Module 3: The Importance of Menu Planning
Once you know the factors to consider when planning a menu and ensuring it’s balanced, it’s time to create the menu. Use our reference guide to engineer your physical menu, based on seven factors:
- Your guests
- Production & service capabilities
- Availability of ingredients
- Food cost
- Menu balance
- Menu accuracy
- Menu presentation
- Be market driven.
- Ensure it meets diners’ needs and preferences.
- Avoid out-dated dishes that do not appeal to the market.
Production & Service Capabilities
- Check that dishes are deliverable by restaurant staff considering available skills, tools and equipment.
- Skip overly complicated dishes that are difficult to execute.
- Avoid presentations that increase food costs.
Availability of Ingredients
- Use authentic, suitable and available ingredients that add to the flavour and texture.
- Have at least 30% of dishes that are seasonal with at least 2 seasonal dishes per section.
- Resist using hard-to-source or inconsistent ingredients.
- Prevent reliance on any one specific ingredient as price hikes can impact operational costs.
- Target food cost to be at most 30 - 35% of the price of the dish.
- Ensure that no more than 10% of the dishes are low profit items and price at least 30% of the dishes as high profit items.
- Avoid top-selling items that are low in profit.
- Create a maximum of 2 menus.
- Have a menu designed for use in-between meal times.
- Keep between 3 to 6 sections on main menus and 2 to 4 sections on secondary menus.
- Have about 4 to 12 dishes per section as too many options make choosing what to order difficult.
- Feature a minimum of 1 or more signature dishes in at least 3 sections of the menu.
- Have at least 1 healthy option per menu section and offer healthy substitutes to health-conscious diners.
- Prevent having too many menus as they will confuse your guests.
- Resist repetitive dishes with the same components and cooking methods.
- Show information related to quantity clearly and accurately.
- Use internationally recognised quality grades correctly.
- Clearly indicate prices, taxes and additional charges.
- Accurately represent brands of ingredients used.
- Declare ingredients and substitutes used.
- Represent origin of dishes and ingredients.
- Be truthful in cooking and preservation methods.
- Avoid pictures that do not match the quantity and quality of the actual dish.
- Resist making false claims.
- Keep the physical size of the menu between A3 and A5 as larger sizes will be difficult to handle and anything too small will be hard to read.
- Plan the menu layout the way you would serve a meal – starters, mains then desserts.
- Use a clear font style and check for spelling or grammatical errors.
- Keep the menu design simple as a cluttered menu can distract diners from dishes.
- Ensure the menu material is of a good quality and that it fits the theme of your restaurant.
- The top right and middle are the most visible sections on the menu and should be reserved for the most profitable dishes.
- The first and last dish of each section is the most memorable so highly profitable dishes should go here.
- Promote daily specials clearly so diners are focused on the dishes that are the most profitable.
Congratulations, you’ve completed the Menu Engineering topic!
Continue to the next topic or pick a related topic from the Importance of Menu Planning module, or go back to the Chefmanship Academy modules page.