Protect your Winners - keep them Profitable and Popular. Winners are your most important menu items. Seriously evaluate your Losers and make changes to move them up in the Reports.

Winners and Losers

Menu Mix is how each item on your menu sells relative to other items.  To help you balance your menu mix Cost Guard creates a Winner and Loser Report for your operation.  Using classic menu engineering formulas, CostGuard ranks your menu items in terms of profitability and popularity so that you can easily adjust dishes to increase your bottom line.


The report sorts the targeted menu items into four groups based on profitability and popularity.  One key variable in the analysis is unit Contribution Margin – or the Sells For less the Unit Cost of the dish.  If you would like more information on how CostGuard calculates the Contribution Margin, and how your setting could change the results of this report, click here To calculate Popularity, CostGuard uses Sales data for the calculations.  Below is a discussion of the rankings, for information on how to generate and print the report, click here.


Winners:  Winners are very profitable for you and are very popular with your customers.  Winners are your featured items in your establishment, and should have prominent placement on your menus.  Monitor your staff to make sure that they consistently use the correct ingredients, and methods to make these dishes.  CostGuard’s Recipe module can help you with the documentation necessary to keep these dishes tasting the same, meal after meal. 


Plowhorses:  Plowhorses are very popular with your customers, but are not very profitable for you.  Plowhorses are menu items with higher food cost percentages than your Winners.  To move a Plowhorse dish into the Winner category, keep a careful eye on pricing.  Use the Bid and Suggested Order Feature for the lowest pricing on key ingredients.  Just make sure that the lower priced ingredient is comparable in quality, size, or weight to the original so you do not sacrifice popularity for a cheaper food cost.  Plowhorses may also be dishes affected by seasonal pricing such as a produce based salad or fruit dessert.  During a high price time, you may consider bumping up the menu price to keep your profits.  Use the What If feature to analyze your pricing and cost structure on these dishes.


Puzzles:  Puzzles are very profitable, but not very popular with your customers.  To move Puzzles into the Winner category, they need marketing intervention.  Highlight them on your menus, and instruct servers to feature them as a special.  You may need to interview your customers who try the dish about their opinions on it, and modify as needed to match their preferences. 


Losers:  Losers are not very profitable and are not popular.  Every menu item on the Loser list needs careful evaluation.  Some Losers simply need more marketing – telling the customer you have it, to move to the Plowhorse category.  Other Losers may need their cost structure re-evaluated to increase their profitability and move them into the Puzzle category.  Use CostGuard’s powerfulWhat if features to play with the costs for this analysis.  Ask yourself if this dish meets your target markets expectations, and consider dropping it from the menu.