A menu is one of the most important items you’ll encounter in a restaurant—it tells customers what they should expect from your establishment and gives them a sense of the kind of business you run based on the items you include, how you present them, and what prices you decide upon using.
There are many components that you should consider when planning a restaurant menu, and it can be difficult to decide on one that both pleases everyone and fits with the atmosphere you want to provide. Paying attention to the right areas, however, can help you create a menu that wins over your customers and keeps your kitchen busy.
If you’re interested in starting a career in the food service industry and want to learn a few helpful tips to create a successful restaurant menu, read on to find out how culinary courses can help.
1. Carefully Consider Your Restaurant’s Location and Environment
It may seem obvious, but the location of your restaurant can influence who walks through your doors, how often, and at what times. It can even affect what items you include on your menu.
Ask yourself about the area—what’s popular with the locals? Are there any restaurants like yours around? How successful are they? If there are a half-dozen pizza restaurants nearby, for example, you may want to add something that makes your menu different from your competitors, such as salad or fresh produce options. Thinking about your surroundings can help you create a menu that is appealing to your local area and best-suited to your ideal regular customers.
2. Don’t Forget to Emphasize Your Menu’s Layout and Appearance
A good menu is more than a simple list of food and beverages. It’s also a tool that influences a customer’s overall dining experience, and it’s important to make sure you’re presenting your restaurant in the right way.
Too many items may be overwhelming for a customer to read, so try to find a good balance when adding food and drinks to your menu. Many people often focus on the lowest-priced items, so you should also avoid listing them in a column, which draws their attention to the price. The general rule of thumb is to focus on quality over quantity, and to keep your menu layout simple and easy to read.
3. Restaurant Management Courses Can Help You Decide on a Theme
A restaurant’s theme is primarily drawn from the type of food it serves—a steakhouse, for instance, would have a different theme than a vegetarian restaurant.
Having an in-depth culinary knowledge can help you make sure the items you feature on a menu pair well together and match with your theme. From sweet and savoury cuisine to baking, butchering and more, restaurant management courses can teach you a variety of cooking methods and techniques that can help you create a theme that speaks to the type of menu and dining experience you want to offer.
4. Use Your Culinary Management Training to Choose a Signature Dish
It can be difficult to create a menu that will be appealing to every customer, which is why many restaurants feature a signature dish or daily special as a way to test how a permanent menu item would be received.
Featuring a signature dish also gives you a chance to showcase your restaurant’s unique style. It should be the star player on your menu that turns customers into regulars, so make sure you choose one that best represents your restaurant.
Culinary training can teach you the proper food preparation techniques you’ll need to create a signature dish, as well as the advanced management skills that can help you bring your menu to life—you can also earn a food safety certificate, which ensures that the menu you offer follows industry regulations.