How to Create your Restaurant Menu
Another great marketing instrument that is generally overlooked will be your restaurant menu. As I’ve mentioned in my Previous Post “Creating Great Customer Service Culture, first impression is important. Preparing the menu takes a lot of work and a lot of planning. You need to do it step by step. And you can’t skip any of these steps. Below are the steps.
Firstly, you have to identify what is your restaurant concept and what type of customers that you want to attract. Look around at your area, other restaurant premises and what others are offering. You have to know whether the community are young working adults, families or college students. This will determine the style, quality and portion sizes of the food that you will feature on your restaurant menus. It would be suicidal to open a fine dining restaurant in a community of families who normally dine together.
Market Analysis Market
Market analysis is an important part in planning your menu for your restaurant. You need to know what others are selling, what the locals want. The market analysis also can help you with your menu prices so as to be inline with the income of the community in your area. Its no point to create an expensive menu for a community that are in the middle income category. You will then have an empty restaurant and a fridge full of expensive items.
Consult your Chef
In one episode of Restaurant Makeover, the Makeover Chef tells the Restaurant Chef that “Chefs create menus not owners“. This is true, only the chef knows what he is good at. Its no point for the owner to come out with the menu that the chef is not able to cook it well. Firstly consult with your Chef and also review your current menu with him. Take into consideration of your top sellers and the poorest selling items. This is to identify what to remove and what to keep. Also take into consideration the local likes and what others is offering. The items in your menu may be limited to the size of your kitchen or by the equipment that you have. If you want to try something new you have to be prepared to buy the equipment that your chef needs for his menu. Also take into consideration the skill level of your staff both in the kitchen and at the front. Its no point to create a fine dining menu when the staffs are not skilled enough to prepare or sell it. Also the raw items should be readily available or you will have a menu with lots of sold out items.
Knowing the costs of your items that you plan to sell means success to your business. By carefully calculating the food cost you can determine the price that you will be selling. But saying that, you also need to be aware what your competitors are selling, so as not to overprice your items thus turning away business. That’s where your market analysis comes into play. There are numerous website giving out free templates that you can use for calculating your food. One such site is Menu Costing Templates
Designing Your Menu
As mentioned in my previous post Free Restaurant Menu Templates that a restaurant menu is an important key to promote what your chef has to offer. In the menu you will list what is available in your restaurant. Splendidly prepared menus will really entice the customer to dine within your place. I’ve learned that beside scrumptious sounding write ups, mouthwatering images will definitely appeal to customers to try something new. Sometimes I feel that the customers usually are not clear on what to order, so they normally will order the norm. Shying away from something unique or different that your chef have conjured up. Thus a picture will give the customer a visual taste of what’s coming. In that post I also suggested some free templates sites so you don’t have to take the trouble of designing the menu from scratch.
Proofread and print final design
Go through the entire menu with a fine tooth comb as error will make you look like a fool and also once printed its costly to reprint again. You could also hire a professional editor. You can do what I normaly do, is to pass around to a few friends who are quite ok in English and ask their opinion. After all the people that is going to read your menus are normal people not restauranteurs. So if they can’t understand what you are trying to drive at, how do you expect your customers.
After all this is done, sent out your menu for printing. In my next post I will give you ways on promoting your restaurant menu.