Fish where the fish are

It will come as no surprise to everyone that the burger is typically the most popular item ordered in most casual dining outlets. From cafés to pool-side menus to in-room dining menus, the burger rules! 

So if it’s your most popular item, it should be amazing and you should ensure you are making a handsome profit from it. Furthermore, you should have different versions of it that are more expensive that your guests can “buy up” to. 

While this all makes perfect sense, it continues to surprise me how few hotels follow this line of thinking. In the past few weeks, I experienced the good and the bad on this subject. Let’s start with the bad. 

The Bad

In the bar of a hotel in the U.S., I was served an 8-oz. burger that cost US$11. It represents 43% of the bar’s entrée sales. There are no additional burgers on the menu. No great effort was made with the presentation. 

The Good

At my local pub here in Toronto, I typically choose the “Local Burger.” It’s a 7oz. patty with half as many fries. It’s a lot better-looking and a lot better-tasting than the “hotel” burger above. As the burger is by far the most popular item at the pub, there are six different versions ranging from C$8.25 to C$16.25 (see the menu below).

The Conclusion

There’s no question in my mind which of the two burgers is more profitable. And shouldn’t apply only to burgers. If the margarita is the No. 1 seller at your pool bar, offer three or four versions, including one with premium tequila. 

As they say, fish where the fish are!