November 28, 2022
7 Tips for Opening a Second Restaurant Location
Imagine this scenario: the business at your restaurant is going great. Everyone on staff is satisfied, regulars are returning, and business is booming. Opening a second restaurant location might start sounding like a good idea when business is this good. However, creating a second, third, or twenty-first restaurant is never simple. It needs careful preparation to execute without any excessive discomfort.
Don’t be daunted if you want to expand your company’s reach but aren’t sure how to do so because we’ve consulted the pros. Everything you need to know to run a chain of profitable restaurants, from when you open the first one until long after the last one closes its doors, is right here.
Opening a Second Restaurant Location? Here’s how to make it Simple and Smooth.
Opening a second restaurant location is a significant decision. You shouldn’t be hasty just now. Even if your first restaurant is a massive hit with the public, that doesn’t mean you’ll have the same level of success with your second.
Success is possible if you approach it with the same planning and hard work as you did when launching your first one. Getting top-notch gear for chefs and finding the right staff to hire is just scratching the surface. So here are the most important things to keep in mind if you consider expanding your restaurant business.
1. Know if You’re Ready for Expansion
When things get rough, it’s easy to notice that it’s time to make some changes. Perhaps a few simple tweaks are enough, or there are even reasons to move a restaurant to make it work. However, when it comes to expanding your business, things are not as simple.
So before you even start considering opening a new place, you need to be sure you’re ready for this step. There is no foolproof method of determining if your business is prepared to expand into a second location. But an excellent way to determine if this is the case is to answer the following questions:
- Do you have so much going on that you simply cannot deal with the influx of people?
- Do you get customers that make the trek from faraway cities to dine at your establishment?
- Is there enough funding for this kind of venture?
- Can you expect a financial boost if you launch a second restaurant?
- Do you have the dedication and energy to put in the time?
- Do you have reliable, trustworthy leaders who can take on extra responsibilities in order to free you up for the new venture?
If you’ve responded yes to every one of these questions, congrats are in order. The time has come for you to launch a second eatery.
2. Finalize your Funding
Without initial funding, your new business venture will remain just an idea. Do you plan to use personal savings to launch, or will you seek company loans? Also, your current restaurant must be financially stable. When you have stabilized your existing business’s finances, you may begin thinking about how to best finance your next adventure.
You may need to apply for a business loan to get your new firm off the ground. Taking out a loan is a typical tactic, but it requires careful planning and analysis. Business loans could be the correct choice if you don’t mind spending thousands of dollars in interest to launch your company faster.
3. Focus on Finding the Right Location
It’s likely that if you’re thinking of launching a second restaurant, you’ve already found the perfect spot for your first. The stakes are high when looking for a place to plant your new business’s roots, but with enough planning, you should be able to discover the ideal location.
When deciding where to open your new restaurant, keep the following in mind:
- Select a site that is sufficiently removed from your current eatery to avoid competition with yourself.
- You should research the local food scene to ensure that your restaurant concept will be well received.
- Research the demographics of a potential new neighborhood and spend some time there to get to know the locals.
- Avoid immediately developing an emotional investment in a new place.
- Consider how easy or how hard it is to get to the location.
- Is there adequate parking for your customers?
4. Create a Detailed Business Plan
As you’re not a complete novice in the restaurant business, you already understand the need to have a well-thought-out business plan before opening your doors. Simplify your life by sticking to a routine that already works. If you were successful the first time, you might be again.
System duplication might help you keep track of your expanding business. For instance, if both of your restaurants utilize the same payroll software, point-of-sale system, point-of-sale terminals, computer software, and website platform, you’ll be able to run everything more smoothly. Or, given the importance of a menu design, why not copy it to your new location if the first one worked well?
5. Develop a Great Marketing Strategy
It is difficult enough to promote a single restaurant, let alone several. As you craft your marketing strategy, your new restaurant’s target demographic should be front and center. You probably picked up a wealth of knowledge on how to advertise to the locals throughout your demographics study phase of site selection. Therefore, if you want your message to have a possible impact, you must use this data.
However, don’t make mistakes and rush into promoting your new location on social media. Instead, plan for how you’ll do so in a way that will attract and keep customers.
6. Leverage your Staff
It goes without saying that when it comes to the success of your first restaurant, you owe a lot to the formidable team you’ve put together. Now you need a plan to make sure your new hires are just as fantastic.
However, the first thing to do is to assess the current team to see who can take on more responsibility. Promoting from within is one of the finest ways to assist your employees in developing professionally and bringing in new hires who can learn from the best.
It’s highly recommended that you use your present personnel as trainers for your new hires to provide a uniform experience for your customers in your establishments. For your first company, setting out a training manual and an employee handbook as soon as possible is essential. These will serve as examples of acceptable workplace behavior and hold workers accountable for their behaviors.
7. Acquire Tools, Materials, and Stock
Lastly, it’s time to purchase equipment, supplies, and inventory. First, gather an accurate count of the tools and resources you and your staff rely on to deliver a seamless experience to your customers day in and day out. It will give you a good picture of what you’ll need at your new place.
Here are just some of the tips to help you with this aspect:
- It’s essential to ensure your new appliances will fit in the designated area by taking the appropriate measurements.
- You need to consider the available area before making any furniture purchases.
- Obtain the necessary permits and ensure that your restaurant complies with local zoning laws.
- Use the same equipment, as it will be easier for your present workers to educate your new hires.
Good luck opening a second restaurant location
On top of everything we’ve listed, there is a lot more to consider, but we hope our article was enough to give you a rough idea of where to start. Opening a second restaurant location will be a breeze if you take your time to plan everything in detail and avoid doing anything in a rush. We wish you the best of luck!
December 6, 2022
Cork and Pork: The Perfect Wine Pairing for All Kinds of Meat
Great food and drink are a match made in heaven. But understanding the complexities of flavor combination is much harder than it looks. Beverages are paired with meat for their delicately nuanced levels of sweetness, acidity, and subtle notes of flavor and fragrance.
To make the most of any meal, you need to pair it with the right beverage. With a glass of wine that perfectly complements a dish’s flavor profile, any meal can go from ordinary to extraordinary. Like magic, the acidity, sweetness, dryness, or richness alchemizes to produce something truly delicious and memorable.
But pairing the right meat with the right wine is not as simple as many people think. It takes know-how, experience, and a little bit of practice to get it right. To get you started, we’ve paired the most popular meats with their ideal beverages so you can plate a truly extraordinary meal:
Red Meat Wine Pairings
A staple in almost every restaurant that caters to carnivores, red meat’s rich and often gamey profile is typically best paired with a robust drink that holds its own.
Due to its depth of flavor and relatively high fat content, beef is best paired with earthy, brawny red wines that can contend with the richness of this meat. Especially so in the case of a fattier prime cut or richly marbled wagyu. Due to their bold, smoky overtones, tannin-rich vintage wines such as Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah are some of the best pairings for beef, whether it’s done on the BBQ, in a pan, or reverse seared in the oven. Avoid drinks that are too sweet or fruity, as they may overpower the flavor of the meat.
Similar to beef, as it’s relatively high in fat, lamb is best paired with darker red wines. A Shiraz, Chianti, Pinot Noir, or even a Bordeaux blend would make excellent companions to a succulent lamb dish. If the meal isn’t too heavy, you can also pair lamb with a full-bodied white Chardonnay.
Despite its lighter color when cooked, pork is classified as red meat, as it has a higher myoglobin content than chicken or fish. However, aside from pork belly and bacon, pork is lower in fat than beef or lamb, and chefs often marinate the meat to ensure it doesn’t dry out when cooking.
Juicy red wine and pork is a classic combo, with sweeter, plummy varieties like Syrah and Pinot Noir being frequent favorites. However, if the pork is particularly rich, pairing it with a lively white can be equally delicious. Think juicy Chenin Blanc, Riesling, or even a fruity Rosé.
Poultry Wine Pairings
Poultry meat is mostly white, soft, and low in fat. This makes it an ideal companion for daintier drinks that can match the level of lightness.
A tender piece of chicken pairs excellently with woody white wines such as Chardonnay, Viognier, and Sauvignon Blanc. All of them have common ground: zesty, floral notes and a light, bright finish on the palate. Any mild white wine that’s matured in oak is typically a good companion to white and brown chicken meat.
Due to its similarity to chicken, turkey also pairs well with oaky white wines such as Chardonnay and Riesling. However, you wouldn’t go amiss with a low-tannin red wine like Pinot Noir, or even a chilled Rosé if you’re serving some of the darker meat of the bird.
What separates duck from other poultry is its fat content. This makes for a richer, more indulgent meat that can handle the intensity of certain red wines while still complementing a fresh white.
Tuscan reds like Chianti, Marcillac, and Barolo are all robust enough to pair perfectly with roasted duck without overpowering it. Deeper reds like Merlot and Pinot Noir can harmonize with the rich sweetness of duck, while late harvest Riesling makes a great white option.
Seafood Wine Pairings
When people think of pairing wine with seafood, their minds usually go straight to light whites. But while the fresh, citrusy, and sometimes floral notes of white wine do make excellent partners to fish, the options aren’t quite as limited as you’d think.
There are too many species of fish in the sea to make a wine listing for each, but we can go through some of the most popular choices that have greater availability. Light, flaky fish like hake, cod, or sea bass are best paired with similarly light and refreshing wines such as Muscadet, Sauvignon Blanc, and Champagne.
Fatty, dense fishes like tuna, mackerel, and salmon bring a lot of flavor and richness to the table, which allows them to pair well with bolder beverages. Dry Rosé, Pinot Noir, and White Rioja are all popular choices.
Sea-floor dwellers like lobster, crab, prawns, and shrimp all fall into the crustacean category. With distinctive, powerful oceanic flavors and light, sweet flesh, crustaceans require the balance of weighty white wines to do themselves justice.
Viognier, Marsanne, Pinot Gris, and Italian Vermentino are all full-bodied enough to match the deep-sea flavors of this meat without overpowering its delicate texture.
The mollusks or shellfish category includes iconic seafood delicacies, such as oysters, scallops, and clams. These expensive meats are soft, buttery, and very delicate in flavor, so the wines they’re paired with must have similar soft characteristics.
Light, citrusy white wines like Champagne, Muscadet, and Sauvignon Blanc make excellent friends with oysters and scallops, while clams are best matched with dry Rosé or high-acidity Riesling.
Perfecting the Art of Pairing
Chefs around the world have been developing the skill of food and wine pairing for thousands of years. These days, you’ll also find food pairings with beer, gin and other beverages, yet wine remains the most popular. There are so many different wines to try that pairing possibilities remain seemingly endless.
There may be some rules around which drinks pair best with which meats. But at the end of the day, flavor combination is a personal preference. These recommendations are based on food science—acidity, sugar levels, tannins, and so on—however, they aren’t unbreakable laws.
That said, following this guide for meat and wine pairing is a great place to start if you’re unsure about what your guests might like best. When in doubt, taste and taste again!
November 29, 2022
5 Tips for Creating a Flourishing Food Business
Standing out in the food business world is no easy feat. The competition is fierce, and entrepreneurship leads innovation in its droves. Therefore, if you are hoping to break into this niche, it is vital to have a steady hand and a resilient mindset. Running a business is so much more than the admin. These five tips will help any food business owner flourish in their own way.
Striving to Learn is a Strength
People constantly underestimate the power of knowledge. Finding acceptance in learning new things sparks and grows creativity, advancement, and credibility. For the food business, there is always a new trend to take note of, interesting ingredient mashups to experiment with and industry standards to maintain. Therefore, if you do not open your mind up to develop what you know, there is a risk of falling behind rather quickly. Here are some top tips for learning while you carve out your business:
- Attend seminars from food service experts
- Network with foodies and business owners around the country
- Save a day for experiments, practicing, and perfecting your craft
- Never assume that you know everything because there is always something new to absorb
- Follow chefs and food industry accounts on Instagram
Cover Your Back
Any business owner understands the importance of covering your back. You gain not only financial protection, but a general peace of mind regarding your investment too. These reasons alone make general liability for your food business just one of those essential things. Take your time researching providers and communicate with potential policies about suitability before you commit.
Keep a Watchful Eye
What’s trending in the food industry? If you don’t know, it is definitely time to find out. Use social media to stay up to date with the recent revelations as it is an invaluable tool for a savvy food business owner looking to stay relevant. Veganism and vegetarian food, for example, have gained a lot of traction in recent years and not just for the health benefits but sustainability factors too.
Find a Niche
Your niche is what will define you. To stand out from the crowd, you have to strive for individualism. Figure out where you excel and use that as an advantage to drive the business forward. Success in the food industry is calculated on more than just how the food tastes and looks. It is also about what the product delivers to the consumers that rises above all the competitors.
Focus on Customer Relationships
A business owner in any market has to establish meaningful relationships with their customers. Without them, you won’t make any money. Find space to engage with loyal customers and entice those on the fence by delivering excellent marketing strategies.
- Use social media for ad campaigns and highlighting promotions
- Offer loyalty schemes and discounts for new people through the door
- Get your brand in top shape and make it recognizable
Creating a flourishing food business demands a multi-faceted strategy. You have to hit targets across all fronts and create an arena that your clients want to come back to. Let your personality show in what you have to offer and look out for change.
Yay or Nay: What Can You Cook in a Carbon Steel Pan?
One of the most significant reasons for professional and home chefs’ preference for carbon steel cookware is its versatility. It can be used in a stove or on top of an open flame, on an induction burner, under a boiler and also in a pizza oven, and many more. The most important step when using carbon steel cookware is to properly season it to build up the non-stick coating which occurs during seasoning.
Which Foods Can You Cook in Your Carbon Steel Pan?
You can cook many things in a carbon steel pan, such as perfect rice, hundreds of Chinese wok recipes, or a nice crust on a pizza. After it is properly seasoned you can also cook more delicate items such as fish, eggs, or even pancakes. But it is important to remember that acidic ingredients can cause trouble for your carbon steel pan. If you want to add tomatoes, that is all right. But if you want to add vinegar or citrus-based sauces to your dish, carbon steel pans are not ideal because acidic foods negatively affect the pan’s seasoning.
There are a variety of carbon steel pans to choose from including a professional flat bottom carbon steel wok, round bottom woks, and French carbon steel pans to name a few. But all of them need to be seasoned.
There are many reasons to season your carbon steel pan for cooking purposes:
- Due to moisture and humidity, a carbon steel pan will rust, but a properly seasoned pan will be protected from rusting.
- Seasoning protects your pan from rusting by consistently providing a water barrier.
- It also enhances the performance of the pan and gives it a non-stick surface that you can only find in Teflon-type coatings in the modern world.
When your carbon steel pan is seasoned correctly, you can cook pancakes, eggs, crepes, and even traditional recipes like omelets.
Sometimes you will see while cleaning your pan that burned food residues won’t come off, and due to half-oxidized particles of oil, uneven bumps appear on the pan. To remove these hard particles, follow these steps:
- Add a thin layer of salt to the pan and heat it.
- Then scrub it with a wooden spatula or paper towel. The salt helps to clean all the lingering particles and food residue.
- After that, wash the pan with warm water to remove the salt.
- Then dry it with paper towels.
- Heat the pan briefly over an open burner to evaporate any water residue.
- Lastly, add a thin layer of oil to your pan and rub it gently.
5 Steps You Need to Remember
- Your carbon steel pan comes with a coating of beeswax. Before using the pan, you have to remove it using hot water, a little soap, and a paper towel.
- You need to follow the steps to season the pan.
- Set the temperature gradually in the oven as this material heats up fast.
- Follow the acidic rules that are similarly applicable to cast iron pans.
- Only hand-wash since the dishwasher can remove the seasoning.
How to Start the Cooking Process?
Here are a few rules one needs to follow for the best outcome in your cooking experience:
First, Try to Avoid the Preparation of Delicate Food
Your carbon steel pan takes some time to properly build up its non-stick pattern to function as a versatile cookware. So, it is very important at first to avoid cooking delicate dishes like fish or eggs since you will not be able to cook them properly, and the products will stick to the surface.
Start with fatty proteins, such as steak or bacon. Once you know that the coating on your carbon steel pan’s surface is made, then you can begin your experimentation with more delicate foods and you will not be disappointed.
Always Preheat Your Pan
Before starting the cooking process, you need to make sure that your ingredients are kept at room temperature for almost half an hour because cooking with fridge-cold ingredients can increase the probability of thermal shock which is not at all good for your new pan.
Always preheat your pan for two to three minutes at a medium to low temperature and after the pan has gotten gradually hot, add butter or oil.
Have a Look at the Heat
One of the best features that carbon steel pans have is that they can take temperatures up to 1,200 degrees F. If you do some high-heat cooking, you can utilize this characteristic of these pans. But carbon steel pans heat up quickly and may not require these extremely high temperatures. Many experts recommend that cooking over medium heat is the best as it helps avoid burned food and can yield the most crispy proteins.
After You’ve Done the Cooking, Clean up the Pan
Though it is not directly linked to cooking, you also need to consider proper cleaning as an important factor. Cleaning your carbon steel cookware properly will maintain its seasoned surface and durability long into the future.
Do You Worry About the Safety of Your Carbon Steel Pan?
Carbon steel cookware is not a new thing, but in recent years it has gained so much popularity among professional chefs, and more than ever, it is becoming popular among home cooks. It functions similarly to a non-stick pan, but it doesn’t have that Teflon non-stick layer that some people are concerned with.
As the main components of this pan are iron and carbon, you need not be worried about its safety because these are not harmful chemicals that can cause health issues. So, you can cook good, nutritious food any time.
If you want to learn more about what you can cook in a carbon steel pan and find some recipes regarding this, visit Yosukata professional flat bottom carbon steel wok, where you can get all the details about carbon steel woks and pans.
November 11, 2022
How Restaurant Owners Can Make the Most of Enterprise Asset Management
As a restaurant manager, you’re tasked with making your venture as profitable as possible. It’s a tough task in such a risky and low-margin business, but it can be done. A lot of your success will hinge on how well you manage the assets in your restaurant. That’s why a lot of restaurant managers have started using Enterprise Asset Management to help them stay on top of their assets and get the most out of them. These systems are a good way to help you avoid certain risks, stay on top of asset life cycles and warranties, and minimize those operating costs. Here’s how you can use enterprise asset management in your business.
What Is Enterprise Asset Management?
Firstly, what is an enterprise asset management system? Also known as an EAM, it’s a system that allows you to keep track of all the assets in your business. In a restaurant, that’s a lot of different assets. It includes everything from food & beverage inventory to the cooking equipment to the tables and chairs in the front of the house.
You’ll typically use an EAM through a dedicated software system, and this is what will help you track what assets you have, who’s using them, who to call for servicing/repairs, and when they need to be maintained or replaced. With all that data at hand, you’ll be able to predict any future expenditures, and when you’ll need to make those maintenance checks.
An EAM can also track perishable assets (food inventory is considered an asset), so you’ll know what’s going in and out of your kitchen. As such, a good EAM will help you track every single asset you have, and ensure that there’s seldom ever downtime thanks to breakdowns, issues with supply, and so on. There are a lot of options for EAM system so take your time to evaluate which one works best for your needs.
Key Features of an EAM System
There are several different features of an EAM that will give you what you need for asset management:
- Work management: Maintenance is key to keeping everything running smoothly in your restaurant. That of course means maintaining all your kitchen equipment, but you’ll also need to manage every other asset in your business. For example, you’ll need a functioning HVAC and ANSUL system, so keeping on top of the maintenance for them is crucial. An EAM will help you track when maintenance is needed, and book inspections and repair work before anything breaks down.
- Inventory management: To book and get that maintenance done, you’ll need to know which items need maintenance right now. You can use barcodes, RFID, and other tools to track the location of each asset, who’s using it, and its condition. You’ll then be able to get maintenance done before a full breakdown.
- Supply chain management: Using an EAM will help you stay on top of your supply chain. You can use it to help you secure parts, perishable assets and more, so you’ll always be prepared.
- Shelf life management: The perishable items in your restaurant are going to have a limited shelf life, and with an EAM system it’s easier to ensure all those assets are used before they expire. You can use the system to effectively use the First In, First Out (FIFO) method, so you’ll minimize food waste.
- Analytics: As you’re using an EAM, you’ll have access to a lot of data about your restaurant’s assets. That enables you to make more informed decisions about your asset management and improve efficiency as a result.
The Benefits of Using an EAM
You have already read plenty of the advantages of using an EAM in your business. Here are some more benefits that you’ll be able to reap:
- Get the most out of assets
- Use the FIFO method
- Comply with safety regulations
- Offer better customer experience
- Prevent some future issues
The Future and Potential Challenges of EAM
The restaurant business has changed a lot in recent years, largely thanks to COVID-19. As such, there is a need for businesses to change too in order to survive.
Having an EAM helps you manage a restaurant and lower your labor costs, taking pressure off the staff you have. Many businesses have already benefited from it.
There are several trends that are rising alongside EAM. The Internet of Things helps with tracking data on each asset, and augmented reality can present info on any asset for remote experts. Because of these benefits, we’re going to see more changes as time goes on.
EAMs are making restaurant management that little bit easier, thanks to the fact they offer a simpler way of managing assets. Everything is in one place for you, and you can take action on assets before breakdowns or shortages occur. You can understand why a lot of restaurant managers are already using them.
Author Bio: Jenny Han is a writer for Cheap Case Study, and Law Essay Help. She covers the restaurant industry and management. She’s also a contributor to Essay For Sale.
November 9, 2022
meez – Stop Playing Guessing Games and Start Costing Recipes Accurately
From spreadsheets and word docs, to ERP software and scrappy back of napkin math, every food and beverage business does recipe costing differently.
However, the common thread between them all is inefficiency.
There simply hasn’t been an easy way to control a restaurant’s bottom line without compromising something else, whether it’s time, energy or creativity. This was true even before kitchen staples like poultry and eggs faced historic price hikes.
So what is a chef or restaurant operator to do? Read on to learn how to cost recipes faster and more accurately—that’s what. Plus, you’ll get the low down on meez, the professional recipe tool that calculates recipe and ingredient costs for you.
What is recipe costing and why is it important?
Recipe costing is the process of determining what all the ingredients on a plate actually cost you. By properly keeping tabs on all recipe costs, you are able to get a better picture of overall business costs and optimize spending for profitability.
The last thing you want is for the true cost of your ingredients to be eating into your profit margin. At the same time, you don’t want to price dishes so high that no one will want to order them. Or, spend hours costing every new dish down to the penny.
To help you cost recipes more accurately, we asked our culinary team at meez what you should factor in. Below is a consolidation of tips they’ve learned firsthand working in professional kitchens.
1. Always Bake In Your Yields
To figure out the true cost of a menu item, first you must account for shrinkage, waste, trim, and any fabrication (prep actions) done to an ingredient. It’s rare that it will always have a 100% yield.
For example, your invoice might say it costs you $1.24/lb for an onion. But after peeling and slicing it, 15% ends up in the compost or garbage. Your final yield percentage could be 85%, which means the sliced onion that goes into the recipe actually costs you $1.45/lb.
To cost your recipe accurately, make sure you always account for loss due to prep actions. Otherwise, your recipe might end up being way more expensive than you thought.
How meez helps:
meez has yield % built into prep actions for over 800 ingredients. The tool has a fundamental understanding of what peeling, dicing, slicing, and other prep actions do to an ingredient and will automatically change how ingredient costs are calculated.
2. Have Proper Unit Conversions
How you buy a product is not the same as how you cook it. If you don’t record ingredient quantities in measurable units, you will not know how much actually goes into a recipe. It might sound obvious, but most measurements need to be weight or volume-based like grams, cups and milliliters unless you buy them by the piece like an edible flower.
Stay away from variable measurements like a “case of chicken bones” unless you define what this means. Your go-to vendor could easily change things up. If you just say “one case of chicken bones” is needed for a stock recipe, one week that could mean 30-lbs of bones and the next it could be 45-lbs depending on who you are ordering from.
In this scenario, you’ll never know the true cost of the dish because the ingredient quantities could change from one batch to the next.
How meez helps:
With meez, you can create custom units of measure to define vague ingredient measurements. For example, if you buy a “block” of cream cheese, you can create a custom unit of measure called “block=8-oz” that equals 8-ounces. With this customization, even if you scale up or down a recipe, ingredient costs are calculated accurately.
3. Be Specific About Your Process
If you want to cost your recipes accurately, you need to write down your prep actions in the recipe itself. Instead of just saying ¼ a cup of purple carrots, you want to say sliced purple carrot, diced purple carrot or whatever else impacts your yield percentage.
To save yourself even more time, consider measuring and capturing yields during your recipe R&D process. It will be easier to experiment and change ingredient quantities that match up with your food costing goals this way.
How meez helps:
Because meez’s food cost calculator is connected directly to the recipe, if you make updates to the quantity of an ingredient during R&D, the change will be reflected automatically in the total cost. This feature can help you understand how your food cost % changes as you adjust a dish’s ingredients or sell price.
In the restaurant world, costing a recipe doesn’t mean simply tacking on a couple dollars after pricing protein to account for vegetables and starch. Or, just keeping track of your inventory and calling it a day. Every time you have a new invoice, you should look at costs and make adjustments.
If food costs aren’t being tracked properly, your food cost percentage will be off. This means your menu prices will be off too. If your star salmon dish is underprice by $0.25 on the menu, this can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue per year. And that’s for just one dish alone.
To get total visibility into your recipe and ingredient costs, without doing all the math yourself, your best bet is to work with meez. Our professional recipe tool addresses all the unique challenges of food costing mentioned above.
With meez, you can know the true cost of a recipe by:
- Accounting for yield loss from prep actions
- Creating custom units of measurement
- Experiencing simple purchase item importing
- Calculating food cost percentage and plate profit
- And much more!
Want to take full ownership of your recipe and ingredient costs? Sign up for a FREE meez account or book a demo today.
November 1, 2022
The Importance of Menu Design
Everyone has experienced frustration with a menu at some point. Picture it: you get seated and handed a menu several pages long, with unclear descriptions and distracting fluff. Or maybe the menu is so short and vague that you can’t figure out what the kitchen is actually serving you or even what kind of restaurant you’re in. Good menu design can help your guests avoid this frustration and make it easy for them to kick back and enjoy the experience. If you want to design your menu like a pro, settle in for a crash course in great menu design.
Benefits of Good Menu Design
Ideally, a good menu design should be attractive, approachable, and something that doesn’t require your guests to think about. Ordering off a menu should be as easy as possible. Think of it like breathing; no thought goes into taking breaths. Reading your menu should be the same, and by making it a breeze to move through the menu, you can also build a few extra benefits for your restaurant.
Your Food Can Sell Itself
Quality menu design makes your food jump off the page and into the minds of your diners. There are two popular approaches here: minimalism and description.
Minimalism is a trend that has grown in popularity over the past several years, with menu items typically including a dish’s title (often simply the featured ingredient) and a short list of ingredients to accompany it.
The minimalist approach brings with it a mystique that is useful in selling your food. Guests will be intrigued by how elements are combined, and this will provide your service staff the chance to speak about the items in more detail. Most of the time, this is highly effective in convincing guests to try out new dishes.
The description approach is the opposite of the minimalist, with the details laid out lovingly underneath each dish’s name. While this cuts out the middleman work your server might be doing, it can also have some drawbacks. Highlighted ingredients might get lost in the lengthier description, where a server might be able to focus more adequately on that. Additionally, technical jargon about cooking might not land with your guests – even some terms that restaurant folks find a little rote might go over the heads of your diners.
If you use the description approach to menu writing, just be careful not to get too wordy. “Grilled 14 oz center-cut New York steak with garlic roasted red potatoes” is good. But “Try our fabulous, world-famous char-grilled center-cut genuine 14 oz New York Strip steak served with golden brown oven-roasted red potatoes laced with tenderly sauteed garlic” is overkill and makes the item hard to decipher.
Make Your Guests Feel At Home
One of the key advantages of a well-designed menu is the way it subtly creates a sense of comfort. The experience of dining in a restaurant is often intended to stimulate multiple senses; the lighting, aesthetics, music, scents, and so on can captivate the mind, but they can also prove a little overwhelming. But an easy-to-navigate menu can serve as something of an anchor for your guests. If the menu is easy to move through, diners can make decisions quickly without experiencing choice paralysis. The less time they spend deciding about dinner options, the more they can enjoy it, and the better their overall experience.
Your Menu Can Be An Elevator Pitch
A well-designed menu also serves as a vehicle for conveying your restaurant’s concept without explicitly stating it. If, for example, your restaurant serves Mexican food but focuses on street tacos, your menu can communicate this focus using its design and layout. Simply center the section on street tacos so that the eye is naturally drawn to it, and maybe enlarge it a little, so it controls the space of the menu. With this center section dominating the menu’s design, your guests will automatically infer that tacos are your specialty and therefore they should try them.
Features of a Well-Designed Menu
So what does a well-designed menu look like? There’s no fixed answer to that question, but there are a few key components that every menu designer should consider.
Your guests have to be able to read the menu, after all! There are a few considerations to make sure your menu is approachable to the eye:
- Font Choice There’s no shame in bringing a visually attractive or fun font to your menu, but make sure to choose something easy to read! You don’t want your guests to waste time or get frustrated trying to understand what they’re trying to read. Pick an attractive font, but make sure you choose one that is legible, first and foremost.
- Space If your menu components are too cramped or crowded, it will be difficult for guests to direct their focus. Don’t shy away from utilizing negative space to control your guests’ attention. Blank areas on your menu are a great way to ensure it doesn’t become overwhelming to read, making choosing menu items easier.
- Less Is More There’s nothing wrong with describing an item in some detail, but keep your descriptions short and focused. Lengthy and bloated item descriptions can become walls of unapproachable text very quickly. Descriptions should only exist to make your guests’ mouths water; you should edit out any text that doesn’t serve that purpose.
Layout is an incredibly effective tool in your arsenal when designing your menu. There are a couple of crucial components to a layout that you should consider:
- Direction Consider how your ideal dining experience is supposed to progress. Is there a strict order of courses? Are items intended for individuals, or is the meal supposed to be served family style? Having this intention in place when laying out your menu is enormously helpful. If you group items based on their intended location in the meal (appetizers, salads, mains, etc.), your guests have a clear path to progress, removing some guesswork from dining.
- Grouping If you serve your entrees with side dishes or pairings, your guest shouldn’t have to go hunting for them. Create a small box next to the main entree sections that contains these accompanying items so that making these choices can happen all at once. Guests enjoy feeling like they have a plan for approaching their meals, and tools like this can give them that sense of comfort.
While not mandatory for most menus, including allergen indicators on your design can be hugely helpful for your guests and staff. You can accent dishes that don’t include common allergens like gluten, nuts, or dairy with discrete signifiers (a small “GF” next to gluten-free items, for example). You can also extend this treatment to plant-based dishes for vegan or vegetarian diners or include a signifier to show that dishes are halal. It’s important not to overdo it with signifiers; while the information is important, you must also consider how your menu will look. But having them present can save your guests the trouble of asking what they can and can’t eat and save your servers the trouble of explaining the same in great detail.
Go Forth And Create with MustHaveMenus
All of this might seem like a lot of information to sort through, but once you’re in the thick of designing your menu, it will be easy to see how these principles apply. By using MustHaveMenus, a service that offers more than 20,000 design templates for restaurant owners, you will be able to quickly and effectively design your menu with minimal stress.
What Does MustHaveMenus Have to Offer?
MustHaveMenus is a DIY menu design service that makes it easier (and cheaper) for restaurants to design high-quality menus. However, that isn’t all they offer. When you delve into their selection of templates, you’ll find flyers, sandwich boards, table tents, and templates for every type of menu you can imagine. Additionally, MustHaveMenus also provides QR codes, online menus, and more to round out their service.