Success Stories

Napoli’s Grill

n the Cristofaro family’s Lake Worth, FL, trattoria, second-generation restaurateur Joseph Cristofaro carries on his parents’ dedication to superior food quality while finding innovative new ways to further improve their business over time!

One big way that Joseph has grown sales and profits is by rethinking the purpose of his menu.

Some restaurants view their printed menu as a way to list every food their kitchen can prepare in hopes that guests see and order a favorite recipe.

Instead, Joseph has found through experience that “A smaller menu is a stronger menu.”

In other words, by consciously offering fewer menu choices, he helps guests find and enjoy his most memorable recipes. This elevates their dining experience and promotes the dishes best able to make his restaurant stand out from the crowd.

Having the self discipline to limit menu choices encourages Joseph to work on keeping each item as flavorfully appealing as possible. For example, he insists on tasting all of his ingredients daily to ensure they are at their flavorful best. Similarly, constantly measuring their individual popularity (in orders per week) helps him spot and improve (or replace) the “slowest moving” items.

Rather than guessing whether prospective new menu items will be popular enough to earn a place on the permanent menu, Joseph also regularly pretests them as chef’s specials. Specials which prove especially popular are then eligible to move up to the permanent menu, should an existing item need replacement.

Selectively pruning slower moving items has strengthened the business in other ways. For example, encouraging guests to order more often from a smaller set of items increases kitchen consistency by focusing Joseph’s team on making those specialties especially well. Concentrating orders among a smaller set of recipes also helps keep perishable ingredient inventories “turning” more consistently, promoting fresher flavor and reducing costly waste.

The reason that some restaurateurs hesitate to remove menu items is that they worry that individuals may become disappointed if they can’t see a personal favorite. On the other hand, Joseph often makes regulars feel like VIPs by offering to make their “off menu” favorites on request!

As a result of using his menu to subtly steer guests to his most uniquely flavorful offerings, Joseph has elevated the restaurant’s menu appeal, encouraged word of mouth, and increased sales and profits too!