Breaking Bread ft. Gregg Rapp, Menu Engineer — How to build the perfect menu

Nick Belsito
Jun 20, 2019 · 3 min read

OpenCity’s CEO, Nick Belsito “Breaks Bread” with Gregg Rapp, Menu Engineer, as they discuss the challenges of menu creation, the future of digital menus, how restaurants should think about food placement for both profitability and popularity.

Gregg has had the privilege of working with more than one-thousand restaurants & hotels on menus over his thirty-six years as a Menu Engineer. Gregg has also been featured on ABC News, The Today Show, CBS News and more.

Menu Engineering is a systematic approach to building powerful menus that positively impact guests’ experience and drive their desire to return. A good menu it the best tool to learn from your customers. An unorganized menu might lead customers to default items thus losing the opportunity to improve. Gregg has refined the menu engineering process that can help any restaurant in refining their menu. “Either a hot dog stand or a fine dining, I use the same process. Most important things to ask the restaurant, ‘what’s working and what’s not working? and what’s the story behind the menu”, emphasized Gregg Rapp.

Creating a menu used to mean just going to your local print shop and having them put it together. Today, menu creation goes well beyond picking a card stock.

Gregg takes tips and tricks from different industries to optimize for hospitality. This gives him a competitive advantage in layout management. For example, he studies how one’s eyes travel across the page while reading a newspaper article.

“Your menu is your most valuable marketing tool and fortunately a menu update is often the least-expensive improvement a restaurant can make! It also tends to produce the greatest and quickest returns on investment,” says Gregg.

When asked about how to tell the story behind a printed menu, Gregg exclaimed the benefits of having digital menus. “That’s why I love iPad menu, on an iPad they can get as much and as little as they want”, emphasized Gregg Rapp. In fact, it is true that some customers love to read each item on the menu thoroughly and meticulously. Some on the other hand, don’t want to read at all and just want to know what’s good. Therefore, iPad menus will accommodate each customer’s habit and provide benefits on both ends.

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About Gregg Rapp
Gregg Rapp, Menu Engineer is the globally recognized expert on Menu Engineering. Gregg works with industry leading academics, experts, and food and beverage professionals around the world on menu development and strategy.

Over $40 billion in 2019 will be sold off menus Gregg has influenced in recent years!

With thirty-six years experience in the Menu Engineering field, Gregg frequently speaks at national conferences and universities, including Cornell University’s Hotel School and Dr. Brian Wansink’s Food & Brand Lab in the school of Psychology at Cornell. On Gregg’s last visit to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Gregg spoke to five different classes in one day. Dan Ariely of Duke University flies Gregg in yearly to speak to his graduate classes. Dr. Ariely also featured Gregg in his Behavioral Economics Summit and took Gregg to Mountain View, CA to speak to the entire Google campus on their in-house TV network. Dan mentions Gregg’s work in his best selling book, Predictably Irrational and his new book, Payoff: The Hidden Logic that Shapes Our Motivations.

​Gregg has judged many Menu Awards Competitions including the National Restaurant Association’s Great Menus Awards.

From global chains to independent operators of restaurants and hotels, Gregg works side-by-side with teams to achieve their profitability, guest-satisfaction, and retention goals.

Gregg’s consulting services and seminars provide teams with a comprehensive understanding of menu psychology, combined with tools and highly-effective strategies for building successful and profitable menus.

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