How to Plan a Restaurant Menu

dirt-candy07.w750.h560.2x.jpg Your menu is one of the most important aspects of your restaurant.

"It will determine how many people you need in the kitchen to produce the food. It will determine many of your price points. It will determine how your business performs from the point of view of check average. How much is each person going to spend when they eat at your restaurant?"

Your menu has to also correspond with your restaurant's concept. You need to make sure that each dish is in line with what you want the experience to be like for your guests.

Another important detail you have to consider is the number of options you will have on your menu. You need to figure out whether you plan on having an a la carte or prix fixe model and how you plan on setting up the menu to reflect that decision.

Many of these details depend on the type of restaurant you plan on opening and what type of experience you are going to provide for your guests. It's important to think about these things from your guest's perspective. What is their reaction going to be when they look at your menu for the first time?

"Are they going to say "Ooh, I want that!" or are they going to be overwhelmed by too many choices? Does the menu make them feel comfortable? Does it make them feel excited? Does it make them feel bored? Does it make them feel overwhelmed? How does the guest feel about the menu and the items on it?"

Guests can tell a lot about a restaurant from the menu details. If you provide seasonal ingredients and/or locally sourced produce, make sure to mention that.

Menus should also not be set in stone. Everything from the changing of the seasons to the availability of specific ingredients will affect your menu. You have to consider what people will feel like eating at different times of the year.

However, be aware that this is a balancing act. As your restaurant develops a following, people will learn to associate your restaurant with a signature dish. You'll have to find a way to keep the crowd pleasers on the menu while exploring other options.

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