A question I’m often asked is, how to organize restaurant menu items? When you manage a restaurant or even own a restaurant, you probably have a lot of different items on hand at any given time. Some of these may be necessary, some may be less so, and some may not be needed at all. When you’re first starting out in management, you need to establish which items are necessary, and which can go without saying.
To answer this question, let’s look at how to organize restaurant menu items from the most logical viewpoint. Think about the order of the day. What’s the order of things? If you’re serving lunch, you’d want to serve all the hot items first, like chicken, burgers, and salads. This way, when the buffet breaks are over, your customers won’t feel left out. You want them to be able to mingle with others as they’re enjoying their meal.
For dinner, you want to offer your regular menus first, then move on to snacks and desserts. The order doesn’t matter that much. Just remember that the main course is where you make your money. If you don’t offer a good selection of dishes, your guests will leave hungry. When you get right down to it, how to organize restaurant menu items really just comes down to the needs of your customer.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s go over how to organize restaurant menu items from an aesthetic standpoint. An easy way to do this is to have an overall theme with your menu design. Maybe you’ve got a certain style with your tables and chairs. Use that to guide the rest of your design.
Don’t worry too much about making the menu look perfect; just remember that the point is to provide your customers with the food they want, as well as help you make your restaurant seem more appealing. People tend to remember the pleasantries on the menu better than anything else. So make sure you’ve listed those items in order of popularity.
Here’s one more tip on how to organize restaurant menu items: think about how much food your customers will typically need to consume within the duration of the meal. Is your average dinner service at least two hours long? If so, you should have a definite number in mind before you begin your menu planning. Also, think about how many guests you expect to be at your restaurant during each meal. That will help you determine how many dishes you need to prepare and which locations in your restaurant are most often used for dining.
If you don’t have any specific theme for your restaurant menu, then just focus on providing great food. If people order a particular entree and then decide they’d like something else, that’s fine, as well. Just make sure that your menu items reflect what people typically choose when they go to your restaurant. This means listing your entrees according to how often they are requested.
Finally, if you want to know how to organize restaurant menu items correctly, you need to keep in mind how to serve them. What will your diners like best? You’ll want to make sure they can easily find their favorite dishes. If you have a lot of dishes with lots of different food groups, such as chicken, beef, pasta, salad, etc., you’ll want to make sure you keep those dishes separate from each other and out of sight. If you have a bar area, you’ll need to keep the beverage and coffee areas separated from the food selections so that your customers can find something to eat without getting lost. It’s your customers’ food, and it needs to be attractive to them in order for them to keep coming back for more.