What Restaurants Should Consider When Planning A Menu

Whether you’ve been in the restaurant business for some time, or you are just starting on this pathway, you likely know the importance of planning a good menu. Designing a menu should be a fun and exciting task, but there is an element of seriousness around it as well, for it will be the lifeblood of your business and its success.

Approaching menu planning haphazardly, with little thought to the concept of food and drink that you wish to communicate, will leave your customers with a disjunct experience. Each appetizer, entree, dessert, and cocktail needs to communicate the essence of your brand and your business. If you have not been successful in creating a delightful dining experience for your guests, you and your team have some work to do. Whether you are rolling out a reinvention of your old favorites, or you are coming up with a brand new concept for a brand new venue, consider these elements of design that will create delicious and delectable dining:

Your concept

If you have a concept, brand, layout, and design of your restaurant, these will likely be factors in helping to create the type of cuisine that you will feature. Infuse your atmosphere—and your food–with heart, soul, and some serious personality that will keep customers coming back for more.

Target audience

Who are you trying to attract to your business? Will your fare be family-style, or are you going for a more austere dining experience for the affluent? Know who your target audience is, and seek to please their palates with dishes that they can savor and enjoy. Do some field research before your design and find out what your target audience is looking for in a dining experience, then give it to them. You’ll be creating loyal customers from the very first bite.


Two burger joints on the same block is not a strategy for success; you’ll have to do a bit of research with regard to who your biggest competitors are, then seek to rise above the competition with affordable prices and better quality fare. Providing those personal touches on a dining experience make you more memorable as well; consider training your staff to go the extra mile when delivering the goods. Delicious food, fair prices, exceptional service—you’ll rise above the competition in no time.

Consider ingredients and items

When seeking a broad circle of influence, you want items that cater to a wider population. Consider adding items to your menu that cater to those with special dietary requirements, such as halal, kosher, and vegan items. Kids menus are always a good idea for families; meals such as burgers, chicken fingers, pizza, and pasta can exist in the most sophisticated restaurant, with a few enhancements. Knowing what your customers crave, and being able to give it to them, will set you up as an established member of your community’s restaurant circle.

Experience on your team

Most restaurateurs are a bit experienced when it comes to kitchen fare, but they leave the real masterpiece creation to the experts. Consider the experience and specialization coming with you on your team; if you have a French pastry chef in your back pocket, put him to use making luscious desserts and creamy confections for your guests. A skilled grill or BBQ pitmaster can whip up some rib-tickling fare that will help others experience delicious food with amazing grilling techniques that are satisfying and sensational. Design your menu with the strengths of your team members in mind, and you’ll be putting forth your best representation of your concept in your community.


The best food in the world needs an equally stellar presentation in order to gain the attention of potential customers. Designing a brand strategy around your menu and its offerings—-delicious language, attractive layout, and easy-to-read ordering will enhance your guest experience and convey the image that you have a well-thought-out concept, and even better food!

Trial run

Designing a new menu with innovative dishes can be risky business; you never know if your creations will be popular with your public. Why not consider a soft roll out during which you invite family and friends to test new menu items and give feedback? You may invest a fair amount of time and money making this happen, but this feedback can be invaluable in the process of tweaking and improving menu items until they are nearly perfect.

Adjust, innovate, create!

Yes, the restaurant business is a competitive market, but the possibilities for creativity and innovation are endless. Channel your passion for good food and great dining, gather the resources and talents of your invaluable team, and start creating! Bon Apetit!


Alex is a small business blogger with a focus on entrepreneurship and growth. With over 5 years of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Alex has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, approachable and entrepreneurial-minded blogger. He has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners, and is able to provide actionable advice and strategies for success. Alex has interviewed successful entrepreneurs, and covered major small business events such as the Small Business Expo and the Inc. 500|5000 conference. He is also a successful entrepreneur himself, having started and grown several small businesses in different industries.