Some ingredients simply gain a cult following. That has been the case with avocados in recent years, whether as part of the internet sensation they created when spread on toast or simply as a salad topper, smoothie ingredient or guacamole base. But in a period when near-constant climate challenges, inflation and supply chain woes are impacting so many ingredients at once, avocados are one of many ingredients to carry an increasingly out-of-reach price tag these days. The U.S Department of Agriculture said average avocado prices spiked 30 percent in late July over the same period last year. They are just one example of how operators can’t rest on their laurels when it comes to menu engineering and menu planning in general. Each item on your menu should be popular and profitable. If you’re not ready to take a popular item off the menu, consider how you can offer it at a higher price point or with more economical ingredients. Being known for a signature item can be a blessing in good times and a curse in others — consider the brand challenges of Wingstop when chicken wings suddenly became scarce. It’s crucial to keep testing new ideas so that when one popular ingredient is unavailable, you have a couple of understudy dishes ready in the wings. Offer them as limited-time specials or in VIP test tastings for your best guests so you’re regularly collecting data on what’s working, what’s not and what substitutes can be swapped in with the greatest acceptance from guests. Who knows? You may accidentally create the next avocado toast for your guests.