Monday, June 14, 2010

New Lunch Menu

We at the ODB are shortly to release our newest Lunch Menu. New items will include several summer salads such as a Chicken and Green Bean Salad with roasted red potatoes tossed in our Garlic Ranch Dressing as well as a Garden Tuna Salad. Also in the tuna vein will be a Tuna Melt and a cold Tuna Salad Sandwich. A house roasted and sliced Roast Beef Sandwich and tasty Veggie Sand will join the popular Cold Turkey and Sweet Ham San as half sandwich options. Let's not leave out the hot sandwiches! Look for a grilled Chicken Marinara Sand and an ODB Philly to replace the Prime Dip on the lunch menu. Last but not least, we restructured our rather large tortilla wraps to not include a side (since most contain a salad inside anyway), adjusted the prices accordingly and added a tasty vegetarian option with a Black Bean and Rice Wrap.

Who knew so much thought and time went into making a popular and profitable restaurant menu?! You might think all you need is great recipes and competitive prices, but noooo . . . Menus neither start nor stop there. New recipes that sound good aren't necessarily a good addition to a menu if the ingredients are too specialized or production process too cumbersome. No point in adding an entree that can't be made in a timely manner or whose ingredients can't be kept on hand.

And pricing! With food prices constantly in flux we do our best to price an entree fairly according to industry standards. Complex inventory and shopping spreadsheets link to recipe formulas which link to a final pricing sheet which should give us the entree price within the proper food cost margins. Staying on top of food cost is a never ending job. Say the price of Romaine lettuce changes. A simple enough ingredient, but with far flung repercussions. Romaine is a main ingredient in tossed salad. Tossed salad is an ingredient in several other salads and lunch wraps. A price change in even one ingredient can affect many menu items. You can see how staying on top of EVERY ingredient a complex and exhaustive job.

Once you have all of your menu items chosen and priced, it's time to edit the physical menu itself. Every item needs a colorful and enticing description as well as a place on the page. Menu placement is a much studied structure so formulas are pretty standard even down to the order in which entrees should be listed within their categories for maximum affect. Fitting every entree into its place is an exercise in patience - something like a puzzle with just a few too many pieces.

Final results? An attractive menu, easily readable and understood by patrons with enticing menu items and descriptions subtly designed for maximum profitability.

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