Menu planning in f & b service is one of the most important managerial activities executed by a team comprising the entrepreneur.
In French, the menu means ‘in minute detail‘ and in English, it is also termed as ‘bill of fare‘
Every sector of the food and beverage industry, whether operating for commercial or welfare purposes, large or small, uses a menu.
It not only informs the guests what the available dishes are but also helps the operator know what he/she is going to prepare. The menu is the basis upon which all managerial and operational activities of the food and beverage operation depend.
What is the menu?
A menu is a list of foods and beverages that can be served to a guest at a price. It helps the guests select what they would like to eat or drink.
Types of menu
There are two types of menus are there:
- A-la-carte menu
- Table-d-hote menu
1. A-la-carte menu
An a-la-carte menu is a multiple-choice menu with each dish priced separately. In this menu, food items are separately charge in order to serve accordingly as per the choice of the guest.
2. Table-d-hote menu
A table-d-hote menu is a fixed menu with a limited choice of foods that are charged at a fixed price. In this menu, the entire meal is charged, whether the guest has completed a meal or not. This menu also called Prefix (fixed price)
The function of the menu in the F&B service
Menu planning in the restaurant for the basis for the operation
The menu forms the basis for all activities that are carried out in the restaurant and in the food and beverage department as a whole.
Menu forms the basis of Activities
- equipment purchases
- staff recruitment
- production processes
- organizing service areas
- interior design,
- cooking methods
- service procedure
In the absence of a menu, the management will not know what cooking and service equipment to buy or what food to prepare and sell on a regular basis.
Menu planning in the restaurant for Communication
The menu communicates to the guests:
- The dishes available for sale
- The price of dishes
- Short descriptions of each item
- Whether the dishes are spicy or non-spicy
- Whether the dishes are vegetarian or non-vegetarian
- The tax percentage of dishes
- Waiting time for each dish
From the menu card, a guest gets to know what he/she can order, how long he/she may have to wait to get his/her order, and what the bill will be at the end of the meal.
Menu planning for an effective sales tool
The menu is primarily a sales tool. In fast food outlets and casual dining restaurants, they are presented attractively in bright colors on display boards with pictures that motivate people to buy.
Menu card describes dishes in an appetizing way, making it easy for customers to select dishes,
help locate dishes they are looking for by printing pictures, promote ‘chef’s special’ dishes,
and happy hours. and so on.
Menu planning for image builder
The font style, design, color, quality of the card, and variety of dishes on offer. presentation style, and so on. Speak about the profile of the restaurant.
One can assess the quality of the staff in production and service areas, the kind of equipment used, the infrastructure of the restaurant, customer profile. and so on, by going through the menu.
A guest going through an extensive continental menu offering dishes from each course and dishes that are carved and flambeed on the gueridon will be able to assess the infrastructure in use and the quality of staff employed in the kitchen and the restaurant.
A menu can be presented in many ways:
- By displaying it on boards
- Laminating the card
- Presenting it in a leather jacket
- Printing it on a cloth
According to the management’s decision. A menu undoubtedly portrays the image of the restaurant.
Guests should be tempted to go through the menu card by its very presentation style. Dirty or torn menu cards with stickers of corrected price damage the image of the restaurant.