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Are Combo Meals Good for Business?

1 minute Read

To better serve our restaurant customers, we’re presenting a series of articles in May to help you manage and market your business. We hope you’ll find them helpful, and that you’ll come back for seconds and thirds.

Think of combo meals, and you probably picture fast-food restaurants. But fast-food places aren’t the only ones with combo meals. As a restaurant owner or manager, you may have learned first-hand that combos can be a great way to maximize profits.

Many restaurants are already on board. According to an article by Unilever Food Solutions, soup, salad, and sandwich combos are on 24 percent of quick-service restaurant menus, and 36 percent of full-service restaurant menus.

Combo meals can offer something special to customers, like healthy choices or simply quick and easy options. Also, never underestimate the power of perceived value, even if the overall savings is only 30 to 50 cents over the a la carte price.

It’s usually pretty easy to persuade a hungry customer to add side items for just a few dollars more. Without that perceived – and real – value offering, many customers might not even consider adding extra items.

But let’s say that you’re offering combo meals, and they’re still not as profitable as you’d like them to be. You could try decreasing the portion size or raising the price, but there’s something else you can do: offer customized combos. Large national chains such as Applebee’s have done this with success. They offer a series of menu items, and allow customers to build their own combos. People love customizing their combo selections. A few choice appetizer, entrée, and dessert options can provide endless possibilities. So even if you’ve had to raise your prices or decrease some portion sizes, many customers may embrace “build-your-own-combo” deals.

What you will also need to do, however, is promote your combo meals. This can make all the difference. Marketing isn’t everything, though. You’ll naturally want to go above and beyond to provide your customers with lots of real value – value in the quality of your food plus top-notch service.

Bottom line: If you don’t offer combo meal choices, consider adding them, and if you do, change things up to keep things interesting. And remember to promote. You might find that your regular customers welcome the changes, and that you’ve attracted many new customers.


Photo credit: 29september/

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This is not investment, tax or legal advice. Should you have questions please consult you own attorney, tax accountant or other appropriate expert having expertise in the area of your question or before making important decisions in these areas.