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Menu Engineering – Combo Meals Latest Trends and Tips

Menu Engineering  – Combo Meals Latest Trends and Tips

If you want to have strategic construction of your restaurant menu get yourself familiar with menu engineering and combo meals trends and tips.

Dishes from the menu combos are the best selling items of your restaurant and the most often choice of your guests no matter of its price. It is mandatory to include them in your restaurant offer.

In this article I’m going to convince you that if you have not already done so, to create a menu with already formed combo dishes – ” combo menu” for your restaurant, and teach you how to do that on best way. 

Not only that it will affect to increase the traffic in your restaurant, but will refresh your offers, facilitate the sale of targeted menu items, and be your silent partner in suggestive selling.

Pairing food from your menu with drinks and tasty side dish is proven and effective method to improve sales and profits.

menu combo breakfast

Using menu engineering and combo meals has not been typical only for fast-food restaurants anymore, it increasingly taking place in all other full service restaurants where offer has been only ” a la carte ” few years ago.

Research shows that 53 percent of customers in the fast food restaurants considered combo meals ” very attractive . ” Unexpectedly, but the number reaches up to 77 percent when it comes to restaurant guests with a full service, which have found combo meals as ” extremely attractive .”

Combo meals everywhere

Menu engineering tool “combo meals” are extremely important for the improvement of business and convenient and practical tool which plays an important role in :

  • Student canteens
  • Fast food restaurant
  • Business canteens
  • Family restaurants
  • Special restaurants ( Mexican, Chinese , Italian , fish , etc. )
  • All other full service restaurants

Whether it is a simple pairing of steaks and common side dish or creating a meal from soup to dessert combo makes your offer creative and exciting, and it gives you the ability to build new business strategy.
In addition promotes the sale of targeted items – the most profitable items on your menu and helping your guests to order meals quickly, especially for those who do not have much time for a meal.

students canteen menu combo

Guests are Happy if They Can Left The Choice to Others – To You

When you get to the restaurant you would prefer to left everything to others, relax and eat something delicious that will amaze your senses.
Let your restaurant to be a place where dishes are matching with special care.

Combo meals take the role of suggestive sellers and that good choice must satisfy your guests. Ensure that the image on your menu dishes look appealing and interesting. Something that will attract your hungry guests who will must try combination of food from your combo meals menu.

Win new guests with your combo meals

Benefits of combo meals menus are as follows :

Can be fitted into almost any activity in the hospitality industry, with all kinds of menus .
Creating combo menu is simple and easy, using new or existing items from the menu .
Can be customized to fit your exact needs.

Increase the value of your combo meals menu

  • Let your guests be sure that they have saved money. Offer lower prices for food / higher margin items in combined food to encourage their sales .
  • Allow guests to build their own combo meal, offer them a choice of starters and
  • drinks and match them with the main dish of course.
  • Offer upgrade items from the combo meals menu – With a large portion of fries you get xxl size of your favorite juice!
  • Keep costs under control at a lower cost of meals prepared from seasonal vegetables and fruits.
  • For customers who are price conscious, create small portions of combo meals at lower prices .
  • Encourage the group or the family to come to your restaurant by offering additional savings for the purchase of two or more combo meals .
  • Offer a simple toy for combo meals for children. Make them special. Parents and kids love that.
  • Give to guests who choose combo meal coupon for a special offer that can be used when they visit your restaurant next time. To get enough guest returnees will be enough to low prices on combo meals by 20 %
  • Let your combo meals menu be is easy to understand visually and verbally .
  • Delete symbols of monetary currency like $ or dollars. A recent study conducted by the Culinary Institute of America showed that the menus without the symbol ” $ ” or the word ” dollars ” have increased sales for over 8 % per person.
  • Another tip is to write prices close to the edge of dishes descriptions to fit in it instead of standing alone on the far right margin.

Use your website and social networks to communicate with guests and to spread notifications about special offers for loyal customers.

combo meal hot dog

How to create combo meals menus ?

Although I suppose that you already have an idea of ​​how to make your combos I would like to give you a few simple examples and tips.

Regarding that in 2012 the fast food restaurants had decreased sales of combo meals with even by 12 % relative to the past five years there have been made major changes in the way how they create combo meals. The combo menu included healthy food. Salad and low-fat yogurt replaced fries. This change has led to a renewed increase in sales of combo meals.

My first advice is to pay attention to the habits of your guests. Respect their choices, follow a combination of dishes that are repeated, follow trends, wrap them all in one package and you just have finished your combo menu item .

Inspirations for combo meal creation

Seasonal fruits and vegetables

Combo menu created from fresh fruit and vegetables is time- limited and do not forget to point out this fact and use it in promotion of your combo menus. In this way you will interested your guests because what last for short-time automatically forcing the guests to try today, because tomorrow, it may not be on your offer.

For example, during the spring and summer months for your combo menu offer you can put together different combinations of dishes of fresh vegetables and fruits. Seasonal fruits and vegetables have a lower price and provides affordable price to your guests for your mutual benefits. As an example it may be a vegetarian combo menu – tomato soup, a salad of fresh vegetables with mushrooms and strawberries filled with cream. Yummy.

menu combo salads

Hot Dishes From Your Menu

Pair popular dish from your menu with drinks and crispy fries. This is a commonly used method for creating combo menu. If you think that ‘s boring, you’re wrong, because these annoying combination is a the largest source of profits. If you still think it is boring then offer them same with a simple dessert – ice cream or coffee is always a good choice. Maybe let your guest freedom of choice for dessert and let them think about something.

Soups as part of the combo meals

Just as desserts soups are very attractive for your guests. Their low production cost is very practical for the expansion of package without increasing selling price too muc . In this way, your guest will feel like they got a part of lunch for free.

Research shows that 62 % of guests ordering soup at least occasionally during a visits to the restaurant. (source)

Soups are a very good choice and a great complement to a meal, especially when the main dish is dry food like type sandwiches or light low calorie foods, such as various salad or Mediterranean specialties.

menu combo soup

Combo meals examples

Try some of the already made and effective combinations and offer to your guests to enjoy the full meal .

I love these simple examples of Tim Horton’s combo menu.

Sandwich or Wrap Combos
Very nice and easy on-the-go lunch. This combo includes a sandwich or a wrap, and a donut of your choice and a small coffee.

Soup and Sandwich Combos
Complete Lunch includes a soup, sandwich and a small coffee; perfect to satisfy hungry customers.

Soup Combos
Looking for a light lunch? This combo includes a bowl of soup, a fresh oven-baked roll, a donut of your choice and a small coffee.


combo meal sandwichsoup combo mealsoup combo meal

Get your staff in on it

Train your staff about suggestive selling of your combo meals. This mode can increase sales of desired items even by 50%. Reward your employees who manage to make sales of dishes from the combo menu. Small rewards for your staff are always a good incentive for the desired outcome of the business.

Promotion of combo menu

When you create combo meal be sure to give attractive name to it. It is good choice if it is in part of the name of your combo meal name of your restaurant.
For example, if the restaurant is called ” Red Pepper “, your combo menu that includes a burger and salad can be called ” Red Pepper Burger Plus “.

In this way you do advertise of your restaurant too. We wrote in earlier posts about characteristics of good restaurant name. Do not use the word combos in the name of the meal. In contrast the words specials, dish, meal would be a good choice.

Be descriptive and creative with names, it will increase the sales of these items.

Your combo now “have wings ” and it is ready to fly. Share information about your new offer using one or more methods for restaurant marketing.

combo meal promotion

Refresh your combo menus regularly

Consider adding or changing the combo menu at least through the seasons – on a quarterly basis. Use seasonal items from the menu to create a time-limited offer.
Regularly promote your offer. Follow trends.
And if you have a delicious meals, consistent quality suppotred with good customer service your success is guaranteed.

Whether the creation of combo menu have influences in the traffic of your restaurant, or  you have some positive or negative experiences that you would like to share with us, please write to me I’d like to know!