right decisions, while taking into consideration what your customers are willing to pay. The following are a few simple things to consider to help you find the right balance between fair menu pricing and making a handsome profit. Pricing Your Thanksgiving Day Selection 

What style of restaurant do you have?

While it may seem obvious, the higher class your establishment, the more you are expected to charge your customers. First of all, your costs are higher, the quality of your food is better, and people will expect your Thanksgiving prices to be in line with your everyday high pricing. However, if you try and charge significantly more because you are open on Thanksgiving Day itself, then you may lose the customer base you rely upon. So, take a look at your restaurant style, your target market, and your customer expectations, and use these factors to help you determine your menu pricing.

What is your serving style?

Is your menu limited? Will you have a buffet? How you plan to serve your food will have a great impact on what you can charge. You can charge more for an all-you-can-eat buffet than you can charge for a limited selection of meat and sides. But often a buffet requires less wait staff and overhead, while a sit-down formal meal requires more wait staff and overhead costs. These factors will all impact pricing. You may also want to factor in lower prices for patrons such as children and seniors, who always eat less. 

How much is the competition charging?

It is also a good idea to spend some time getting to know the local competition and how much they are charging for a typical Thanksgiving Dinner. It is important to find an establishment that is serving something comparable to what you are offering so that you can stay in line with the competition, or even beat their prices. This can make you the preferred choice when people are looking to dine out on Thanksgiving.

What are your food costs?

It is a good idea to order your Thanksgiving food supplies as early as possible so that you can get the best pricing on your raw food. This allows you to offer better savings to your customers. To determine the cost of each menu item you would need to add up the raw food cost of each food that comprises each menu item. For example, a turkey dinner with all the trimmings will include the raw food cost of a portion of turkey, a portion of stuffing, a portion of cranberry sauce and etc. That total becomes your total raw food cost for this particular menu item. Follow the same procedure to determine the raw food cost of each menu item.

What other expenses do you have?

Obviously your raw food costs will need to be added to the other costs you incur while running a restaurant. This means including staff salaries, as well as your usual overhead expenses. To help you determine your menu prices you will need to add all these expenses to your total food costs and then add a profit of 25% - 35% to come up with a fair menu price.

As you have learned, determining menu pricing for Thanksgiving isn't as difficult as it seems. Take into account the style of your restaurant, your serving style, your target audience, what the competition is charging, the cost of your raw food, and your overhead costs, and then add between 25% - 35% to determine fair menu pricing for each item. In this way you will ensure that you are charging a fair market price while making a profit on one of the most profitable days of the year.

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