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Module 3: The Importance of Menu Planning

Why is it important to evaluate dishes in the menu?

  • To check if dishes meet our restaurant standards for quality
  • To detect deviations from our food quality standards
  • To identify ways to improve dish quality

Dishes should be evaluated when:

  • It’s being developed
  • It’s being launched
  • Periodically during operations

What Do We Evaluate?

Evaluate the characteristics of food, as perceived by the five senses – appearance, aroma, taste, texture and consistency. Define your standards and expectations for each dish and check if the prepared dish matches up.


  • Colour and colour combinations
  • Sizes and shapes of ingredients
  • Visual attractiveness
  • Eye appeal
  • Signs of freshness


The smell or aroma such as tangy, herby, earthy, etc.


The basic sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami tastes

Texture and Consistency

The qualities felt with the finger, tongue, palate or teeth


Knowing the right temperature to serve dishes such as hot, cold and room temperature


Refer to the combination of aroma, texture, temperature and taste reacting with saliva

How Do We Evaluate?

  • For colour, texture and taste evaluations, place samples in clean, uncontaminated containers and assign codes when evaluating more than one sample.
  • Use separate food samples for each evaluator.
  • When evaluating aroma, place sample at least 1 inch from the nose.
  • When evaluating taste, bite off a small portion of the sample and chew slowly.
  • When evaluating more than one dish, spit out the sample after tasting and rinse mouth with tap water.
  • For comparison and ranking purposes, 10 seconds is acceptable for easy recall of the tastes.
  • For a single panellist who has to taste several samples, allocate 2 minutes of rest in between to prevent fatigue.
  • To evaluate liquids, take a small sip of the sample and swirl around the tongue before spitting out.
  • When evaluating more than one sample of liquids, rest for 1 minute between samples.

Recap & Summary

Menu planning is a very important part of the restaurant business. Keep in mind the following:

  • Your guests
  • Production and service capabilities
  • Availability of ingredients
  • Food costs

Assess the quality of the dishes on your menu through a sensory evaluation and always review the cost effectiveness of a menu.

Congratulations, you’ve completed the Evaluating Your Dishes 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.

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