What is Menu Planning in Food Service?

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What is Menu Planning in Food Service?
Menu planning in food service means planning a menu for the restaurant, or a food service establishment. A menu is a detailed list of options offered to the customer when they come to eat or drink at the restaurant or bar. They offer a wide variety of choices, and are priced differently based on the ingredients used, time taken to cook the dishes, or the season and availability of ingredients used. Menus can be different based on the meals of the day, such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Menu planning in food service helps the chef take charge of the kitchen, keep a tab on available ingredients, and help the restaurant make a profit.
Menu planning in food service helps the head chef take charge of the kitchen and keep a tab on the available ingredients.
Menu planning in food service helps the head chef take charge of the kitchen and keep a tab on the available ingredients.
Generally, a food menu, beverage menu, and drinks menu or bar menu can be found in the restaurant. A typical rule of thumb is to keep the list in a menu under 30, so as to be able to manage it well. Other than that, there are static menus that never change, and which the customers use to select what they have always liked or wanted. A daily (or single-use) menu has a very short length, and is usually changed on a daily basis. Cycle menus run for a specific length of time only, and are more popular in non-commercial food services, such as hospitals, schools, institutes, universities, etc.
A well-planned menu helps earn money, and save both money and time. If the ingredients are planned and shopped well, the restaurant also saves on storage space, not to mention the accolades and loyalty of its returning customers.
While planning a menu, the name of the food item, followed by a short description of how it’s prepared, the scale of hotness, its replacements or variants, and finally a price is given for the convenience of the customer. It is important to plan the restaurant menu well, as it is directly related to the profit margin of the restaurant business.
Menu Planning Considerations
As the name suggests, a menu requires some planning. There are a lot of factors that come into play when planning a menu. These are:
• Kind and quantity of meals: Menus will change based on the kind and number of meals planned. For example, if the family wishes to have an Italian whole pasta meal, the planning, ingredients, and shopping list will be different from what it would be if the desired meal were a continental steak and grilled vegetables on the side. The menu planning is also influenced by the number of meals. For example, if the family is available for dinner at home only four nights instead of the usual seven, then the grocery shopping lists and ingredients will change.
•Time required to prepare the meals: Menus also change based on the time required to make the meals. For example, on a day when a slow cooker recipe is chosen, more time is required than when a quick and easy fresh green salad and lentil soup are prepared. Also, packed meals always take lesser time to prepare than sit-at-home dinners and lunches.
• Budget: How much is budgeted for grocery shopping makes an impact on what kind of recipes are selected, and hence what corresponding groceries are bought for meal preparation. For example, if a budget-friendly breakfast has to be planned, then it’s a good idea to choose a banana milkshake or banana smoothie, over a strawberry milkshake or smoothie, as bananas are cheaper and way more nutritious than strawberries. Also, plain yogurts can be chosen over flavored yogurts to save money, and still have a nutritious breakfast.
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