Restaurant Menu Development - Restaurants 101

Menu Development

The menu's look, layout and ease of read are very important. This is your sales book, weather it is your Lunch, Dinner, Wine, Cocktail or Dessert menu it needs to have a flow and most importantly the staff needs to understand the menus and how to incorporate them all into the dining experience. Too many times owners put what they like and want on their menus.First, it needs to match the concept or at least match the feel of the concept. Obviously if your concept is chef driven, they need to have a part in creating the menu. Most chefs’ have a comfort zone that they like to operate in. I always recommend working with your chef to decide on menu. If they play a roll in the development they are more likely to make the success of it personal. The same holds true for the beverage manager and beverage menus. Remember a large part of your "BRAND"' is built around your menus

Restaurants 101 will also help you design layout and verbiage that the guest can understand the following menus:

  • Lunch, Brunch & Dinner
  • Wine List – Can go any direction you like, mainstream or esoteric
  • Cocktail Menu – specialty list or nightly specials
  • Beer List - Craft/Draft/Local
  • Merchandise menu (if applicable)
  • To-Go
  • Catering
  • Private Dining Room

Depending on concept you might also need a catering menu or a special event menu if you have a private dining room. Also, depending on concept, you might do large venue buyouts that need special menus and have special needs.

The key to having all of these menus is to create an ordering systems that accurately tracks what you are selling. You need to keep your overhead as low as possible to help control theft and waste. We will create a system for you to manage this.

Also, a menu that usually doesn’t get any attention from the owners is the To-Go menu. Usually done by an employee several weeks after opening and thrown on colored paper. That menu needs to speak to people where ever it ends up. Back at the office or at home it needs to be a topic of conversation at some dinner party. That menu to some is the only face of your business that some people will see. Waiting 30 days after you open is ok, unless you know for sure that the menus aren’t changing but it usually does.