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Service Menus gone Wrong

A question submitted to Spas2b:

How many services should you have of each treatment category on your menu?  Where do you draw the line and still have enough to answer to most clients’ interests? 

Our Response:

Big or small, a bad menu will sabotage your quality, culture, cash flow & profitability.  Look at each service individually…

  • How much of it do you need to sell, before it’s worthy of existing?
  • How hard do you have to market this service to get it to sell?
  • Does it have high aesthetic value and results?
  • What kind of staff expertise do you need to administer the service and do your staff like it?
  • How much staff training is needed to keep the service running expertly?
  • How much retail and professional inventory is needed to support the service?
  • What are your product obsolescence issues if you don’t sell/consume in time?
  • Can you maintain your market position and business image with this service?
  • Does discounting to discontinue the service support your brand?
  • What is the monthly/annual dollar worth of the service?
  • What is the gross profit margin on the service (including staff compensation)?
  • Is cost containment of this service going to be an ongoing hassle because of a low margin?
  • Is this service treatment room consistently empty (while another one is consistently booked and never available)
  • Is your cash still flowing or are you becoming strapped?

What did I miss??  If everyone put this kind of research into the creation of their service menu, profitability would a given.

I happen to believe less is more.

  • Less confusion
  • Less expensive
  • Less training
  • Less inventory
  • Less risk.

In summary, I like services that:

  • Are in high demand
  • Have high client value
  • Staff enjoy doing
  • Bring good margins
  • Have a level of difficulty that relates directly to their worth
  • Screams your brand “THIS IS WHO WE ARE!”

What are you saying to yourself right now?

  • “I’m not having any trouble managing my over-sized menu that I know of”. Oh yes you are, you just haven’t tested it yet
  • “I know that this service isn’t really cutting it, but it’s my favourite…and our other services can carry it”. This might be ok, but only if it’s a strong gateway service; is a good introductory service; or is used in numerous spa packages.
  • “I know my menu is too big, but where do I find the time to start?” You may suspect certain services aren’t holding their own.  Set up your system and start with them.  As you become familiar with the analysis process, it will get faster with each service. 
  • “A small menu will make us look unprofessional”.  NO, you are simply smart enough to give them just what they really want. 
  • “We’ve had a large menu forever; it’s part of our prestige and it will look like we’re in trouble if we reduce it”.  NO,  you are marketing your specialities and targeting demand.  BUT, if your position and image require a greater breadth and depth than most, just be sure you’ve got each service working to it’s full potential.
  • “What if I remove a service and I get a complaint from a customer?”  Estimate the value of answering with “yes we’ll continue to serve just you”, and the risk of answering “we can no longer justify having this service”
  • “Will my product rep give me a hard time?”  If your findings spell good reason, there is no room for argument – they are business people too and will know how to help
  • “What if staff get upset?”  You could consult with them first, but it’s ok if they are disappointed sometimes.  What staff want and what actually works in the business, can be two very different things.  With your decisions will come new opportunities – int that out to them and enjoy the upsides.


As an example, I like to see 3-5 massages; 4-6 facials; 3-5 body treatments; 1 manicure; 2 pedicures; 10-12 hair removal treatments.  You still may want to add 3-4 hydrotherapy treatments; 4-6 medi spa services, or any number of services of your choice.  Of course we know that this will vary dramatically from spa to spa.  A spa that has a strong massage market, may have 10 or more massages, but they may not even provide pedicures; and a spa that specializes in pedicures may have 6 or 8 of them, but only 1 type of massage, and so on.

Around 40 services in total may be more than adequate for many spas, but you must be the one to determine the breath and depth of your menu according to your research and market positioning.

From this, I hope you will take that the more services you have on your menu, the more work you’ll have to maintain excellence in the overall business operation. 


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About Leslie

Spas2b Inc. is a full service Spa Development company, specializing in Online Spa Management Distance Learning Courses, Spa Business Manual Instant Downloads & Resources, and Spa Consulting Services.
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2 Responses to Service Menus gone Wrong

  1. Leslie says:

    Thank you Kathryn – I do like express treatments and I know for some, “a lick and a promise” (blame my mother in law for this saying!)is all a client expects from an express mani. With manis already being so low on the profit margin totem pole, spas really have to ensure this little loss leader is a true service or sales gateway.

  2. Excellent post, Leslie. The industry is tending to smaller menus – less confusion and easier to explain to clients who often want to be “sold” on a treatment because they’re not sure what they should have. I’d only suggest that there should be 2 pedicures and 2 manicures (express and “spa”)for greater choice.  Good to be on the same page!!!