Top 5 Food Item Add-Ons to Maximize Restaurant Profits

Would you like fries with that? Restaurants that encourage diners to beef up their meals by adding extra food item add-ons are hoping to maximize profits. By increasing each meal ticket from $2 to $5 dollars with additional ingredients, a restaurant can add $8 to $20 (or more) to the customer's total check. Whether it's adding a side dish or extra toppings like mushrooms and barbecue sauce to a burger, these add-on options allow guests to customize their meal while you increase your profits. These five simple food items can be easily added to existing dishes while raising the restaurant's profit.

  1. Avocados and Guacamole
    Guacamole and sliced avocado wedges are a refreshing addition when added to burgers, burritos, breakfast dishes or sandwiches. Grilled cheese is usually an overlooked (and cheap!) menu item. Add guacamole and suddenly customers will flock to it — and pay a little extra while they're at it. Avocado is a tasty superfood, so customers hoping to add some nutrients and flavor to an omelet or basic salad won't think twice about adding it to meals.
  2. Chicken, Steak, Shrimp and Lobster
    Whether grilled or breaded, chicken instantly adds inexpensive substance to salads, pasta dinners and fajitas while increasing what you can charge for the meal. Folding tender lobster into a crock of macaroni and cheese instantly elevates the dish to an epicurean delight — and the addition should be priced accordingly. Likewise, grilled steak and cooked shrimp can change simple meals into moneymakers, and easy dishes like ravioli or soups are quickly upgraded to something truly special.
  3. Eggs
    One of the most inexpensive food item add-ons, a humble fried egg turns a slab of meat into a high-priced designer burger. Go one step further and turn those eggs to hollandaise sauce, perfect for finishing off a steak or inexpensive potato dishes. Transform a simple pizza into a gourmet meal, which you can price as such, by cracking a few eggs and adding them to its top before baking. Encourage the vegetarian customers to add a few hard-boiled eggs to their salad for extra protein (and an extra $2).
  4. Side Salads
    Most customers are famished when they walk into a restaurant, and that is precisely the time a server needs to tempt them with a refreshing side salad. For example, enticing hungry customers with a Caesar salad made table-side could potentially add $10 to the bill. Topping it with grilled chicken can boost your profits even more. And how can anyone say no to a beautiful salad bar brimming with colorful, ripe produce? Veggies that are plentiful and in-season generally costs less. Suggesting customers help themselves to a trip to the fresh salad bar can add $5 or more to their total bill.
  5. French Fry Substitutions
    While most restaurants add regular french fried potatoes to their sandwich platters, a smart restaurant can up-sell by suggesting the customer substitute sweet potato fries or onion rings for a dollar. This little change can increase the ticket price without taxing the restaurant budget. Since french fries come with most meals, customers looking for something different will be willing to pony up the extra buck for variety. Add even more substitution options to the menu from food items already in the kitchen, including steamed vegetables, baked potatoes or rice.

Photo credit: Donna Diegel