Menu is a silent salesman which is used as a selling tool as it communicates about food and beverages that are served in any restaurant. It’s an image of any eatery. Its first impression which the restaurant can put in front of their food loving customers
Now a days, it’s the trend in F&B industry to sell an experience with the food being the core i.e. forming the most critical component of the experience.
Menu making is the crucial step to describe restaurant operations and customer’s experiences. Menu is an official paper of the outlet and it gives information about food and beverages offered by the restaurant. Menu making is an art and a managerial activity.
There are many critical points that the chef needs to take cognizance of in designing a menu.
I have observed many patrons bash the menu without understanding the depth, effort and work that goes into making a menu.
The science part of the menu is learned by experience or through formal training; the tacit part is the chef’s flair and understanding.
The chef needs to understand the
- Brigade strength
- Size of kitchen
- Technology and equipment
- Service pattern
- Requirement of patron
- Service style
- Availability of ingredient
- Target market
- Food Cost
- Flavor Profiles
- Regional sensibilities
- Religious Sensibilities
- Special requirements
Amongst, other relevant micro factors.
Undoubtedly there are bad examples of menus. But the object of this article is to appraise the reader of the work that goes into making a menu.
Apart from that there are other terms
- Menu Planning
- Menu Designing
- Menu Pricing
- Menu Analysis
All the terms are interrelated and interdependent and it is incorrect to discuss menu planning in isolation but for the sake of brevity we will restrict ourselves to menu planning for now.
There is a lot of work that goes in to understand the above listed factors before the chef will come up with the wireframe of the menu. Wireframe is the broad headings the menu will cover.
Once the broad headings are in, he/she considers the relevant factors to fill in the blanks. Then taste, texture, flavour, flavour profile, coverage and strength of the brigade along with technology and equipment are taken into consideration.
From the customer perspective increasingly, people are now health conscious they consider foods which have nutritional benefits so give additional information about nutritional facts of food. Often restaurant err by adding excessive snacks in their menu rather have two separate menus. Restaurateur needs to initiate a new idea of menu making by adding information about size of the dish and serves with different sizes according to the customers need. Give an information about flavours used in the dishes gives a better image to the restaurant.
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