Ask iChef – Planning a menu

(03 /10 /2015)

Q: I have just started a new restaurant and I have to redo the menu! The current menu is ok but there were many items that just don’t move. How do I create a menu that stops this issue?

A: Firstly, great news!  Congrats on the new job, now is the time to show what you can do for them!

Creating a menu for some can be a nerve raking experience.  You are putting your skills and knowledge of food out there for everyone to see and taste. A menu can be a make or break of the establishment and the menus creator. No pressure!

So how do you work out the ideal menu?

When I create menus I take into account a number of factors:

  1. The demographics of the area.
  2. Past menu records. This will give you an idea what has worked previously. This doesn’t mean that the exact dish needs to be used but with a little bit of imagination a new spin can be put on it.
  3. Team involvement. This is a great way to get everyone’s input and for the entire kitchen team to take ownership of the menu. This will also help in generating some enthusiasm in the kitchen during service time as the team see their ideas come to light.
  4. Customer feedback. Plan the menu by putting each idea to the test. Get your front of house public relations team (wait staff) to get feedback or suggestions.
  5. Don’t introduce too many things all at once, remember some of your customers come back time and again for that ‘menu favourite!

I found these 5 steps work well in finding the right balance.  It lets you use your creative juices without the risk of dishes not selling, and creating the waste and bad food cost %  factor.  Good Luck! Share the photos when you have your new dishes!

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