Gregg Rapp Menu Engineering Scholarship at WSU


Menu Engineer Gregg Rapp, an esteemed 37-year veteran of menu consulting and revolutionary change-agent in the restaurant business through menu design, has been honored with a scholarship established at his alma mater, Washington State University.  The “Gregg Rapp Menu Engineering Scholarship” will help fund students at WSU who are studying menu design and engineering as a career.

Rapp’s extensive experience in menu technology ranges from premium resorts such as Disneyland, Four Seasons and Fairmont Hotels, to nationwide restaurant chains Olive Garden, Applebee’s, Taco Bell and Arby’s who serve millions of customers daily. Rapp’s expertise has taken him globally as well, working with Princess Cruises, Holland America, and to The Peninsula in Hong Kong. Some of Rapp’s other influential clients with international reach include Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Land O Lakes, Tyson, Simplot and American Express.

Professor Emeritus (The Hotel School, Cornell University) Sherri Kimes established the “Gregg Rapp Menu Engineering Scholarship” as a gift to him for his years of great friendship and collaborative work. Speaking of Rapp, Kimes says she “is constantly amazed by his kindness and humor.” As a lauded expert in restaurant management and author of dozens of articles on revenue management in the hotel, restaurant and golf industries, Kimes explains the scholarship’s objective: “I see it as helping students pursue their dreams in the restaurant industry.”

Ned Barker, Founder and CEO of food and beverage consulting firm Grill Ventures International, says of his colleague and friend, “Gregg’s unique menu insights inspired me to look at menu design and pricing strategies in an entirely new light.”

“Gregg somehow roams within the psyches of restaurant customers, and understands how and why they order what they do. This is an extraordinary and rare talent,” Barker adds.

Rapp enjoys working with large-scale business operations and small mom-and-pop eateries alike.  He feels every establishment that has a menu can use his critical eye for details on how the menu looks, feels, reads, how prices are positioned and de-emphasized – all in order to maximize a restaurant’s profits. His motto for his successful business is“Improve the world one menu at a time!”

Restaurants have pointed to immediate positive results in their bottom line when their new Rapp menu-engineered designs have been rolled out. In 2019, an estimated $40 billionwill be sold from menus at restaurants where Rapp has consulted.

Rapp gives much credit for his success to the late Don Smith, his former professor at WSU, who Rapp recognizes as the creator of menu engineering. Smith started his career as an effective turnaround restaurateur, going on to the presidency of Shakey’s International, and then to teaching at WSU.

A seasoned speaker on his favorite topic, Rapp regularly offers advice on the psychology of menu design to students at Cornell University’s Hotel School, The Culinary Institute of America, and Duke University. He’s also spoken at restaurant conferences and Google’s home office in Mountain View, CA. Additionally, Rapp finds time to judge at menu awards competitions such as the National Restaurant Association’s Great Menus Awards.

“Gregg didn’t invent menu engineering, but invented the best ways to explain it. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands foodservice professionals owe their own mastery of this practice to Gregg,” Barker says.

Donations may be made at Gregg Rapp or through the Washington State University Foundation for the “Gregg Rapp Menu Engineering Scholarship.” Donors may also contact WSU Foundation’s Gift Accounting Office at 509.335.1686 or by email at [email protected]

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