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The Foolproof Way to Organize Your Menu

Menus are all different breeds that serve various purposes. What a menu says, how it says it, and the way it’s arranged are all important factors to consider. A menu may present easy selections that cater to both budget and service, such as a simple buffet or low-key wedding that includes rentals, liquor, and additional services. Other menus may be highly customized, feature a unique station, or be formatted to fit a family’s flavors or culinary traditions.

A menu’s ultimate goal should be to provide a selection of offerings that signal what clients can expect from your culinary team.

Event management system benefits

Putting together a proposal that can effectively sell your event services can take much time and effort. This is where an event management system comes in handy, as the core of most event management systems is a menu database. A user can access and select menu options with a click of the mouse.

The advantages:

• Readily available menu items with defined prices and cost
• Focused or guided selection of options within price points or service parameters
• Custom writing capabilities and editing for one-time events
• Efficiency of building a menu and proposal at the same time
• Real-time editing and storage of event information in one location

To turn this culinary dream into a reality requires an effectively structured digital menu that is well-maintained.

Organizing your menu

I put together some easy “hacks” for you to consider in organizing your menus in a way that makes sense:

• List menu items by most used categories first
• Use sub categories to organize items by commonality of protein or item type
• Use proper naming conventions
• Separate a la carte selections from menu packages
• Distinguish between rentals and company-owned equipment

When creating menu items, take advantage of any bundling features your program offers, which when selected contain or describe all of the items included within a package.

Service offerings that work well as packages are:

• Single or double entrée buffets with choices from a pre-selected list of options
• Boxed meals
• Bar packages
• Picnic menus
• Simple grazing stations with limited offerings
• Disposables
• All-inclusive rental packages

A well-organized menu database helps your sales team write proposals and estimates easily and quickly. This means they can locate the best menu and most profitable items at the very beginning of the menu writing process. All the information is right there in front of them.

Just imagine: a simple click, and done. Sounds great, right?

Need more ideas for organizing your menu? Join us at Catersource 2019 in New Orleans! Your educational journey begins here.

John Reed

Owner, Custom Culinary Solutions, Chicago, IL

John Reed is a professional chef with over 30 years’ experience. He is the owner of Customized Culinary Solutions, a culinary consulting firm located in the Chicago Northshore area. He works with restaurant, catering, and foodservice companies to provide the highest quality food possible. His contributions include menu and recipe development, emerging concept development, and transition management for companies introducing culinary and production software programs. His company specializes as an on-demand culinary department supporting out-sourced culinary project management.

An active member of the ACF, he has earned certifications as a Certified Executive Chef, Certified Culinary Administrator, and American Academy of...