How the evolution of menus can drive profit

In the post-COVID era, we know that chefs and venue managers are searching for ways to keep people staying in venue for longer to drive profit. However, it’s challenging to find ways to run a sustainable food business and deliver quality to meet their customer expectations. When looking for ways to unlock revenue growth, how do we encourage people to stay longer in venue?

With food expectations evolving, is your venue still reliant on traditional lunch and dinner menus?

With >40% of Aussies now snacking instead of having a proper meal at least once a week, having new-age menus designed to cater for the blurred lines of food consumption is critical. 

Acknowledging that in a world where chefs need to increase customer spend, how can your venue create additional revenue beyond traditional mealtimes? Considering that non-traditional dayparts (i.e. outside of lunch and dinner) can take up 2/3 of the total venue operational hours, but for some, only generate 1/3 of the daily revenue – this is where outside-the-box thinking is needed.

For those visiting venues outside of the mealtimes seeking a drinks occasion, there traditionally may have not been many available snacking items on the menu. This could often lead to patrons leaving vs. hanging around with friends or family for that 1 or 2 extra drinks. A key opportunity to solve this is through versatile menu options. Snacking menus designed for sharing is a growing trend driving additional food revenue and profit, as well as the lucrative drink spend that comes with customers staying in venue for longer!

The challenges of balance between quality vs complexity

Knowing that food quality is the #1 driver for Aussie pubgoers, there is always a fine balance between good quality menu items and adding operational complexities to offer a customised menu. Therefore, finding menu items that balance the easy finishing touches vs more work for little reward (making in-house from scratch) that live up to the chef’s menu standards, is highly desirable. Additionally, chefs are seeking simple construction to serve meals so that regardless of which chef is on duty, the quality is consistent. Knowing that quick service is also important, eliminating the complexity with ready-to-cook options decreases the amount of variation in quality output and allows for a consistent and simplified food offering. 

Menu visibility and versatility

Whether it is a hard copy menu, or via a digital platform such as me&u, statistics show that 68% of people can be influenced to purchase food when a menu catches their eye. Therefore, when customers are in your venue thinking about drinks, food may not be front of mind. You need to catch their eye and give them a sign, literally. Providing a snacking menu is a shortcut to encourage patrons to order beyond the drinks.

So what is the ideal selection of menu items to excite your patrons?

Don’t overwhelm them, 7-8 items is plenty – but variety is critical! With varying dietary and taste preferences, there are some golden principles to consider:

  • Include protein (perhaps from your entrée menu for convenience), such as chicken wings or salt and pepper calamari
  • Vegetarian-based options – however make them fun! Think cauliflower bites and onion rings
  • Carbohydrates – think a classic bowl of fries or wedges, even garlic bread from the main menu
  • Cheese options – mozzarella sticks and mac and cheese – customers want something rich and indulgent to satisfy their craving and to accompany their drink


When building your snacks menu, think about the items that can be versatile across your venue – from lunch and dinner entrées, to function food or gaming snacks. You don’t need to add an extensive new list of items for your kitchen to create and maintain a snacking menu. The likes of a cauliflower bite can have a variety of uses on a menu including as a starter, a side dish, a bar snack or added into a main menu item such as bánh mi. 

Pickers – your simple solution for snacking menus

Pickers by McCain are authentic, bite-sized shareable snacks that pair brilliantly with drinks and keep patrons in venue for longer. From nacho cheese triangles to mozzarella sticks, the Pickers range of snacks are on-trend, sharable and inspirational menu ideas that are the first to the table. Chefs now have access to a range of quality snacking options that deliver on customer expectations, unlocking a big revenue and profit opportunity. With other benefits including Australian-made premium ingredients, Pickers is the complementary range of bite sized, sharable snacks that deliver superior quality and differentiation from existing offerings. 

Pickers, turning good food into great times!

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