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In today's turbulent economy, chefs and restaurant owners may find themselves needing to adjust food prices and entree selections. Gas prices are affecting the price of everything from salmon to pasta. Daily menus solve pricing change problems and can be quite easy and effective.
It turns out that customers respond very positively to daily menus because they imply freshness. The heyday of the expensively produced, full-color, plastic-coated menu (very difficult to change frequently) is over.
Menu design is no longer just the realm of graphic designers: the internet now provides more solutions to "do-it-yourself." For example, the web site Must Have Menus offers menu templates to make menus amazingly quickly. A restaurant owner or employee can download a template to the restaurant's computer, change the copy to fit the day's menu, and print off the right number of menus right then and there on a computer printer. The same yearly subscription offers unlimited access to an online menu maker if the users would rather not own the software themselves.
Another bonus of daily menus is the ease with which you can change ingredients as prices rise or add and delete entire entrees. For example, if your almond-crusted tuna is sunk by an unreliable fish vendor, you can easily change your focus to salmon or swordfish. When food scares such as those in the recent past occur, eliminate customer concerns by skipping the spinach and switching to chard. If your signature dish becomes outrageously expensive due to circumstances beyond your control, you can easily transform your menu to accommodate your new delicious discoveries. As you experiment with flavors and ingredients, you can add an amazing personal creation to your offerings without reminding wait staff, printing sign boards, or absorbing the expense of new printed menus. Restaurant Discount Warehouse offers decorative menu papers to follow your business theme or food specialty. Use these to create menus for special events such as Cinco de Mayo or Italian Week at your restaurant. The broad range of themes available could find everyday uses as well.
There is one major pitfall to printing your own menus. Before you print a single menu, get your hands on a kitchen dictionary. You can find these at Barnes & Noble or similar bookstores. Many dishes have names based in foreign languages and many a chef and restaurateur have fallen victim to typos and misspellings in their efforts to become cutting edge. The most famous restaurants are never without a kitchen dictionary and you would be wise to not overlook this detail. In the heat of the kitchen, wording gets garbled, sentences get cut out and common typos slip through. While this is a danger of self printing, it is also a blessing. You can easily fix errors without having to wait for printers or use incorrect menus while the new ones are on order. Five minutes and the new menus are available for customers.
For some, daily menus can be a bit daunting. Major changes on a daily basis can cause frustration among employees and disappointment for customers when favorites are deleted or changes come too fast. But there is a happy balance. Personalized menus need not be printed daily; simply update them when you feel it necessary. Daily, weekly or monthly menus put you in control of your creations and allows chefs to experiment with ingredients and expand their talents. Popular dishes can be continued and options added to follow food trends. Poor sellers and out-of-season dishes can be dropped without a major outlay of money or time.
Check out your options for a daily menu and weigh the pros and cons for your particular establishment. No idea works for every restaurant, but you might find the creative options and flexibility of daily menus gives you the boost you need.
Written by: Caroline Retzer