Business and EDU

Tips for Designing Your Restaurant Menu


One of the most important elements of restaurant success is obviously creating a tasty menu priced just right for your target market. At first glance, this may seem like an easy task but there are lots of things to take into consideration, making your selection of eats a bit more challenging. Here are a few helpful tips for completing this essential step in getting your establishment up and running.

Food Costs

This is a biggie when deciding what foods you will serve at your restaurant. You need to choose items that can be priced in a way to maximize your profits and keep food affordable for your customers. This is not to say you should buy everything the cheapest—serving quality food is important. But, you must find the right balance between your menu items so you can bring in a reasonable profit. This may mean giving up the dream of serving 100 percent organic food or a large offering of exotic dishes with expensive imported items. You must figure out the cost of preparing each dish to determine which items are feasible to include, and which ones will bring the greatest profits.

Preparation Considerations

When choosing items for your menu, consider what needs to be done to prepare these dishes and how long it takes to cook them. Unless you are operating a super high-end eatery, you generally need to focus on items that can be prepared relatively quickly to keep everything moving. Lots of time-consuming items on offer will mean your staff getting bogged down during busier times, which can spell trouble.

Go Easy on the Fads

Fads are not just in fashion—the food world experiences many of them as well. While you want to keep your pulse on what foods are ‘’in’’ at the moment, don’t design your whole menu around these hot items. While it is okay to include them, the ‘’meat and potatoes’’ of your offerings should be classic dishes beloved through the ages.


Food costs are clearly one of your biggest overhead expenses and you want to minimize them as much as possible. You want to get the most out of your ingredients and minimize food spoilage, which basically translates to money thrown down the drain. When planning your menu, keep the term ‘’cross-utilization’’ in mind. Create a menu where you have multiple uses for as many of your ingredients as possible. For example, if you make a spinach and artichoke dip, put together at least one more item that uses these same ingredients.

This is one of the most important decisions you will make when opening a restaurant and it is important to give each item you choose careful thought. Failure to do so can result in lackluster profits, a kitchen overwhelmed with time-consuming preparations and overall customer dissatisfaction. It is as competitive business and you must do all you can to give yourself an edge.

About the Author:Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about all things food and restaurants; she recommends visiting for more information on machines for your dessert needs.

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