Menu Development




Food For Thought!


Unique Innovative Gourmet Taste Versus Big Portions and Quality Good Old Fashion Traditional Hand-Me-Down Recipes. Fresh Scratch Kitchens Versus Processed Pre-Cooked Packaged Quick heat and Quick Serve Delicacies!…

There is no doubt about it, your menu dictates; the type of restaurant you can operate, the hours you can stay open, the complication of the equipment you’ll need, the caliber of crew you’ll need to employ and the demographic of your customer base. Therefore, a lot of thought must be put into such a defining factor as what type of food your menu will feature.

Let’s face it; no chef goes to culinary school so they can get a job cooking the same old same old. Generally entrepreneurs with a passion for the restaurant industry open restaurants so they can show off their culinary expertise, knowledge and unique cooking talents. But, there is a time and a place for dazzling innovation and a time to stick to the basics and proven standards of business and commerce.

All you self-proclaimed food maestros can experiment with appetizers, meal sides and meal add-ons, soups, vegies and deserts to your hearts’ content. It is even a plus to invent a signature entre or two or three. But in today’s economy, it is dangerous to alienate any type of diner. Sometimes we have to stifle our pride which is chomping at the bit to design that news worthy five star creative gourmet mix of exotic delectable and let our common business sense take over the reins. We are here to make money first and show off second! So, let’s look at how a profitable menu is developed.

Ideally, every restaurant should capitalize on their local fanfare. If you live in an area that is known for spicy chili, barbecue, crawfish or crab cakes then by all means take advantage of all the hype. You can’t afford to pass tourist trade by who will want to try the red snapper Soup your town is famous for. But you have to develop a great, special recipe so you can become the biggest trumpeter of the local pride. Next we add a few value standards and basics that the whole world likes and a few low calorie dishes for the health conscience. We absolutely need to have at least one vegan dish. Now that we have made sure that no type of diner has been left out, it is very important to add something special for winning over kids! It is a known fact, kids, more times than not, get to make the deciding vote as to where the family is going to dine.

Now we must give some serious consideration to adding special 1/2 portioned size meal deal packages with an extra vegetable or side dish for attracting the senior crowds. I know, I hear ya! But really, there is still plenty of menu left to develop your awesome extremely hot, hot, hot and spicy theme or choose your own raw steak and then we’ll cook it to your liking concept. You can even add the flaming desert as the meal capper! You will thank me for the ½ portion idea when you see your tables full of seniors during early bird hours while your competitors’ dining rooms sit empty.


*Picking the dishes and offerings is only the first step to designing a successful menu – Did you know there have been studies made that tell where a diner’s eyes travel to first when they open a menu to read? The size of your menu, its look and the feeling or tone it gives off has to be matched to the overall theme, concept and personality of your restaurant. The menu, décor, dress and attitude of the personnel all combine to create a specific, desired, emotional response from the customer. Every aspect of a restaurant must work together to achieve optimal effectiveness.

*Price is another important issue that must be considered – Research will have to be made to compare your intended prices with that of the competing restaurants nearby. In order to stay competitive you may want to consult with vendors to see if there are any price breaks they can offer you for volume purchases then readjust your menu selections and offerings accordingly.

*Now a days your menu has to be designed so it will look great in print to be read at the table, as a smaller takeout take-home version, online so it can be viewed on your website and when viewed in a small phone app.

*Your color scheme, art work, logos must be chosen so they will look great on all the different menus you will need; the drink menu, take-out menu, catering menu, kid’s menu, dessert menu, wine menu. When all you efforts coordinate you get maximum effect.

*You’re menu should be designed to highlight meal combinations and suggestions that will bring the company the most profit and entice diners into purchasing upsells, push for dessert and sell high end beverage orders such as suggested wine pairings.

*Spend a lot of time on describing each dish so it sounds appetizing and enticing. Adjectives like piping hot, juicy, creamy are key. But spend the most time on coming up with great titles and names for every offering! Just saying Cheese Burger doesn’t cut it!

*Visually balance each section and page. A number of Proof reading eyes are essential before approving the final version for printing! You need to have Chefs, servers, customers, management all look the menu over thoroughly. The more people who check the layout before it is approved for production the better!

If your restaurant’s menu is in need of a face lift, contact Philadelphia Restaurant Consultant for a free consultation:


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