How important are food names?
When starting to create a menu, there are numerous factors that chefs and business owners must simultaneously consider to make it menu top notch. The dishes offered must follow basic nutritional structure, be priced right for the customer and the business, and be appealing to the customer. A factor that is often overlooked, but extremely important, is the food menu names. Food names on a restaurant menu can help or hinder a customer’s decision-making process. It allows the business to advertise the dish before the customer reads the description.
Food Dish Names Strategies
There are many ways to use food menu names to entice customers to place a restaurant menu order that will be profitable for the business. Attaching a place name to an ethnic dish, or a dish that resembles popular food in a certain city, will help customers associate their vision of the dish to that place, as part of their consideration of whether to order it. A California Veggie Burger will make the customer envision a healthy burger with fresh ingredients, probably including avocado. The name sounds much more appealing than “Veggie Burger with Vegetables.” A cooking technique can also be used to add appeal. “Hand-churned Ice Cream” sounds more gourmet than “Ice Cream.” The name will sound more appetizing and customers will probably be willing to pay more for the extra effort required in making the dessert. Dedicating a dish to a person, especially a family member, will make customers feel confident in their order. “Aunt Jen’s Fire-Roasted Tomato Soup” is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, since Aunt Jen and her family love it. Food dish names that reference a family member will also help customers feel nostalgic to their childhood favorite dishes, and want to try someone else’s. In general, any small addition to a name will up the chances of customer satisfaction and change their restaurant menu order. “Four-cheese macaroni and cheese” will be chosen over “macaroni and cheese.” “Zesty
The Least Expensive Restaurant Marketing Plan
From Facebook food pictures to twitter for restaurants, there are constantly new platforms made available for restaurant marketing. The best part is that these options are free restaurant advertising! They can be extremely effective as well. Facebook alone has over 800 million active users. Though it is impossible and useless for a business to try to reach all the users on these platforms, it is very worthwhile to convince customers to link their social media and restaurants. Not only will the customer be made aware of the business on a regular basis, whenever it shows up on their page, their “friends” on Facebook and “followers” on Twitter will be able to see their connection to the business and may be interested in hearing more about it or becoming a customer. Though there is software being developed to help boost options for social media for businesses, most of the publicizing is free of charge. Just one example of such software is Engage 121, which is an application that shows a business the relationship between social buzz on their social media pages and
The Pairing Wine with Food Phenomenon
For thousands of years people have been pairing meat with a nice glass of wine, inherently understanding that it is a mouthwatering combination. Dry wine, or beer’s, astringent tastes with fatty foods such as meat somehow made sense. How about other classic food pairings? Most Americans know from a young age that soda completes a burger and French fries meal. Sushi isn’t complete without soy sauce and ginger. And leafy greens are unappetizing without dressing. The culinary world knew early on that balancing flavors and texture variation makes for a great meal. Yet up until recently, there was no scientific explanation to develop these ideas.
Physiology of Taste and Food Pairings
Scientists know a substantial amount about the physiology of taste. They originally thought that there are different areas of the tongue for taste and that salty and sweet, sour, and bitter tastes are picked up on different regions of the tongue. However, The Journal of Cell Biology recently published a taste study that discredited this idea, preferring to adopt a theory that taste receptor cells are spread throughout the
The Makings of a Price Fixed Menu
A price fixed menu, also known as prix fixe, table d’hôte, and business meal, is a set menu of one or more options, offered at a set price. It usually consists of an appetizer, main, dessert, and drink. Sometimes there are multiple options available for each course. A soup or salad and hot drink and/or cold drink are usually included as well. In some restaurants, there are multiple price fixed menus offered, at different prices, but without giving the customer the freedom to select the individual courses. Price fixed menus are often offered during quieter business hours. The set menu allows for quicker service at a lower price, drawing working customers to dine out regardless of their time frame. Though business meals are the most typical prix fixe menu, restaurants can use the concept in other ways to increase restaurant business and decrease restaurant stress.
The Uses of Prix Fixe Menus
Prix Fixe menus have many purposes for restaurants. Customers will be drawn to the lower prices and the creative dining options provided. However, the benefits for the business far outweigh those for the customer. For restaurants, offering a set menu at a comparably low price decreases the profit margin in comparison to food-cost, but the reduced amount of preparation required will more than make up for this setback. The chef may also choose to incorporate dishes to use up ingredients before they go bad, thereby reducing food waste. On busy days, such as holidays, a set menu allows the staff to execute the meals at their highest quality potential, since they will be preparing the same dishes throughout their shift. On a day-to-day basis, a price fixed menu allows the chef to experiment
The Idyllic Comfort Food
On a cold fall, or winter day, when no amount of clothing layers seems to keep people warm, they tend to seek out hot, hearty foods and drinks. Tea, hot chocolate, stews, and soups are perfect examples of such items. A great bowl of soup is better than the richest dessert or juiciest protein in this case. Businesses can use soup’s appeal to their advantage by getting creative and offering at least a couple different kinds every day. By having base knowledge of the three different categories of soup, chefs can economize in the kitchen by ensuring the best use of available ingredients.
Hearty Soups incorporate ingredients in a base stock. The base can be any brown stock, white stock, vegetable stock, or even water. Oftentimes, starches such as barley, potato, rice, or lentils are added to thicken the base liquid and add texture to the soup. Diced vegetables and/or proteins are either added before serving, or cooked in the base liquid. Lentil soup, home-style chicken soup, and minestrone soup are just a few famous examples of hearty soups that are sure to please. Chicken soup preparation usually involves cooking chicken pieces and vegetable chunks in a season chickened broth. Most customers will get nostalgic as they eat it, so it holds the possibility of giving them an overall
Meatless Monday and other Vegetarian Culinary Trends
The vegetarian and vegan culinary trends go hand in hand with some other recent culinary trends, building each other’s fame. With a rise in health awareness and an increase in knowledge of the declining state of the global environment, the culinary world is taking note and making changes. One of these changes is the rise in popularity of vegetarian foods. Though customers may not be fully vegetarian, recently discovered facts about vegetarian health benefits and sustainable food have led the population to veer towards more meatless meals. Though going cold turkey on meat (no pun intended) is very difficult for many people, awareness of the benefits has led to a rise in the “Meatless Monday” initiative. The “meatless Monday” movement encourages people to go vegetarian at least one day each week in order to help themselves and the environment.
Health Benefits of Being a Vegetarian and Sustainable Food
The health benefits of being a vegetarian include reduced risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Meatless meals tend to be higher in poly-unsaturated fats, lower in saturated fat,
Restaurant Internships for Furthering Chef Careers
A culinary school education provides a great base for beginning a chef career. Though it is only one option of a way to start out on the path to developing interesting food recipes that make a chef’s career unique, it is never the last stop in learning about the culinary world. Each culinary school and country has its own way of doing things in the kitchen. There is great value in starting out local in the restaurant business and culinary education, but there is also inherent value in discovering international restaurants. Even well-known chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, René Redzepi of Noma (Denmark) trained through restaurant internships at high-scale culinary establishments. International restaurant internships allow the spread of the best culinary trends of each country and culture, to the rest of the world.
Interesting Food Recipes that Another Chef Knows Better
Each chef has a signature style. René Redzepi mixes molecular gastronomy with high quality local ingredients. Paula Deen is famous for Southern American-style cuisine, preferably loaded with butter. Though anyone could attempt to replicate the recipes of such chefs, the knowledge that can be obtained by observing and tasting their creations is priceless in learning about their cuisine. There is something to be said for learning to stuff sausages or make pasta in Italy, or to learn
According to a survey conducted by Food Network of chefs across the United States, 75% of chefs take culinary inspiration from other restaurant menus. By exploring the culinary trends other quality restaurants are currently offering, chefs can spruce up their own restaurant menu. In the survey, many chefs rated The French Laundry restaurants in California as one of their top favorite restaurants. By looking at the menu online, chefs can get an idea for how Chef Thomas Keller is incorporating seasonal ingredients. The most recent tasting menu had a course of “Salad of Jacobsen Orchard apples (with) Hawaiian hearts of palm, Belgian endives, Sicilian pistachios, and chrysanthemum.” Though this might prompt restaurant menu ideas, the culinary research is lacking an aspect: food presentation. The menu cannot explain the textures, colors, taste, or overall food presentation of the dish. These aspects are essentially why dining at quality restaurants is beneficial for chefs.
It’s Not All in the Name
At Alinea in Chicago, Grant Achatz mixes extremely artistic presentation with science and contrasting flavors to provide the dining experience. Yet he does not stop there. At the restaurant, the waiters instruct the diner as to how each dish is meant to be eaten. Sometimes dishes are served on a pillow filled with scented air, which slowly deflates as the dish
What’s in the Food?
A recent survey polled customers’ top reasons for not returning to a restaurant. Unclean dishware, unpleasant odor, dirty restrooms, dirty tables, bad customer service, dirty floors, bad staff appearance, and dirty glass and windows were all top reasons, with over 50% of those polled voting for each category listed above. The justifications for lack of customer loyalty can be summed up into general categories of restaurant ambience and customer service. These factors can make or break customer loyalty and help increase restaurant business. Therefore, businesses should make it a priority to ensure the highest level of atmosphere and service.
Having a theme of décor in a restaurant can create a desired restaurant ambience. A rustic, trendy, or upscale feel can help draw customers, but cleanliness is key. In Anthony Bourdain’s book, Kitchen Confidential, he explains the importance of cleanliness in a restaurant bathroom: “I won’t eat in a restaurant with filthy bathrooms. This isn’t a hard call. They let you see the bathrooms. If the restaurant can’t be bothered to replace the puck in the urinal or keep the toilets and floors clean, then just imagine what their refrigeration and work spaces look like. Bathrooms are relatively easy to clean. Kitchens are not.”
Having the proper janitorial supplies and restaurant staff on hand, with discipline to keep the entire restaurant clean, will make customers more comfortable eating the food and therefore increase customer loyalty. The letter grade of a restaurant, given by state health departments, creates transparency of the restaurant standards to potential customers before they even walk in. An “A” grade can increase restaurant business, while a “C” grade is sure to hurt it. Yet another way to improve restaurant ambience is by having hospitable customer service (except in rare cases). Dick’s Last Resort restaurants build their customer base off
A restaurant drink menu usually generates about 30% of the business’ profits. Drinks are a novelty that are relatively cheap when bought in bulk, but relatively expensive when purchased in small quantities. Diners are accustomed to having a beverage with each meal, and even simply dessert.Customers who draw up a lower bill by only ordering dessert are likely to order water or coffee to accompany the sweets. Both options can be sold for much higher a price than the food-cost, and require little work to prepare, allowing the profit margin to be high. This profit concept applies to the entire drink menu.
Creative Drinks and Drink Menu Ideas
Thousands of restaurant drink menus and coffee shops offer variations of flavored coffee to maximize the use of their high-end espresso machines. A restaurant drink menu can stand out by offering unique, creative drinks that are rarely found elsewhere. Popular drink recipes can be changed to add an interesting aspect to the drink that will prompt customers’ curiosity and lead them to order off the drink menu. Home made juices are a great way to show off quality ingredients and barman creativity on the non-alcoholic drink menu. Standard popular juices can be spiced up with herbs and vegetables: lemon-mint juice, peach-ginger, etc. Home made sodas are another interesting drink menu idea that has large profit margins. The soda can be as simple as a mixture of fruit puree, such as passion-fruit, and seltzer water. Carbonation machines make carbonating almost any beverage easy. The alcoholic drink menu also allows for creative drinks. Frozen fruits can be blended with alcohol, and herbs with quality blenders, in endless combinations. Businesses can infuse their own alcohol as