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Everything starts with the menu. The menu dictates much about how your operation will be organized and managed, the extent to which it meets its goals, and even how the building itself - certainly the interior - should be designed and constructed.
It is the foundation upon which the layout and other design functions are based. The menu influences every basic operating activity in a food service organization, it affects management decisions
Considerations in Menu Planning
The menu is the plan used to achieve the organization’s profit objectives and to satisfy customers’ desires.
The main objective of Menu Planning is for the business to make a profit while catering to its customers needs, using all available ingredients, equipment, physical surroundings and skills of its employees at a reasonable cost.
During the process of menu planning, management should consider numerous factors before coming to a decision on what food and beverage items to put into a menu and how they should be priced.
Customer-related factors focus on customers needs, food pricing plans, sequence food is presented and customer dietry requirements. These factors are explained in detail.
Restaurants should also consider if they have to fulfill some special requests of customers.
For example, it is very common for restaurants to receive special requests from hotel guests who have religious beliefs, such as non-pork meals provided for Koshers.
Food items should be placed orderly according to the dinning sequences of customers. Sequences of items are always started from appetizers to main dishes and then desserts.
The marked prices of food and beverage items should be decided by the spending power of the customers, and the market positioning of the restaurant.
The nature of target segments would affect the decisions of what items to be provided in a restaurant.
For example, a restaurant would provide more healthy food if it mainly targets seniors.
Food-related factors focus on cost of materials and percentage of profit, material supply and demand, nutritional values and variety of food stuffs. Food hygiene and safety in the preparation, sourcing and serving of dishes is also a priority.
Cost and price of the food materials
Besides considering the spending power of target segments, top management should also think carefully about the cost of food materials and other auxiliary costs to ensure a certain percentage of profit can be achieved.
Supply of food materials
Managers should ensure the stable supply of food materials when planning the menu. Special attention should be put on food materials which may only be available in certain seasons.
If necessary, these items should be put in the seasonal menu rather than the regular one.
Nutritional values of food items
A balanced diet is important. Nutritional value should be a consideration when planning a menu. Customers preferences for low-fat, high-fibre diets and vegetarian food items, also need to be considered.
Especially fast food restaurants, which are now required to disclose their food ingredients or health value to the public.
Variety and number of choices
Managers should make sure if they have provided enough choices for their target segments. Items in different food categories should be reviewed from customers’ points of view and see if any items should be added or deleted to maintain a good menu balance.
Food hygiene and safety
In order to avoid food poisoning, the restaurants should re-examine the proposed menu and see if any high-risk ingredients can be avoid in the planning stage.
Operation-related factors focus on the restaurant facilities and location.
The operational hours of the menu, (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and the skills and training of the kitchen staff. These are all factors that have to be taken into consideration.
Kitchen size and facilities
Kitchen procedures should be reviewed to ensure the food materials proposed can be handled and stored properly in the existing kitchen setting.
Location has close connection with the target segments of the restaurant. Causal dining restaurants which are located in commercial districts should consider having menu items which are easy to be prepared in order to handle the huge customer flows during the lunch hours. Due to this reason, fast food restaurants and cafés are very common in these districts. Regarding the fine dining restaurants which are also located in commercial districts, fewer changes are made on their menus because of their
target segments and market positioning.
Some restaurants would provide different menus at different time intervals, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea menus.These menus are generally different in their content.
For example, quick and easy to make foods are always provided in breakfast menus.
Skills of kitchen staff
The menu items proposed must be communicated to the kitchen staff.
Make sure if the team has sufficient skills and abilities in preparing the proposed dishes consistently with no difficulty.
Marketing-related factors focus on menu and restaurant design with an emphasis on he style and decor of the facilities and menu layout as well as the target market and comparison to competitors. These factors are explained in detail below.
Cost and price of the food materials
Benchmarking is applicable which provides useful information to restaurants about what other close competitors are now providing to their customers. It is a good source of reference when planning a restaurant menu.
Supply of food materials
Menu items provided should be matched with the decoration of restaurant for its unity.
For example, McDonald’s fast food restaurant, the menu items are limited when compared with other restaurants, The decoration and design are also simple and clear such as simple chairs and tables with plain adornments.
Nutritional values of food items
The design of menu should be attractive and easy to read which can be acted as an effective marketing tool to attract potential customers.
Variety and number of choices
Management should be considerate in offering menus which are written in the same languages as used by the target segments. Restaurants which target for both locals and foreigners should provide menus with corresponding languages
Design a menu according to the following instructions:
Decide on a theme for your restaurant.
Based on your theme and selected target segments, try to design a menu with the following considerations:
What colour will be used?
Will any photos or graphics be added?
What language/languages will be used?
What kinds of menu items will be available?
What types of menu format will be suitable?
Menu pricing is one of the critical factors to the success of a restaurant’s business. It determines how much money the restaurant would make and the perception of how much customers would be willing to pay for dining in the restaurant.
There is no standardized method in pricing the menu but a few approaches are commonly used by practitioners for different purposes.
Basically, the selling prices are marked-up from the cost of goods sold. A food cost percentage is always calculated to represent the difference between the cost and the actual selling price of the menu item as shown below:
Food cost percentage = ------------------------ x 100%
The food cost percentages of restaurants range from 20 to 30%. Some exceptional cases, such as steak and seafood items can have higher food costs. Beverages, usually have lower food cost percentages, meaning a higher profit margin can always be achieved.
Pricing through this approach is not based on the consideration of food production cost but other factors. For example, a fine-dining restaurant which aims at emphasizing its high quality food and beverage services would choose to set the highest prices for its menu items to project a luxury image of the restaurant in order to attract high-end customers.
Some fast food restaurants would also use the subjective approach by pricing some menu items below the market prices (sometimes even lower than cost) to attract customers. This lowest price approach can help in increasing market share and usually works well.
The following table shows the proposed selling prices and food costs of some menu items that would be available in a causal dining restaurant opening soon in next month.Try to complete the following table by calculating the food cost percentage for each item.
Comment about the proposed selling prices of all items. Should any modifications be made based on the information shown in the table?
A menu is anything you use to communicate with your potential customers by showing them what your restaurant has to offer.
There are different types of menus including traditional hand-held menus, elaborately-printed menus, menu boards and even verbal menus.
Not only does a menu play a major role in establishing market position and reaching customer expectations, it is probably the single biggest merchandising and marketing tool you have.
Unfortunately many restaurateurs underestimate the role a menu plays in influencing customers’ selections and miss out on major sales and profit-building opportunities.
Everything that is undertaken in the restaurant and how the establishment is perceived is linked to the food and menu.
The menu in large part, defines the restaurant’s image and elevates or lowers the customers expectations.
First impressions are always important; the menu should complement the business. Some menus are built around the history of the establishment or the local area, the cultural setting, cuisine or theme of the restaurant.
Visit a restaurant or hotel, either in person or through their web site. Look at their menus and identify the areas that are good and not so good.
What can be changed to improve its potential as a promotional tool for marketing the establishment? Comment on the following:
You are planning a dinner party, think of a theme you like and design a menu you feel would be suitable to serve your friends.
Take into account the following aspects of menu design:
Book-folded or a single sheet
Type of card or paper used
Language used and the font size and type
Size of the menu
Knowledge of Food and Beverage Services
The table setting portrays the image of the business and the ambience of the restaurant dining areas. There are 10 steps in the proper procedure of a table setup for one cover.
The steps involved will be covered in this and the following slide.
Cover the table with a tablecloth if it is required by the restaurant. Some restaurants would use table mats to replace tablecloths when setting a table.
Place the side plate to the left side of the table mat. Put the butter knife on the right side of the side plate as shown in the picture with the cutting edge facing left.
Put the show plate at the centre of the table mat. Be reminded that some restaurants have no show plates on a table setup.
Put the main/dinner knife on the right hand side of the show plate as shown in the picture with the cutting edge facing left. And then put the main/dinner fork on the left side of the show plate.
Put the soup spoon on the right side of the dinner knife as shown in the picture.
Place the side/salad knife to the right side of the soup spoon with the cutting edge facing left as shown in the picture.
Place the side or salad fork to the left hand side of the dinner fork.
Put the dessert spoon to the upper side of the show plate with its head facing left. Then, put the dessert fork between the dessert spoon and the side plate with its head facing right.
Place the water glass at the upper right-hand corner of the table mat.
Finally, place the napkin at the centre of the show plate
Depending on the type of service, utensils are placed about one inch from the edge of the table, each one lining up at the base with the one next to it. Napkins can be folded into many different designs and shapes to add a decorative atmosphere to the table.
The attached image shows the placement of items for a table setting and their names.
The glasses should be positioned about an inch from the knives, and in order of use:
white wine, red wine and water goblet/tumbler.
A well-laid table can add atmosphere and ambience to any restaurant.
Tableware, Silverware and Glassware
Tableware includes the dishes, glasses and cutlery used for setting a table, serving food and dining. Tableware, silverware and glassware are designed for functionality but items can have a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. They also offer decorative and elegant ways for restaurants and hotels to serve their best dishes.
Being well equipped is one of the basic steps to running a bar.
As well as having the right tools for the job, your equipment should be of good quality and durable.
The basic types of bar equipment to be familiar with are listed below:
Corkscrew, bartowels, cocktail shaker, ice bucket and tongs, measuring jug, knife and chopping board
Restaurant Design and Layout
Restaurant design can be a crucial part of building a successful brand. The restaurant layout can also affect operational efficiency.The layouts of restaurants can be affected by many factors which include the restaurant theme, styles of services, origins of cuisines, staff-to-guest ratios, layout and size, etc.
The attached image shows a sample floor plan of a restaurant with the different sections, Point Of Sale and side station locations as well as the kitchen and the entrance and exits.
the planning stage of opening a restaurant, the management should carefully think about how many sections would be set up in the site.
Also, how space can be fully utilized to enhance the profitability and operational efficiency of the business.
The layouts of different food and beverage services are very different. For example, bars and cafés generally have small kitchens, restaurants are more spacious when compared with fast food restaurants and cafeterias.
It is quite common that a mid or a large-scaled restaurant would be divided into sections which enable the ease of management and manpower distribution.
The restaurant floor would be divided with waiting staff assigned to the different sections.
Each section would then have a set number of covers, which would require 1 to 3 servers to serve the tables depending on the staff-to-guest ratio as set by the restaurant manager.
The bar is responsible for providing beverage items for all tables in the restaurant. At the same time, there are also some seats provided in the bar area which suitable for two-person parties, those who are alone or waiting for other guests..
Most bars have a store room located at the back of the bar area for keeping beverages and table snacks which can be separated from the central store for easier accessibility by the bartenders.
Point-of-sale (POS) systems are available in most restaurants, for inputting food and beverage orders, they are usually located at or near side stations which are used as temporary storage areas for both clean and used tableware.
Servers of some restaurants are required to perform simple cashiering functions, such as handling credit card payments with the utility provided by the POS.
A receptionist at the front door has an important role in controlling the customer flow and table turnover rate of the restaurant. By separating the dining area into different sections, it enables the receptionist to assign tables evenly for each section so the workload can be fairly shared by all servers.
Atmosphere refers to the overall feel or mood within the restaurant, this is its ambience.
An intimate ambience can be created by low-key lighting reflecting deep shadows, creating feelings of romance, or bright lighting which could convey a cheerful ambience of happiness. The color of the lighting can also affect the restaurant atmosphere.
The music being played in the restaurant can also have an emotional effect on people. Scent is another way to set an appealing ambience of a restaurant; freshly brewed coffee or the aroma of freshly baked bread, are always alluring to customers.
Other factors can also affect the ambience of a restaurant, such as:
The décor of a hotel or restaurant is the style of interior furnishings. For a business in hospitality to survive it needs to measure up to every detail that ensures a comfortable and pleasurable stay for the customers as well as the food and service.
Along with other factors, decoration is an integral part of the hotel and restaurant business. Interiors of many hotels are in line with the particular hotel design concept, and each hotel or restaurant can be decorated individually - conventional, classical or contemporary as the case may be.
A uniform is a set of standard clothing worn by an employee of a hospitality organization while participating in work activities.
The use of uniforms is often an effort in branding and developing a standard image. It also has important effects on the employees required to wear the uniform. To maintain the high standard and ambience of a business, uniforms need to reflect the image and brand identity through their color, freshness and cleanliness.
In some establishments a laundry department will launder the working uniforms for the employees. If this is not the case then laundering can be outsourced.
Sight - the perception of visual space depends on a combination of lighting, decoration and colour.
Touch-the perception of comfort while a customer is sitting in the restaurant including physical contact with table, tableware, seat and floor coverings.
Hearing-the perception of overall noise levels including customers’ conversation, in-house music, kitchen sounds.
Smell-the perception of cooking aromas, effectiveness of ventilation and air pollution in the neighborhood.
Temperature-the perception of air temperature in particular outdoor dining (poolside dining, alfresco dining)
Theme restaurants are those in which the concept of the restaurant takes priority over everything else, influencing the architecture, food, music and overall feel of the restaurant.
They usually emphasize fun and fantasy, glamorizing or romanticizing an activity such as sports, travel, or an era in time (Walker, 2005). The food usually takes a back seat, as these restaurants attract customers solely on the basis of the theme itself. According to Martin Pegler (Pegler,1997), theme restaurants are divided into six categories:
Hollywood and the movies
Sports and sporting events
Time - the good old days
Records, radio, and TV
Travel - trains, planes, and steamships
Ecology and the world
Describe the differences between the ambience of a restaurant and the décor.
Does each have an impact on customer expectations of service and quality?
You are employed as a maitre d’ in a restaurant that can seat 56 customers. Your task is to draw a restaurant plan for the seating for the night. There are:
4 tables for two customers
3 tables for four customers
3 round tables for six customers
3 oblong tables for six customers
Divide the restaurant into three sections with a Station Supervisor for each.
3 Station Waiters in each section
2 Waiters/Waitresses in each section
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