Menu & pricing developments from 2014 Winter Menus By Simon Stenning, executive director, Allegra Foodservice

Branded operators are now becoming more confident in increasing menu entry prices (cheapest), however they are slowing down the increase of menu exit prices (most expensive).

Allegra’s latest research from the Restaurant Brand Portal shows that there have been significant developments in menu pricing when comparing the 2014 Autumn/Winter menus against those of 2013.

Over the past few years, branded operators have been reducing menu entry prices in order to entice customers in with low prices, whileexit prices were increased to encourage upsell, deliver a premiumised treat, and of course, improve margins.

In the 2014 analysis Allegra have seen strong growth in entry prices, as confidence in the economy increases and operators feel that consumers no longer need value messages in order to choose where to eat out; Main course entry prices have increased on average by 7.9%.

This shows us that operators are returning to some normality in pricing. Typical menu item prices are normally kept reasonably flat and so, have only increased by 3.3% in the past year, as operators need to keep their flagship

dishes competitively priced.

With the menu prices of branded operators returning to normality there is an opportunity for independent operators to have more confidence in increasing

their entry prices and improving margins.

It will still be important though that value is delivered, however value for consumers is derived from the overall experience and the quality of the food,

drink and service, rather than simple being cheap.