The problem with menus is chefs get too close to them, emotionally involved. When
we had a ressie, I can remember our agonising over moving from four main dishes to
only three. Would the customers complain? Would we lose our Michelin star? Eventually,
we did it, and of course, all carried on just as before.
I can offer you an objective view that’s seen loads of menus. I see it as taking
your style and polishing it. Get the spelling exact, and the accents, and the layout.
We all use computers now to do menus, but most of the stuff I see shows only basic
skills. You can do a menu using just the return key and loads of default tabs. But
it probably won’t look pretty! It’s not criticism; you have a hard business to run,
cooking and serving. It’s difficult to be a DTP wizard as well.
By the way, I think Micro$oft WORKS, easier than WORD - that has too many bells and
whistles! OPEN OFFICE is good too, and free!
I reckon it takes three or four hours to properly go over a menu. Say I’ve already
discussed with you, the style points you want. Then we look again, and go through
the options. Do we actually need the ‘£’ sign? What is the pricing strategy to be?
I favour round figures. All 95’s, like 4.95, 5.95, 6.95 don’t work if your place
wants to show quality. Keep it simple.
I have this theory... that everyone at the start of a meal works out what the final
bill will be - don’t you do this? We do, even if it’s a no-expense-spared occasion.
When we’ve have done that, the nasty bit is out of the way, and we can settle down
to enjoy the meal. Make the sums easy for diners. That’s why set-price menus can
work well, but they’re not for everybody. These days entertainment more than hunger
seems to bring people to restaurants; they want all the options. Just make sure every
bum on every seat is profitable!