Eliminating menu items

So this conversation could be controversial or not. Since covid, its been extremely hard to hire, and im sure everyone is dealing as well. I have been contemplating, since i cant get anyone hired as no one wants to work, i cant keep going as i have been. I work 10-12 daily, from the time i get up, spend time shopping, doing prep, opening the shop, working till 7-8pm then go home, over and over daily, weekly, with 1 day off a week. I have just fired my new night crew leader, who deserved to be fired as he screamed at me over the phone for giving him a verbal warning for not showing up for his scheduled shift, yelling at me saying his family comes before work, mind you it was a freaking bbq party that was more important than a job, cant get any takers on the job, all i get is high-school kids, who need adult supervision during work, they need time off for this and that, they can only work certain hrs, not one single adult wants to work in the area. So thinking & its a big thinking. If I eliminate menu items, i.e. subs, fried foods & just concentrate on pizza, bread and couple salads, i could handle working 6-7 hrs daily. Changing my open hrs to 3-9 daily, closed mondays.

Has anyone eliminated menu items and survived? My sub sales are not astronomical anyways, and we have a new sub place 2 blocks away getting ready to open soon. I figured if I eliminate subs and fryer, i can survive with 4 employees including myself, but with subs and fryer, especially on busy nights i have to have extra staff to handle that side.

If you’re open from 3 to 9 PM, you could easily get rid of subs

The majority of sub sales are at lunchtime.

My current hrs are 12pm-9, 6 days. During covid i had switched hrs to 3-9, then changed back in mid 2022 12-9, because i was able to get staff, now things have changed for an unknown reason once again. Believe it or not but we do subs after 4, on my really busy nights, i have to have 2 kids at the sub/salad & fryer station. My average sub sales is 60 in a month, not very significant compared to pizza sales

I would call it a limited menu for a short while. I had to stop doing ribs for 3 month when, during covid, a different health inspector reversed their ruling of me using an outdoor smoker. I ended up buying one for indoors, but never really recovered the rib sales. That was 40-50 racks a week in sales i lost.

Yeah its crazy what different inspectors interpret. By me selling baked spaghetti and homemade lasagna my license is 200 more per yr, its crazy. I did think about the limited menu idea awhile ago, but could not find a solution as to what terms to use by putting the word "limited-time " on the menu, my customers are weird and will find anyway around anything, so would i say limited only during such & such hrs? or make it my own decision whether to offer it during anytime and risk pissing of customers because i offered it 1 day at a certain time and not the next. My customer base is so mixed, as i have my one customers who stick with one thing and one thing only, never straying, and i get other customers who will order 10 different things off the menu making the kitchen ticket a foot long & over $100 bill, killing my staff during dinner rush hr. Its crazy.
That’s why i thought of just removing the subs, pasta & fryer items as these items for any # of reason take time. Or put them all on the back burner until i can get fully staffed again. I really dont know how my sub sales will react when this new place opens as they are just that a sub place, my sub sales could just die completely out who knows. But i could free up time, money and space by just eliminating them all together as i said im only selling roughly 60 a month, not a significant#. Oh and i didnt mention, i bake off my own sub buns, roughly 15-20 buns every 6-8 days a week so there is my time as well.

Get rid of subs. Easy decision, roughly 2 subs sold per day. What am I missing?

LOL, your not missing nothing. Just for some reason, subs are not a big thing in my small ass town. Pizza is #1… Yeah the more I talk to people the more Im leaning towards slowly weaning off subs and other things & just really focus on my pizza, this was my fathers business, been in it for 40+ yrs, guess Im just a bit apprehensive on pissing off the couple of loyal customers who do get subs. BUT I will get over it eventually

Does your POS allow to mark items out of stock so they can’t be ordered over the phone/online? You could just 86 those items until you’ve gotten someone hired/regained a sense of sanity.

Yes my POS does allow for 86 items,

Might just be easier to 86 items you aren’t selling for now, rather than completely remove them from the menu. Slowly add them back when you are ready to

I am open from 4pm to 9pm (10pm on Fri and Sat).

Consider rationalizing that menu down to the bone. Take a look at your sales and I’ll bet you find that 20% of the items make up 80% of your profit. Keep those items for sure. Consider dumping many of the other items or reducing the choices. For example, I went from 5 salads down to 3.

You might have a couple of items that you don’t make much money on but you need to have, because they cause other people to buy things. For example, I don’t have fryers so I have to by expensive pre-cooked wings. I make diddly squat on them, but because I have wings, I get customers I wouldn’t other wise get.

While you’re at it, consider raising your prices. If you are making BIG changes, better to make them all at once than one at a time. You’ll have a one time “shock” effect on your guest and you’ll lose some of them, but after you’ve “ripped the band aid” you’ll start getting guests back and you’ll recover.

You’ll find it is easier to hire with tighter hours. With a smaller menu, you’ll have lower food costs and lower labor costs. My product quality went up as did the level of service so my sales actually went up, not down.

Good luck!

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I am on the same boat. I want to eliminate half my menu. But a lot of items are have ingredients shared with other items. I want to remove items so my weekly ordering is less as well.

I can totally eliminate all my subs, im going to keep my bone in wings, but inturm eliminate my onion rings, fries & tenders, i literally just bought this nrw fryer in March, so not wanting to off it just yet, as dropping in some wings does not take a whole lot of time and skill

You can still remove items even when ingredients are shared. You will just use less of everything. Im still on the fence with my pastas, even though the box contains 1000 containers, it can take roughly 6 months to use, my son who has been on this journey with me since the beginning is excited to see me make this change