Creating a Killer Menu
What to Consider?
There are many considerations to take into account when approaching the creation of a food and beverage menu. The first things to consider and decide are:
What is my brand, and what am I trying to communicate about my brand through food?
What does my ideal customer want to see on the menu?
How can we accomplish these things within our given space and with the level of trained staff we plan to employ?
Well, if you are a burger joint, you probably do not need to distract your attention by starting an Acai product line for take-out.
You also wouldn't need to invest in the equipment and training necessary to offer pizza. These are different disciplines and appeal to different customers.
If this seems obvious to you, then you are already ahead of the game. I have walked into plenty of small-town cafes where they are trying to be everything to everyone in the town. Being a "catch-all" is a demanding role to play and can often confuse your customers and staff.
The Right Customer
Once you have defined your brand and decision-making process, now it's time to look at your target customer. Are you targeting the health and wellness crowd? Going for more edgy and fringe ingredients to get attention? Or are you going for sugary drinks and sweet desserts to appeal to middle schoolers? These are all considerations to be made.
Are You in the Right Location?
Finally, what is achievable for your specific location? If you are starting from scratch and do not already have the equipment, you can start with the menu and then build your equipment list.
Space will also be a consideration. Does your space have a ventilation hood, or are you willing to install one? These factors will help determine if you need to use pre-cooked ingredients or prepare everything from scratch.
How it Comes Together
Staff and payroll also play a key component in developing a menu. If you are planning to have a complicated menu and make everything from scratch, you will have to have more experienced kitchen staff, and they will work more hours a week to pull this feat off. If you are looking to reduce labor and the level of training required, then you may want to stick to pre-cooked, pre-sliced, assembly-only ingredients to create ease in production and delivery of your daily orders. All these factors play a significant role in how you choose to create your menu and what ingredients you select. Some companies will go so far as to opt-out of slicing their own cold cuts as the workers' compensation threat of an employee cutting themselves would be more costly than the savings gained by doing it themselves.
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There are many considerations to take into account when approaching the creation of a food and beverage menu.