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Menu Planning

Menu planning is one of the most important managerial activities of food and beverages operations executed by a team comprising the entrepreneur/proprietor, the restaurant manager, and the executive chief. In a large hotel, the general manager and the food and beverage manager will also be members of the team. In welfare catering operations, the head of the institution, the catering manager, and the finance manager will be involved. Menu planning calls for careful thought on many factors that would determine the success of the F & B operation. Menu forms the basis or acts as a guide upon which all other managerial and operational activities of F & B operations rest on. The menu planning team must have thorough knowledge on dishes of various meals and cuisines, food cost of different dishes. Be aware of the time taken for producing those dishes, menu is planned for commercial and welfare catering of new outlets and existing outlets.


Whether it is for new outlets or existing outlets, points related to the following aspects should be considered by the team while planning the menu.


The team should be aware of the restaurant that equal its standard of service in the area where it proposes to commence business or is already operating. It should make an effort to find out the following form its(Potential) competitors, hours of operation , cuisine offered, menu choice available , types of customers ,menu pricing, portion size of the dish, consumer’s opinion on the menu of the competitors and time taken for service.


The policy concern certain aspects discussed below should be taken into account while planning the menu: Return on investment, production process, operations hours, types of operations, style of service, what to serve, type of menu.


The team must analyze the potential target market of customers which will help the team to include dishes accordingly. Needs of business class customers is very different from those of families or college students. Families go to restaurants mainly to celebrate an occasion or when they have no time for cooking. Team should also consider about: Eating habits, the amount they can spend on meal or consider the budget in the case of institutional catering, time available for eating and age group.


The given points to be considered carefully to ensure efficiency of operations: Area available, place of consumption, skill level of staff, equipment available, ingredients available, number of covers, ease of maintaining consistency.


The menu planning team should have a sound knowledge on nutrition and dietetics. It is very essential to have this knowledge, particularly in welfare catering. The caterer should also be competent enough to compile menus for people who are on special diets as per the advice of their doctors. Nutritionally a well-balanced complete menu is required by consumers of all sectors of food service industry.


The government of India and state governments prohibit killing of certain animals and birds that may be served at the table, for example: deer. The menu planning team must comply with the rules and regulations of the government. After planning the menu or identifying dishes in light of the points discussed, the team will compile the menu. Compiling is the process of picking up dishes for various menus of the establishment from the pool of dishes identified. Most caterers, however, view both planning and compiling as similar terms.


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