A recent study by a restaurant consulting and analyst firm says barbell menus will attract lower and middle income consumers. Barbell menus are typically priced and tiered to offer value and affordability targeted to those with less disposable incomes. In a domestic society where eating out is a significant part of our culture, restaurants have an opportunity to appeal to and attract a larger customer base using this tiered approach. Similar to the comparison of having low and medium weight barbells to compensate those who are not going to the gym to body build but are there for more low impact aerobic type activity, a barbell menu accommodates those diners who want simple, lower cost choices rather than gourmet-style, pricey dishes. According to a study which supports this analogy by the restaurant consulting firm Technomic: – “On one side of the menu there are products that appeal to price-sensitive customers, for example, dollar menus. Lower-priced items can retain customer patronage and possibly lead to trading up at future visits. In contrast, you’ve got items that appeal to customers who see price as a secondary factor. They may be trading down from an expensive restaurant but still want some higher-end menu options. Most of the menu, however, focuses on your core products. Now you have something for everyone, said Darren Tristano, EVP.” It has also been a year for small portions says other restaurant industry analysis published in Restaurant Management magazine. This trend has many a restaurant manager tweaking their menus to offer both “half” size and “full” size plates yet without necessarily affecting check average. Rather than a consumer ordering a large entrée, which may be too much food and does not leave room for dessert, a half size portion will satisfy guests appetite while providing an opportunity for the foodservice operator to up sell them on another item. Have restaurant consulting input on these subjects or a related one? Please share your insight here.