A menu consists of a list of dishes offered to customers. Usually it is presented in courses. Many factors need to be considered when planning menus for the food service and catering industry.
Scale of Function Functions can involve a small or large number of guests. With smaller functions it is easier to provide more courses and options in each course than dealing with larger numbers. Typical courses in a menu are:
Appetiser- Tasty food which is not too filling and stimulates the desire for more food.
Entree- Usually a fish, soup, salad in small portions.
Main course- Usually meet, fish, or poultry with vegetable accompaniment
Dessert- Sweet dishes, fruit or cheese
Types of Menus
A La Carte Menu:
Lists all the dishes available, arranged in courses and each priced separately
Provide an extensive choice of menu items
Allow the customer to choose the number and type of dishes
Means the food is cooked to order so there is a waiting time
Can be expensive as skill is required to prepare each dish individually
Usually used in restaurants
Table D'hôte Menu
Provides a set menu with a set price
Includes a fixed, limited number of courses, usually a three course meal with coffee
Offers a limited choice within each course and all the guests are served at one time
Allows for faster service making it easier to control costs and minimise wastage
A popular choice for restaurants, cafes and function rooms
A Cyclic Menu
Offers a series of fixed meals usually breakfast lunch and dinner
Usually breakfast lunch and dinner that rotate over a period of time such as a week fortnight or month
Provides only a few choices to pick from for each meal
Is usually well balanced nutritionally
Commonly used by hospitals, nursing homes, camps, and airline catering
Is used for special occasions such as weddings, formals, parties and business conventions
Is usually a fixed menu similar to Table d'hôte menu but with little or no choice
Varies depending on budget, venue, and the number of people, for example a 4 course dinner, or a variety go appetisers or sweets
Usually prepared in advanced and the customer is charged a set price
Du Jour Menu
Presented on a blackboard or variably to the customer
Is a useful way to accommodate seasonal produce, test new recipes and use excess stock
Facilities, Staff, Time and Money An establishment plans menus according to the facilities, staff, time and many they have available. For example an a la Carte menu requires chefs with skill. It also requires a lot of equipment to prepare the varied dishes and is costly because many ingredients are required. Offering a table d'hôte menu limits choice and may help an establishment to save time and money.
Some caterers such as those inn nursing homes, need to feed a large number of people at one time. They are usually limited in their funding and facilities and many dishes on their menus contain inexpensive ingredients and methods of cooking such as baking, which allows a lot of food to be cooked at once.
Year time and Occasion
Menus are often planned with consideration to the time of the year. In winter more soups and warm desserts are on a menu while more salad and cold desserts are available in summer. In spring lots of fresh vegetables will be offered.
Depending on the time of day many establishments will offers breakfast lunch or dinner menu. Breakfast menus and lunch menus are often lighter, quicker to prepare and include fewer options than dinner menus.
Different occasions also influence menus for example, a wedding commonly uses function menus and cake is included as part of the menu.
Types of Customers
The health, occupation, gender, age, preferences and number of people a food service provider has to cater for affects menu planning. Hospital caterers, for example must take into account the health, gender and age of patients in order to provide a nutritious meal and so consult with dieticians to plan suitable meals. men for instance often have a higher energy requirement than women and those recovering from heart disease require low fat meals. In order to cater for personal preferences they often include several options as part of their cyclic menus, such as providing a vegetarian item. These days there are also strict nutritional guidelines for child care and school catering services.
1. Explain the difference between an a la carte menu and a table d'hôte menu. An A la carte menu offers and extensive range of dishes and options for customers to choose from as a table d'hôte menu has a set menu with only a few options for customers to choose from. 2. List factors that you need to consider about customers when planning menus. You need to consider their health, occupation, gender, age, preferences and number of people you have to cater for as to how you should plan your menu. 3. List 5 foods that may be on the menu for a mobile food van catering for construction workers. Give reasons. - Pie: Quick to order, easy to eat. - Chips: Quick preparation, can come back to them as you go. - Sandwich: healthy alternative, easy preparation, short wait to get. - Sausage Roll: Quick preparation, convenient to eat. - Burger: hearty, good nutrition, intake of calories, easy to eat. 4. Plan a blackboard menu for a summer breakfast for a holiday resort cafe. Todays Specials - Fresh Fruit salad served with vanilla yoghurt 11.50 - Creamy Greek Yoghurt served with crispy cranberry and vanilla clustered muesli 10.00 - Buttermilk pancakes served with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup 13.50 - Seared caramelised bananas with cream and toasted sourdough bread 13.00 - Toasted bagel with whipped cream, strawberries, banana and blueberries 5. Select a function and design 2 menus for your client to choose from. One of those menus must be a finger food option. Wedding Finger Food Option - Salmon and Advocado sandwich wheels - Mini Shephered pies - Kilpatrick oysters - Thai Fish cakes - Spring rolls w Chilli dipping sauce - Crispy fish pieces w tartare - Mini sausage rolls
Wedding Entree: - Pumpkin Soup w sourdough croutons - Thai Beef Salad w crispy noodles -