Creating and serving “Menu Specials” in your restaurant will generate interest with your guests and will help motivate your staff and boost margins.
For many chefs and owners, the process of developing specials can be a task that is often neglected, thus resulting in “specials” that are not so special after all! Developing a plan of action for creating specials can make the whole precess run smoother and more enjoyable.
SIX TIPS TO HELP CREATE UNIQUE MENU SPECIALS:
1. PLAN AHEAD.
Try to plan a week’s worth of specials the week before you need them. This will give you plenty of time to order product that is needed, give your culinary staff time to research and plan, and provide the servers time to familarize themselves with the specials.
2. TALK TO YOUR STAFF.
Many times your staff will have great suggestions for a menu special. Your culinary staff will see it as a way to be creative and think “outside of the box” from their daily menus. The serving staff will see this as an opportunity to greet their guests and have a story ready to tell when approaching the table. Encourage your staff to come up with ideas that reflect their heritage. Be sure to ask your staff what specific dishes their customers have been requesting that are not on the menu.
3. WORK WITH SUPPLIERS.
Your suppliers can be a valuable source for menu ideas. Through new products, market trends, and items that they need to move and are motivated to sell at a discount. All of these ideas can provied your customers with a deal and you with better profits. All you need to do is ask your sales rep or supplier for deals.
4. GO SEASONAL.
Many seasonal products, such as produce and seafood, are perfect for menu specials. Talk to you rep to determine when a product will be at its best price and feature a special around that time.
5. CELEBRATE SOMETHING.
Restaurant owners find that focused specials and festivals attract more attention and easier to promote. Celebrations like St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco De Mayo lend themselves easily to creating special food ideas. Your specials can run for several days leading up to the specific day of celebration. Ask your sales rep for suppliers` point of sale to help promote the event.
6. CREAT A FESTIVAL.
Running a special promotion for a couple of weeks or even a month can generate interest. Events such as March Madness, Seafood Festival, or Cajun Week are examples of ideas to build menu specials from. These specials can run during traditionally slower periods during the year and can be promoted and advertised in the local newspaper.
Whatever you do to create specials in your restaurant, remember to plan ahead and use these specials as a way of creating excitement and opportunity to increase margins.
Source: Kraftfoodservice.com/Business Solutions, May 2008