Initial Considerations

Creating A Menu
Initial Considerations
Menu Accuracy
Writing Rules
Catering or Special Menu
Ala Carte Menu
Pre Fixe Menu
2_course_southwest.jpg (23939 bytes)
Two courses of a light 3 course lunch menu themed to the Southwest

Time of Year
- The chef should focus on seasonality, availability, freshness, cost, and customer expectations for the season. An example would be serving game, pumpkin, and root vegetables in the fall.

The Occasion - Is this a formal or informal event? What will the guests' expectations be? One would have a different expectation for a menu on New Year's Eve versus the 4th of July.

Time of Day - The portion size, length of meal, and service and complexity of the menu are often different from lunch to dinner.

- The actual geographic area and the location of the party itself has a bearing upon the menu selection. The geographic area dictates the availability of products, climate, and, in some cases, the level of formality. The location of the party, meaning indoors or outdoors, or the theme of the venue will determine the formality of the dress as well as the meal, equipment available to execute the menu, and overall guest expectations.

Number of Guests - What may be properly executed for a party of 15 is, in most cases, different than what can be executed for a party of 100. Food such as soufflés that may work well for a small party should not usually be considered for larger parties.g

Guest Profile - What is the level of sophistication? To what degree will the guests feel comfortable with formality? What are their likes and dislikes?

Budget - This, of course, quickly dictates service style and menu composition. The guest check average your customers are comfortable paying or the amount budgeted for the food and beverage portion of a party is necessary information before planning begins.

Once you have thoroughly addressed these considerations, serious planning may begin. For our purposes here, we will focus on course meals, which are sometimes referred to as gastronomic, as they require extensive planning in selecting the menu to create the desired experience for guests. This is as opposed to the creation of an a la carte menu, which allows guests the freedom to design their own experience. The menu logic of each remains the same in either case.

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