Cleaning Your Menu

10 September 2012

Your menu cover is an investment that we would like to ensure that you get the best benefit from over the years. Here are a few pointers to make sure that your menu covers keep in tip-top condition.

  • Regularly remove dust, dirt, crumbs, spills etc. at the end of a shift, using only warm water, or very mild soapy water on a soft damp cloth or sponge. Do not use harsh chemicals, spray and wipe, abrasives, bleach, etc. These can destroy both covering materials and embossed images.
  • Ideally, clean inside pockets with the same sponge every day to avoid the pockets sticking together.
  • Menu Company Covers are both water resistant and stain resistant. However, there are some products which can leave permanent stains such as pen. Please make sure that your staff do not use pen and remove the menu covers before service begins at the table.
  • Store your Menu Company Covers in an upright position. Wooden wall boxes are not recommended.
  • Do not store Menu Covers near heat sources or let them come in contact with stoves, coffee makers, hot plates, etc. Also, do not store them in refrigerated rooms or unheated supply areas that may cause materials to crack. Keep your covers at room temperature whenever possible
  • Do not let your covers become submerged in water. Do not place in dishwasher or otherwise allow to become submerged in water or other liquid. For instance, do not leave your menus flat on a wet bar top.

© 2012 TMC

Top Ten Tips to Maximize Your Restaurant Menu

13 December 2013

Your menu is your number one selling tool for influencing what you want your guest to order. With proper menu design you can actually influence sales mix on a daily basis and improve profits. Don’t just leave it up to chance. Learn these tips and apply them to your menu.

1 Never Handcuff your Menu  If you are unable to change or update any menu panel in a short amount of time, then you are handcuffed. You need to be sure you can make a change or update anytime to your menu as needed. With the rapidly changing markets today, this flexibility is very important to staying ahead of rising costs

2 Review your menu and update 3-4 times per year  Stick to small adjustments throughout the year instead of trying to do big adjustments once a year. This is also a great opportunity to creep your menu prices throughout the year with small incremental increases.</p>

3 Keep your menu small  Studies have suggested that you only need 20-24 selections to have an adequate menu size for your guest. In fact, you will find that 8-12 of those dishes will be doing the bulk of your sales and profits. Secondly, smaller menus equal less inventory and waste which means better profits for the business.

4 Treat your menu like real estate  Be aware of the prime spots on your menu where the readers eyes will tend to fall most often. Those prime spots are like owning prime real estate. Make sure the items that are most profitable for the business occupy those prime real estate spots first. Do not let your weaker menu items occupy your prime real estate locations

5 Keep the eye on profit dollars per dish and not food cost percentage  You do not take percentage to the bank, but you do take profit dollars home every night. If you have 100 guests coming through the restaurant tonight…do you want to make $10 profit per dish or $7 profit per dish. This is the difference from a $1000 night or a $700 night.

6 Stagger your menu prices  A common menu occurrence is to line up the menu prices into a vertical column. What this does is make it very easy to price shop the menu. A simple fix to this is to let your menu prices naturally stagger throughout the menu at the end of the titles or line ingredients.</p>

7 First and Last Position  When you list a column of menu choices on your menu, the top and bottom positions within the column are generally stronger positions. This ties into the idea that we scan menus more often than truly reading menus. Readers tend to scan around the edges which explains why we tend to notice top and bottom positions more often than the middle of a column of menu choices.</p>

8 Menu Descriptors Help Sell the Flavor and Value  People make choices of what to order by how well you can explain the food to them. Studies have shown that consumers opinion of a menu item increases in value with strong menu descriptors.</p>

9 Highlight What You Want to Sell  Make sure your menu has highlights that draw the eye to your key menu items you want them to notice and hopefully pick first from the menu.</p>

10 Give Them Permission to Reject a Menu Choice  It is always recommended to have a range of prices on your menu and not keep all your retail price points bunched up into a tight range. In fact, I want to encourage you to put a high priced dish on the menu just so that your guest can reject it. This is called mental anchoring the menu. When your guest sees a menu choice that is outrageous in price they base the value of the other menu choices from that high price point. In other words, your other menu choices start to look economical when compared to your anchor point. This in turn leads to a higher selling average from your other available menu selections.</p>

Your Secret Restaurant Coach currently works in the food service industry providing struggling restaurant owners with positive coaching and restaurant consulting services. If you are looking for further FREE RESTAURANT RESOURCES, just go to []

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© 2013 Greg Prokopowich

Planning for Small Restaurants

13 December 2013

This article is designed for an Independent restaurant startup, and not an existing proven restaurant concept, or a restaurant franchise that is providing franchise style operating systems.

In designing your menu, consider why you have selected the menu items and how they relate to your service system; be it fast food, fast casual or fine dining. I.e. making a Caesar salad table side does not work in a fast food restaurant. The menu and your service system are the foundation of your restaurant and must be compatible. Begin with what you personally feel would be the right menu for your concept. Don't focus only on what is practical and functional. By focusing only on the practical aspects of a menu, you will lose inspiration and creativity. Only after you have settled on what you think are the most appealing items for your menu is it time to consider their practicality.

Cost of product is a main consideration. For example, if your concept is fast-casual, then your price point will probably be in the $6.00 to $14.00 range. But since the wholesale cost of lobster or a prime cut of New York steak takes you out of the fast-casual ballpark, they would not be compatible with the pricing of your menu. Your pricing must reflect your decor and service. A high-end gourmet menu would be completely out of place in a fast food outlet, with its simple decor and speedy service.

 Another consideration is the skill level of your employees. If you plan on opening a fast-food or fast-casual restaurant, you need to hire kitchen personnel whose skills are commensurate with a pay scale driven by your menu price points. Conversely, a gourmet, table-side service restaurant, with higher menu price points, requires a higher level of employee skills and experience, and obviously a more appropriate pay scale.

The equipment needed for certain menu items is an important factor. The tools and equipment for a restaurant may differ from those of a construction company, but both are equally critical to getting the job done correctly. Your menu will dictate the needed equipment and its related cost. For example, do you need a grill, or a deep fat fryer? If so, then you will need to factor in the cost of a grease trap and a vented hood with fire suppression equipment. This can easily add $25,000 to $50,000 to your equipment package.

Inventory requirements are another essential factor. In designing a menu, how you determine its offerings is critical to controlling your food and labor costs. Consider the number of items on the menu: the more you offer the more labor hours it takes to prep and serve each dish in a timely manner. An excess in inventory is money sitting on the shelf. And, the more menu items and ingredient inventories you have to account for, the more waste you are likely to incur. An important corollary of this - think how to wheel menu items together. This means using the same food products in as many different menu selections as possible. In my experience, I have found that smaller is better. What many neophytes in this business fail to realize when designing a menu is that more menu choices are not necessarily better. In fact, the more choices offered, the more they will cannibalize one another.

An effective way to add menu items while effectively controlling food costs is to offer daily specials. This way you can continue to offer a variety of selections that will keep your menu appealing. In preparing specials, be careful to prepare just enough, so that you will run out by the end of the day. This will help to control unnecessary waste.
You cannot create a menu that will be all things to all people, so focus on what you specialize in. Success is predicated on having the best, not the most. A safe menu is one based on classic, traditional foods, to which you add your own unique twist. People have a comfort level with familiar foods. So, keep it simple, especially if you are new to the restaurant business. Quality of product and presentation will always be the foundation of your menu. Next is speed and efficiency of service. The average customer in the US rates speed of service highly, and considers it part of the overall value received. Smart menu choices are essential to a successful restaurant, but equally important is the presentation of your menu. The menu is what defines your restaurant. Customers browse through the menu and, with the help of a knowledgeable server, can make a well-informed selection.

The menu, however, is more than an information tool-it's also a valuable sales tool. Major considerations must be taken into account in menu design and production. Here are some time-tested rules to follow:

  1. It must be functional and easy to use. A menu that is too big can be unwieldy for a customer to handle.
  2. Your menu should convey the essence of your concept. Is it formal and sophisticated, or is it meant to be more fun and informal?
  3. The menu should be integral to the customer's entire dining experience and fit the restaurants intended ambiance.
  4. Food and beverage descriptions are an important factor in your menu. More consumers today are interested in the details of what they are ordering. They don't need paragraphs of flowery words when ordering a steak, but its size and cut are essential; and some well-chosen, mouth-watering descriptions can seal the deal. Use descriptive adjectives for maximum appetite appeal. The more creative you are, the more you enhance your menu offerings, making them more desirable. Paint a brief picture in your customers' minds with descriptive words like "steaming," "chilled," "garden fresh," "succulent," "juicy," etc.
  5. Feature profitable and customer favorites with a picture of the item, highlighted by a brief description to stimulate the taste buds. Think of the clever merchandising that Starbucks uses on their menu boards-just the names of their coffee drinks suggest a tantalizing treat.

Tom Wilscam's book is a wonderful resource for anyone wanting to open a restaurant and for restaurant managers. He shares his successes and his failures. The way he presents the information is interesting and easy to understand. The book is well organized, well edited and well developed. The cover is eye catching. For more than 40 years, Wilscam has operated and helped others start restaurants. His experience has shown him the importance of having a proven concept, standardized operating procedures and the ability to help the new restaurant owner succeed. Besides individual restaurants, Wilscam also helped launch the Einstein Bagle Company, Juan's Mexicali and other restaurants that have become franchises because of the successful work he does creating a startup restaurant. For more information about W&W Restaurant Group and how Tom Wilscam can help your startup restaurant succeed, visit his website.

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© 2013 Tom Wilscam

Things to Avoid When Choosing Cafe Furniture

22 August 2011

Choosing cafe furniture can seem like an easy task - after all, you just need to find something that goes with your decor and looks good, right? If this is the attitude you take you may find your sales dropping and customers leaving without any real explanation. Believe it or not even furniture that looks great can make people's dining experience a bad one. Let's take a look at some negative attributes your new furniture might possess.


A chair that stands out because of great design can be extremely uncomfortable to actually use. Imagine if the chair is quite slim and unyielding - how would a larger customer use it? Likewise very tall bar stools, if they don't have footrests, can be almost impossible to climb onto for shorter people or anyone who's not in their prime. You should choose furniture based around average heights and weights to make it comfortable for as many people as possible.


The material you should choose depends very much on the climate in your area. Aluminium chairs for example can be very cold in winter, and leather chairs can get very hot in summer. This can be uncomfortable for your customers even if the chairs themselves look great. The chair covering should also be durable no matter what your clientele - spills and stains are inevitable and a durable material will fare a lot better than a delicate one, not to mention being easier to clean.


Many cafe owners opt for 'designer' furniture because it gives them a unique look and makes their business interesting and memorable. This is all very well, but imagine if a piece of furniture gets damaged and has to be replaced - if you've opted for specialist furniture this could be quite difficult and expensive. Buying from a specialist contract furniture supplier that has many tables and chairs in stock means you'll always be able to deal with breakages. Designer furniture on the other hand could look shabby and you won't be able to replace it. Your whole establishment could start to look un-loved and customers will be put off from visiting.

The trick to buying the right cafe furniture is balancing form and function. Of course your furniture should look great and give you the atmosphere you want, but it also needs to be comfortable, durable and affordable. Luckily there's a wide range of suppliers catering to this market who in recent years have put their emphasis on design-led furniture to meet the growing demand in this sector.

One option is to find a company that lets you customise their furniture. You choose an existing design that has all the functionality you need, and then provide your own upholstery for them to fit. This gives you something unique with all the practical features a contract furniture company can supply - it's a happy medium that could offer you the perfect solution. When your furniture starts to look shabby you can simply get it re-upholstered, giving you a fresh look every time.



© 2011 Sylvia Kittens

Instagram is changing the way we do business.

10 November 2017

Instagram Stories are out there to inspire you to look at your social media at another level.

© 2017

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