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Is building weekly menu a problem?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello guys and girls,

 

I have questioned myself couple of times and I would love to hear your opinion. Everyday I like to go in nearby restaurants for lunch and I normally eat a meal from today's menu. Most of the times I'm amazed and I wonder how they do it. I'm asking you.

 

Is building a weekly menu a problem? Does it take alot of time? How they don't repeat them self and keep it under the budget? Could somebody help me understand it?

 

Do you as chef or manager have this problem? Or weekly menu is just something you mix together and focus on other things?

 

Thank you for your help!

Mike

post #2 of 8

MikeRi, I don't really understand your question. Do you mean, how do restaurants manage to

 

- change their entire menus on a daily or weekly basis?

- change their "Today's Special" on a daily basis, while maintaining a standard menu?

 

Whichever, it's any restaurant kitchen crew's bread-and-butter job to produce menus that will attract customers, and yes, it's a lot of hard work.

 

Cheers,

Recky

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Recky, I'm sorry if I was unclear. 

 

I was thinking about weekly menu while maintaining standard menu. Of course it's not possible to change whole menu each week, right? :)

 

Recky, so you think it's hard work. Do you know this from own experiences?

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeRi View Post
...Recky, so you think it's hard work. Do you know this from own experiences?

Not Recky, but YES!

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #5 of 8

Ok, I get it :-)

 

Well, I'm a chef and own a restaurant. Running a kitchen as a hands-on chef is hard work per se, because it entails far more than just cooking, as you can imagine. An important part of your work is menu planning and costing, as well as making sure that the menu matches the capacities of the kitchen stations. Too many grilled items and your grill cook will quickly run into problems during a busy lunch service.

 

Provided the standard menu is well distributed between stations, during service a daily special isn't really any more work than a standard menu item; you just have to be prepared for the fact that it will usually outsell any other item on your menu by far. That's why specials tend to be either dishes that can be held at serving temperature for some time and plated quickly or things that can be produced à la minute very fast.

 

Keeping a special within budget, i.e. within your food cost target, is part of a chef's planning work. If you run a very busy place and expect to sell boatloads of your specials, you can afford to sell them at a slightly reduced, more attractive price. Each special has to be priced individually, so if you don't want to repeat yourself too often, you will have to put the work in to purchase/order what you need, cost it, instruct your kitchen staff, perhaps do a trial run, and then do the same all over again next time you change your special.

 

Cheers,

Recky

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Interesting. I can't imagine the work you put in to manage everything. Respect.

 

I wonder what is the hardest part with building the menu? Getting fresh ideas? Finding the right ingredients (you probably buy local, right)? Be below the budget - we all know prices keep changing?

 

Experimenting with food is something I like to do. But what about your customers? I read some report somewhere that guests don't like to experiment too much. They said that they are already too much stressed in daily life and experimenting would just add up. I normally comment the meal to the waiter, mostly positive, but I'm not sure if the feedback comes to chef or owner. I hope it does :)

post #7 of 8

I think the hardest part is keeping everything that goes into running a restaurant (and thus, a kitchen) organised so that service times go smoothly, we don't waste any food, we keep portions consistent and at the calculated amount, and so on. I'm hardly ever short of ideas, but things get a bit tedious at the end of winter, when there's very little choice of fresh quality vegetables.

 

When creating menus or specials, apart from technical aspects in the kitchen, you have to think about availability of ingredients (season etc.), because there is no point in developing great ideas only to find out that you can't produce a dish within your given budget. So you have to look at seasonality and availability first and take it from there. Strawberries in December? White asparagus in September? I don't think so... :-)

 

The vast majority of regular customers will eat the same two or three things all the time, but there are those willing to try new dishes. And an item called a "special" is a psychological incentive, because it suggests it's something special at a reduced price!
 

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Wow thanks for the info. I really appreciate it!

 

Is anybody having similar problems?

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