If you’re anything like me, thinking about going out to eat gets you excited.
I’m the kind of person who looks up the restaurant’s menu a day before my reservation so that I can take a look at it.
Do you do the same thing?
I like knowing what I’m getting myself into. What type of cuisine, cocktails, appetizers, and most importantly in my case, what desserts do they offer?
See, the funny thing is that there are always two people behind a menu.
There are the people who created it, and the people who are waiting to discover it.
For the people who create it, it’s not a simple task to tackle as it is for a guest to pick an entrée for dinner.
Behind a menu, there are weeks and months of preparation. There are a couple of scribbled notebooks laying on the kitchen counter full of ideas, flavors, and memories that come together.
The main goal for almost every chef I’ve known is always to take the guest on a journey. For most chefs, their food is a reflection of familiar flavors. They’re inspired by memories and moments in time when food meant feeling something.
It could be their grandma’s soup when they were sick, their mom’s special Sunday sauce, or their uncle’s favorite dessert.
Food ties all of us together.
So when a chef’s creating a menu, it’s about bringing all of these elements together. And at the same time, align their creation to their surroundings and the market around them.
How do they do that? By observing what their competitors are doing. By checking out what they are offering, their prices, and the story that they’re telling.
Once they gathered all the information, they get into the nitty-gritty…
Menu costing, data, and numbers are a huge part of what goes on behind a menu. Besides telling a story that connects with people, making a profit is a priority for any restaurant.
And as we all know, in order for any business to be successful and profitable you need one thing: great teamwork. If we go a little further back to what’s behind a menu, we’ll find a very important piece of the puzzle.
They are the ones in charge of providing and delivering every single ingredient that goes into every menu. They look for the highest quality products, they look for local and seasonal ingredients, and they adapt them all to meet each chef’s needs.
Now, as suppliers, it is important to know how well their products are performing. They need more insight into their brand presence in order to constantly improve their quality. And therefore, improve every menu they get involved in.
With technology so much on our side nowadays, it is easier to gather and analyze data for restaurants, and more specifically, for menu creation.
As they say, “Knowledge is power”. Being able to interpret items and sales through data means you get to know your customers more.
It means that your POS data can tell you a lot about how well your products are selling. You’re simply transforming it into valuable information for your team and for suppliers.
You also get a more specific idea of what they loved, what they ordered again, what got sent back to the kitchen, and what sold the most. This is a huge help to chefs when creating menus because they can base their changes on dishes that were gathered through data.
Another way to improve and optimize the process is by using menu optimization software, which lets chefs know exactly what their competitors are charging for their products. This gives them a wider perspective on the market.
The great thing about merging technology with the culinary world is that it optimizes and simplifies the process for chefs.
By using menu optimization software, you as an operator can keep tabs on competitors’ prices, market changes, and relationships with suppliers. And more importantly, transform all data into useful and powerful information for your restaurant.
This way chefs around the world can keep doing what they love the most: being creative and experimenting with new flavors and ingredients. Knowing that technology is on their side to improve and optimize the rest of the process along the way.
And as I mentioned in the beginning, there are always two people behind a menu. We’ve talked about the chef and his team of suppliers. But I’d like to add one more person to this group: you as an operator.
You know the behind-the-scenes process of creating a menu like the back of your hand. You understand the steps, the struggles, and the importance of creating meaningful experiences.
But you also have a lot on your plate. Between managing your time at work and at home, it seems as if 24 hours a day are not enough.
Next time you wish you could optimize your time and resources better, remember the power of using a menu optimization tool.
EMERGING’s F&B Insights do exactly this for you. Their tools provide data that will allow you to determine who your VIP and core customers are, who are the guests who have become regulars, and how this reflects on your profits as a business.
Utilizing F&B Insights will not only save you time, but it will transform data into valuable information that will turn into sales.
At the end of the day, the goal for every person involved in any hospitality business is to provide a great guest experience. To create memories for the other person behind a menu, the guest.
A menu is a chef’s letter to the world.
It’s a way to take us on a journey through time, stories, and flavors.
It’s a way to communicate between operators, chefs, and guests without even speaking.