What is Menu Planning
Menu planning is one of the most important managerial activities of food and beverage operations executed by a team comprising the entrepreneur, the restaurant manager, and the executive chef.
In the hospitality industry, the general manager and the food and beverage manager will also be members of the team. In welfare catering operations, the head of the institution, the catering manager, and the finance manager will be involved.
Menu planning calls for thought on many factors that would determine the success of the f&b operation.
The menu forms the basis or acts as a guide upon which all other managerial and operational activities of f&b operations rest.
The Menu Planning team should have:
- Have a thorough knowledge of dishes of various meals and cuisines.
- Know the food cost of different dishes.
- Be aware of the time taken for producing those dishes.
- Menus are planned for commercial and welfare catering of New outlets or Existing outlets.
What are the Types of Menu Planning
Following are different menu types that applied while menu planning on occasions:
1. Table D’ote Menu
It is a fixed menu with a limited number of courses for a set price. A limited choice may be given for each course.
2. A La Carte Menu
This kind of menu planning offers a wide choice of dishes under each category and each dish is priced separately. The bill amount will be according to the customer’s order.
3. Plat Du Jour
It means the specialty of the day. Chefs make a few special dishes which are normally the main course, however other courses, such as fish, sweets, and so on may also be included depending on the geographical location of the restaurant.
4. Carte Du Jour Menu
In French, It means the “card of the day”. It refers to all menus of the day, combining a la carte, table d’hôte, and plat du jour menus.
5. Cyclic Menu
It is series of table d’hote menus for a set period of time, say for a week, which is repeated for a particular period of time, say for six months. After six months a new menu will be prepared.
For a successful restaurant business, consistency and availability of dishes must be ensured throughout its operation period.
Restaurants are frequented by groups of people like, friends, colleagues, family and each member of a group has their own menu preference which depends on many factors.
Also Read: What is the Function of a Menu in Hotel
Importance of Menu Planning
1. Health- When you plan a menu, you can make choices for your personal health and fitness needs. Menu planning plans exist simply to provide of how a single person meal plans based on their own preferences and needs.
2. Money- When you cook and plan your own meals, you are most likely saving money when purchasing the same type of meal in a restaurant. So lastly, planning your meals can help reduce food waste. Simply eating leftovers or planning a day to eat leftovers is a good practice to reduce food waste.
3. Time- Everyone is different, and everyone’s needs are different. Always plan your meals to save yourself the time you want. Pick your busy days, and make those meals the most simple or prepared ahead to help you.
Compiling Menu with Set a Number of Dishes, One from each Course
It is also called Prix fixe or fixed price menu in which set items, one from each course (without any choice), are pre-arranged by the host. This type of menu is mainly used for functions, like weddings and banquets. It is very simple to compile.
Remember the following points before you compile such a menu:
- Relevé course is the heaviest of all courses, the second heaviest is the rôti course, and the third is the entrée.
- Offer either egg or pasta. It is suitable for a luncheon menu and not included in the dinner menu. If egg/pasta are offered, avoid fish course.
- Preliminary courses- appetizer, soup.
- Main courses- Egg/pastas, fish, entrée, relevé, rôti, vegetables.
- Give either cheese or savory.
- Cheese/savory can be served as an alternative to the sweet course.
- The sweet course should not be immediately followed by a dessert course. The menu may have these two courses, provided cheese or savory is offered.
- Coffee should be included in the menu, but not considered as a course.
Steps for Compiling the Menu
- First, decide on the number of courses you want to offer on a menu.
- Decide what course you want to give as the main course.
- The main course should be in the middle of the menu.
- Once you decide on the main course then you know how many courses you need to give before and after it.
- Decide the courses you want to give before and after the main course.
- Write the menu.
- Draw a small line between courses indicating the end of the course.
- Always give potatoes and green vegetables with the main course. A line should be drawn after writing the accompanying vegetables for the main course.
- Stick to any one language, English or French, when you write the menu.
- Menu terms are different from French terms. Menu terms may remain as they are when you are compiling the menu.
- Write, menu, date, and price.
So, menu planning is one of the most important managerial activities upon which the entire operation of food and beverage is based. Many internal and external factors that affect menu planning should be analyzed very deeply.
Careful thought should be given to the changing needs and profile of consumers while planning the different types of menu.
Restaurants must satisfy groups and not individuals, which is possible through careful planning of the menu. A successful restauranteur will sell foods that the customers want to eat and not what the restauranteur wants to eat.