Most food truck chefs are artists who start off their mobile food businesses with a lack of understanding when it comes to profits. These creative genius’ often find themselves with menus full of unprofitable dishes. While this may indulge the chef’s ego, it certainly doesn’t work well as a profitable business model. For those of you who wonder what items should stay on your food truck menu and which should be removed, we have a simple 3-point food truck menu item system to help you make these difficult decisions.

The PAL Food Truck Menu Item System

After a food truck menu item has been on your food truck menu for 30 days, check your records to determine the profitability of each item on your menu. Next, you need to determine how many of every menu item you’ve sold in the last 30 days.

Our PAL food truck menu item system uses three categories: profitability, acceptance, and labor. Each dish then receives a grade from 1 to 3 in each category.

Example: the ½ pound bacon burgers are popular, so they get a 3. In addition, they’re profitable, so they get a 3 for that, as well. However, there is a lot of labor involved to hand slice the bacon and scratch make your custom mix burger patties, so they get a 2. Add that up and the burgers have an 8 out of a possible score of 9.

Keep the burgers on your menu!

Now do this with every food truck menu item and then re-examine every one that scores 7 or below. This numbering system will help take the emotion out of this decision.

Imagine you have a dish the chef creates. It tastes great, your customers love it, and your service window staff are recommending it. The problem is that this food truck menu item scores 5 on the profitability, acceptance, and labor (PAL) test.

This is exactly why we always suggest food trucks have a treasure trove of various recipes. If it’s time to switch things up; add a new food truck menu item to the menu, and cost them out. In 30 days, run them through our profitability, acceptance, and labor test. The results determine whether the dish stays or it gets removed from your food truck menu.

RELATED: Limit Menu Offerings In Your Food Truck Menu Design

Do you have another way you determine if a food truck menu item should stay on the menu or be removed? We’d love to hear about them. You can share your thoughts in the comment section below or on social media. Facebook | Twitter