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 with new dishes and offer particularly good dishes, at a lower price. Customers can sample the dishes on the prix fixe menu, and may return in the future to order the dish á la carte, providing more revenue for the restaurant. On slow nights, offering interesting price fixed menus can increase business. Offering a French gourmet or fusion food theme can draw customers interested in trying something new, even in the middle of the week.
Restaurant Marketing and Your Price Fixed Menu
Depending on the target customers, the strategy for restaurant marketing of a prix fixe menu may change. An everyday, slow-hour business meal is best marketed by having a sign outside the restaurant. People walking past the venue on the way to work, or while searching for a place to dine, will be drawn in by an advertisement of the price and the dishes offered. A weekly price fixed dinner aimed at raising business traffic on slow nights can be marketed on the menu and on a social media page, as well as in the restaurant window, so that customers will be informed and hopefully be convinced to return. A price fixed menu for a holiday should be advertised in the restaurant window and on a social media page, as well as local newspapers or flyers, if possible, in order to maximize the publicity and draw even more diners. A price fixed menu, on its own, increases restaurant business and is appealing to customers. With clever restaurant marketing and creative price fixed menus, profits and business in a restaurant are sure to increase.