Two very important elements for any successful restaurant are your menu and market. Identify and understand your market, and use that knowledge to cater your menu to their preferences. This will ensure your offerings are what your diners are looking for.
Knowing who your diners are and what they like can help you plan your menu better, determine what ingredients you need and how much to price your items. Answering the following questions can help you understand your diners better and what appeals to them:
For example, if you’re looking to attract the lunch crowd, they are probably looking for quick, simple meals. With this knowledge, you can adjust and offer dishes that are easy to assemble and execute, and deliver hot, tasty food to your diners quickly.
With the insights on your diners, adjust your menu to meet their needs so they’ll always get what they’re looking for and keep coming back for more! Here are a few menu types to help inspire yours. Feel free to experiment and adapt elements from each of these menus to create one that works for you.
A la Carte
One of the most common menus used by restaurants, offering separately priced items divided into different sections (starters, mains, desserts etc.). To make certain dishes stand out, highlight specials, chef recommended dishes or seasonal dishes.
Table d’Hote (Meal Sets)
A direct contrast to the “A la Carte” menu, the Table d’Hote is a fixed priced meal set usually comprising of a starter, main and dessert. This menu gives you more opportunities to serve great tasting, well-executed food combinations and limit inventory costs. Give your diners a few starters, mains and desserts options to choose from to suit their personal taste!
Literally meaning “of the day”, these are dishes not on the regular menu and usually highlighted and presented as a daily special (e.g. Catch of the day, Soup of the day). Combine this with an “A la Carte” menu to promote seasonal or signature dishes in your restaurant. To call more attention to your specials, try writing it on a chalkboard stand and put it at the door.
Commonly found in fast food restaurants and local food stalls, limited menus work because their diners want a quick fix, not an elaborate multi-course meal. The key here is to have dishes that are easy to assemble and execute, and having ingredients that can be used for more than one dish. For more variety, offer side dishes that can be easily refreshed.
This type of menu is commonly used in canteens, cafeterias and hospital where menu items are changed on a weekly or fortnightly basis. A cyclical menu offers a wider variety of foods over time to ensure optimum nutrition and keep things interesting for a captured market. Letting diners choose from a range of side dishes will add more variety to your menu.
Offering traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes throughout the day, a California menu gives diners a wide variety of dishes from different cuisines made with fresh ingredients. With so many choices available, ensure that the dishes are properly categorised and uniquely distinct to help make your diners’ decision making easier.
Diners’ tastes and preferences are constantly changing, so adapt to them by regularly redesigning and improving your menu to meet their needs. Play with new flavours, try new presentation styles or add more variety to the dishes offered. Simple steps like these are what attract new diners, and keep regular ones coming back.Want more articles and recipes like this?