SITHKOP002 Plan and cost basic menus Learner Workbook

AUSTRALIAN COLLEGE OF TRADE
SITHKOP002 Plan and cost basic menus Learner Guide

Unit of Competency

Application

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to plan and cost basic menus for dishes or food product ranges for any type of cuisine or food service style. It requires the ability to identify customer preferences, plan menus to meet customer and business needs, cost menus and evaluate their success.

It does not cover the specialist skills used by senior catering managers and chefs to design and cost complex menus after researching market preferences and trends. Those skills are covered in SITHKOP007 Design and cost menus.

The unit applies to hospitality and catering organisations. Menus can be for ongoing food service, for an event or function, or for a food product range such as patisserie products.

It applies to cooks, patissiers and catering personnel who usually work under the guidance of more senior chefs.

No occupational licensing, certification or specific legislative requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Competency Field

Kitchen Operations

Unit Sector

Hospitality

Performance Criteria

Element Performance Criteria

Elements describe the Performance criteria describe the performance needed to essential outcomes.demonstrate achievement of the element.

  1. Identify customer 1 Identify current customer profile for the food business.

preferences 1.2 Analyse food preferences of customer base

  1. Plan menus 1 Generate a range of ideas for menus for dishes or food production ranges, assess their merits, and discuss with relevant personnel
    • Choose menu items to meet customer preferences
    • Identify organisational service style and cuisine, and develop suitable menus
    • Include balanced variety of dishes or food production items for the style of service and cuisine
  1. Cost menus 1Itemise proposed components of included dishes or food production items
    • Calculate portion yields and costs from raw ingredients
    • Assess cost-effectiveness of proposed dishes or food production items and choose menu items that provide high yield
    • Price menu items to ensure maximum profitability
  1. Write menu content 1 Write menus using words that appeal to customer base and fit with the business service style
    • Use correct names for style of cuisine
    • Use descriptive writing to promote sale of menu items
  1. Evaluate menu success 5.1 Seek ongoing feedback from customers and others, and use to improve menu performance
    • Assess success of menus against customer satisfaction and sales data
    • Adjust menus based on feedback and profitability

Range of Conditions

Specifies different work environments and conditions that may affect performance. Essential operating conditions that may be present (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) are included.

Range is restricted to essential operating conditions and any other variables essential to the work environment.

Balanced variety must relate to different:

  • Colours
  • Cooking methods
  • Delicacies
  • Flavours
  • Nutritional values
  • Presentation
  • Seasonally available ingredients
  • Tastes ➢

Foundation Skills

This section describes language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills incorporated in the performance criteria that are required for competent performance.

Foundation skills essential to performance in this unit, but not explicit in the performance criteria are listed here, along with a brief context statement.

Writing skills:

  • Prepare menus and product descriptions to creatively explain menu dishes and promote sales.

Oral communication skills:

  • Listen and respond to routine customer feedback, and ask questions that inform menu choice.

Numeracy skills:

  • Calculate the cost of producing dishes for menus
  • Calculate mark-ups and selling price for profitability
  • Compare menu items based on their anticipated yield, budgetary constraints and profitability.

Problem-solving skills:

  • Evaluate the food service preferences of the customer profile and plan menus to meet those preferences
  • Identify unprofitable menu items and adjust menus to include high yield dishes.

Planning and organising skills:

  • Access and sort all information required for menu planning and for coordinating a menu development process.

Technology skills:

  • Use computers and software programs to cost and document menus.

Assessment Requirements

Performance Evidence

Evidence of the ability to complete tasks outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit in the context of the job role, and:

  • Identify and evaluate the food preferences of customer groups with differing characteristics and use to inform menu planning
  • Develop and cost each of the following menu types based on above information:
    • à la carte o buffet o cyclical o degustation o ethnic o set o table d’hôte o seasonal
  • Evaluate success of the above menus by obtaining at least two of the following types of feedback:
    • customer satisfaction discussions with:
      • customers
      • employees during the course of each business day o customer surveys o improvements suggested by:
      • customers
      • managers
      • peers
      • staff
      • supervisors
      • suppliers o regular staff meetings that involve menu discussions o seeking staff suggestions for menu items
    • Develop the above menus within commercial time constraints, demonstrating:
      • use of balanced variety of dishes and ingredients o methods for determining costs of supply for ingredients
      • methods and formulas for calculating portion yields and costs from raw ingredients o methods for responding to feedback and adjusting menus o methods for achieving desired profit margins, mark-up procedures and rates o use of different types and styles of menus for dishes or food production ranges.

Knowledge Evidence

Demonstrated knowledge required to complete the tasks outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit:

  • Organisation-specific information: o sources of information on current customer profile and food preferences o service style and cuisine o costs of supply for ingredients
  • Methods and formulas for calculating portion yields and costs from raw ingredients: o butcher’s test o standard measures o standard yield tests
  • Hospitality and catering industry desired profit margins, mark-up procedures and rates
  • Different types and styles of menus for dishes or food production ranges for different types of food outlets
  • Range of food preferences relating to:
    • contemporary eating habits o cultural and ethnic influences o popular menu items o quick service foods o seasonal dishes o variety of food products
  • Differing characteristics of customer groups:
    • age range o buying power o gender o income level
    • social and cultural background
  • Influence of seasonal products and commodities on menu content
  • Naming conventions and culinary terms for a variety of cuisines ➢ Formats for and inclusion of menus presented to customers ➢ Methods of assessing the popularity of menu items:
    • customer surveys o popularity index o sales data.

Assessment Conditions

Skills must be demonstrated in a hospitality business operation where menus are planned and costed. This can be:

  • An industry workplace
  • A simulated industry environment or activity.

Assessment must ensure access to:

  • Commercial information: o preferred supplier arrangements o purchase specifications o sources of negotiated cost of supply:
    • tariffs
    • price lists
  • Product information: o food preparation lists o menus for restaurants
    • price lists o recipes o costs of food supply for food service businesses o menus for the variety of cuisines and service styles specified in the performance evidence.

Assessors must satisfy the Standards for Registered Training Organisations’ requirements for assessors; and:

  • Have worked in industry for at least three years where they have applied the skills and knowledge of this unit of competency.

Links

Companion Volume Implementation Guide: - http://www.serviceskills.com.au/resources

1. Identify customer preferences

1.1. Identify current customer profile for the food business.

1.2. Analyse food preferences of customer base.

1.1 – Identify current customer profile for the food business

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Explain who the target customer of their business is ➢ Research the customers to find out their characteristics
  • Plan and implement menus based on customer profile.

Identifying customer profile

It is important for businesses to determine how to identify their best customers in order to be successful. The best customers are the ones who are loyal to the business and deliver high value. Attracting a large number of customers is not always beneficial for the company if they are going to be of little value and disloyal. It is more beneficial to focus on the loyal customers and put more time and effort into attracting and engaging them. This will help the business to achieve higher profits, instead of using a blanket approach and trying to appeal to every type of customer. The key to achieving this is to understand the target customers’ needs and requirements and then develop a strategy to meet these. 

The target customers are the ones most likely to buy your products or service. If your business doesn’t already have one, you should research and develop a customer profile that identifies the characteristics, behaviours and attitudes of the target customers. This will help you to develop menus and cater your services around them and their needs. Customers will have different food preferences depending on their characteristics so it is important to identify and evaluate these when you are planning a menu. Whether you are creating menus for ongoing food service, an event or function, or a food product range, it is important to do your customer research beforehand in order to achieve the best results.

Modified from sources: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/target-market-customer-profile-22543.html and http://www.businessreviewaustralia.com/marketing/815/How-to-identify-and-engage-with-goodcustomers. Accessed on 02/11/2016.

Things you will need to consider when creating a target customer profile:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Lifestyle
  • Occupation
  • Income level
  • Cultural and social background
  • Location and distance from your business
  • Buying behaviour
  • Expectations

Activity 1A

1.2 – Analyse food preferences of customer base

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Identify and evaluate food preferences of customers
  • Explain the different characteristics of customer groups
  • Use knowledge of customer’s food preferences to create menu.

Identify food preferences 

It is important to find out what your customer’s food preferences are to make sure the event or function is a success and make sure the customer is happy with the menu. There are many factors that you should consider and analyse when planning a menu that can influence what customers’ food preferences are.

The differing characteristics of customer groups are:

  • Age range – their age could determine what type of food they will like, so it is important to find out what ages you will be catering for. For example, children and young adults are more likely to want simple party food such as a hot or cold buffet, whereas older adults are likely to want more creative and formal dishes, such as an a la carte or set menu.
  • Buying power – this generally means customers with higher incomes who can afford to pay for the services. Customers with low consumer buying power may have lower incomes so they may not have enough money to pay for the services. This knowledge is important for businesses to make sure they earn a profit from customers. This will help to determine how much is spent on goods and what prices the services should be. It is important that you have inventory to meet demand; however, you also need to ensure that you have enough customers to pay for it so you aren’t losing out on money.

Source: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/consumer-buying-power-68682.html. Accessed on 02/11/2016.

  • Gender – the gender of customers will also determine what food will be required. If you are catering for men, they may prefer simpler buffet food, whereas women are likely to go for something fancier and more creative, and they may want formal dishes that look more appealing and presentable. So it is a good idea to find out what gender you will be catering for mostly.
  • Income level – this will determine what customers will be able to afford. Customers with higher incomes will be able to afford more luxury food, whereas people with lower incomes may not have as much money to spend. It is important to consider this when buying food and setting prices, as you don’t want to be spending more than you make, and you should make sure it is affordable for the customer.
  • Social and cultural background – this can mean someone’s race, language, education, lifestyle and religion etc. Customers will have different backgrounds and this will have an impact on the type of food that is required. It is important to find out this information about the customer and to ask if they have any personal preferences. Customers may want a different style of food depending on their ethnicity, or if they are religious it is important to buy and prepare the right type of food for them otherwise, they may not be able to eat it.

Different food preferences

Customers will have different food preferences for the event and it is important to find out what these are before purchasing the food items and planning the menu. 

Food preferences may include:

  • Special requirements – customers will have individual preferences of what they do and don’t like to eat. There may be certain foods that they don’t enjoy or are allergic to. For example, they could be vegetarian and may not want any meat or fish to be served at the event, so it is important to speak to them to find out if there is anything you should avoid putting on the menu.
  • Cultural and ethnic influences – this will have a big impact on the menu as different cultures provide strict guidelines regarding acceptable foods, combinations, eating patterns and eating behaviours. Following these guidelines will be very important to the customer so you should speak to them beforehand to find out exactly what their cultural preferences are.

Modified from source: http://www.faqs.org/nutrition/Diab-Em/Eating-Habits.html. Accessed on 02/11/2016.

  • Quick service foods – the type of event may require quick and simple food such as buffet or barbeque food, or the customer may prefer this so that food can be served quickly and guests won’t have to wait a long time.
  • Seasonal dishes – the customer may want the food to go with the season. For example, if the event or function is happening in the winter, the customer may request winter warming food for guests such as pies, stews and soups etc.
  • Variety of food products – customers may request a variety of food to be served to appeal to different guests, so this would be best served as a hot or cold buffet so guests can pick and choose what they like.

Activity 1B

2. Plan menus

2.1. Generate a range of ideas for menus for dishes or food production ranges, assess their merits, and discuss with relevant personnel.

2.2. Choose menu items to meet customer preferences.

2.3. Identify organisational service style and cuisine, and develop suitable menus.

2.4. Include balanced variety of dishes or food production items for the style of service and cuisine.

2.1 – Generate a range of ideas for menus for dishes or food production ranges, assess their merits, and discuss with relevant personnel

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Use the customer’s preferences to select the right type of menu
  • Generate and display a range of food ideas for different menus
  • Implement ideas into planning and preparing the menu.

Ideas for menus

Once you have identified the customer’s preferences, it is time to select the type of menu and come up with ideas for dishes. The menu should be chosen based on the customer’s needs and the type of event. A menu is a presentation of lists of food on offer at the event or restaurant, and some offer detailed descriptions of the dish and the ingredients in it. It is considered one of the most important aspects of planning when running a food service operation. Therefore, the menu should be planned and prepared carefully to ensure it meets the customer’s needs. Traditionally, two types of food menus are offered in food operation, which are the table d’hote and the a la carte and other menus are usually adaptions of these. 

Modified from source: http://www.hospitality-school.com/types-menus-restaurant. Accessed on 04/11/2016.

Different types of menus:

  • A la carte – this is a French term meaning ‘according to the card’ or ‘customer’s order’. It is a very popular menu type especially in restaurants, and it offers a wider range of food and beverages which are individually priced. Due to the wide selection of dishes, it requires more mise en place preparation, space and time as the dishes are made from fresh. Food is usually offered in courses and different categories and has a short description underneath the name of the dish to explain what it is. Dishes are generally more expensive than in the table d’hote menu as they are made up of expensive seasonal fresh foods.
  • Buffet – this is a form of table d’hote menu as it offers a limited selection of food items at a predetermined set price. A buffet is usually available at a set time with the dishes presented together at the same time. The food in a buffet can vary depending on the occasion and event, and it can include party food or more formal, creative dishes.
  • Cyclical – this type of menu offers specific food items which repeat in a cycle for a set period, for example, 7, 10, 14 or 28 days. It is usually offered in a four-cycle for a year, and then after this, a new set menu is introduced on the basis of seasonal dishes.
  • Degustation – this is a French culinary term which means sampling a range of small dishes that are served one after the other. It is designed for savouring food and appreciating the ingredients and the chef’s cooking skills. These menus are popular in upmarket restaurants. The meal usually takes place over several hours and can consist of up to twenty small dishes paired with different wines.
  • Set – this is used mostly by restaurants that offer the same dishes all year round, with the food separated into different sections on the menu such as starters, mains and salads etc. Fast food outlets also use set menus as they consistently have the same food on offer to customers.
  • Table d’hote – this is a French term meaning ‘food from the host’s table’. It is a classified menu that offers a complete meal at a fixed price for guests, regardless of how much food has been consumed. It usually has a small selection of courses which are popular food items, and the dishes are prepared at a set time. It is an easier food operation as it requires less preparation and minimum waste. Adaptations of this menu include:
  • breakfast menu – this offers a selection of food at a reasonable price, and the dishes are usually prepared quickly after the order is taken and served to guests
  • lunch menu – this offers daily specials from the food organisation, which are usually served in smaller portions
  • dinner menu – this offers both a la carte and semi a la carte food. It usually offers more appetisers and starters than a lunch menu and the food is served to the guests table
  • ethnic menu – this offers dishes that are representative of food from a particular region or country o speciality menu – this is a combination of both a la carte and semi la carte foods
  • room service menu – food offered on this menu can be more limited and expensive than the normal table service menu. It is usually ordered by phone and delivered to the guest room.
  • lounge menu – this is offered in either a la carte or semi a la carte style. These menus are generally served in hotels and spas and offer selective food items that are easier to prepare and serve.

➢ Seasonal – this menu offers a range of dishes that change throughout the year depending on the season. For example, in winter the menu would contain winter warmer foods such as roast dinners, pies, soups and stews. Ingredients such as fruit and vegetables generally taste better when they are in the right season, so matching food with the seasons ensures it will be at its best condition.

Modified from sources: http://www.hospitality-school.com/types-menus-restaurant and http://gomexico.about.com/od/fooddrink/a/degustation.htm. Accessed on 03/11/2016.

Discuss with relevant personnel

It is important to discuss different types of menu and food options with the customer to ensure they are satisfied with everything before you start preparing it for the event. Ask the customer questions to find out exactly what their needs and requirements are so you can make sure you get it right. You should also assess whether a certain style of menu would be suitable for the event or function, and work out which would be the best type. You should also discuss menu plans with employees to make sure they understand what is required of them and work effectively at the event. A meeting should take place each business day so that all staff working at the event is aware of the food that needs to be prepared and any other customer requirements. 

Feedback is crucial to improving and achieving success, so it is important to gather feedback from customers throughout. You should listen and respond to all customer feedback, whether positive or negative and ask them questions to find out how you can make any improvements. This will help you to produce a menu that ensures customer satisfaction.

Activity 2A

2.2 – Choose menu items to meet customer preferences / 2.3 – Identify organisational service style and cuisine, and develop suitable menus

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Use their knowledge of customer preferences to choose menu items
  • Identify organisational service style and cuisine
  • Develop and implement suitable menus for the event.

Choosing menu items and service style

Before choosing menu items, you should gather information on the customer profile and find out their food preferences to determine what food items need to be purchased for the event or function.

Service style and cuisine

You will then need to identify the organisational service style and cuisine so you can start planning the catering. The service style and cuisine are important decisions to make in the planning process as they will determine the menu, inventory, food prices and décor of the venue. The chosen style and cuisine will depend on personal preferences so it is important to discuss this with the customer and make sure they are happy with the decision. You should be aware of the characteristics of different service styles, so you can advise the customer and find the most suitable one for their event.

Modified from source: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/4-styles-service-restaurant-business-

22923.html. Accessed on 03/11/2016.

Different service styles include:

  • Chinese service – it is a unique and sophisticated service style. Chopsticks are served with most foods, and food is usually served individually on large platters or in bowls in the middle of the table so guests can pick and choose. Sweet foods are often served at the beginning of and during the meal, followed by rice or soup at the end of the meal. Guests are also seated on longer tables to accommodate more people
  • Banquet service – this formal service is usually used in hotels, casinos and restaurants in a conference room. The menu, number of guests and time of service will all be predetermined and set, and the service will be organised and paid for in advance. There are usually plenty of choices on the menu for guests. Water and coffee is also placed on the table throughout the event
  • Buffet style service –this style of service is usually used in banquet halls catering to large numbers of guests. Food can be served by chefs standing by the buffet tables or guests can help themselves. They can select from a variety of food served out on tables and crockery and cutlery is placed at the top of the table for guests to help themselves.

Buffet food can include salads, soups, hot dishes, breads and desserts. It is most commonly used at parties and celebrations

  • Silver service – this is a formal and traditionally English service style, mostly used at big events and celebrations. The cutlery and service dishes are all made of silver, and the food is portioned in the kitchen for all the guests then served out on a plate. It is then placed on a sideboard with heating burners to keep it warm and served out to each guests from the left using a spoon and fork. Food is presented in a neat and appealing way, and the table setting includes hors d’oeuvre (appetisers/starters), soup, main course and dessert.

Modified from source: http://www.hospitality-school.com/food-beverage-servicetypes-restaurant. Accessed on 03/11/2016.

Develop suitable menus 

Once you have confirmed everything with the customer and they are happy with the plans, you should start developing and preparing the menus for the event. Evaluate the food service preferences of the customer profile and plan menus around this to meet the preferences. You should gather all the information you need to plan the menu and coordinate a menu development process. Write descriptions on the menu to creatively explain each dish, make them sound appetising to the customer, and to promote sales. 

How to develop a suitable menu:

  • Speak to the customer before developing the menu to make sure they are happy with everything and to get the go-ahead
  • Ask questions to find out about any allergies or dietary requirements that you will need to take into consideration
  • Gather all the information you need about customer requirements and food preferences etc. and refer to it when creating the menu to make sure you stay on track
  • Write creative descriptions for all the dishes to make them sound appealing and to let people know what is in them
  • Once you have created the menu, show it to the customer and allow them to check it over to make sure they are happy with it

Menu design is a very important aspect of selling and promoting your business, so you need to know exactly what to include when creating it and how to attract customers’ attention. 

Tips for designing menus:

  • Capture your defining characteristics – design the menu to reflect your organisations image and values. Think about the colours and any graphics you use and question whether they convey your organisation’s brand image well. For example, if your organisation is known for being upmarket, then opt for a classic, understated design

with classy colours to fit with the brand. Alternatively, if you want to convey a more fun and friendly image then try adding some brighter colours and some fun graphics to the menu to make it appeal to customers

  • Make sure it is easy to read – think about the type of font you are using and the size of the writing. You need to make sure it is the right size for people to be able to read it, but you also don’t want it to be too big. Make sure the background pictures or colours are the right shade and the text stands out. Also, make sure the language fits with the menu type and the customer so they are able to understand it. It is a good idea to print it out first to see what it looks like then make any adjustments needed
  • Break it down into categories – this makes it easier for the customer to read through and it also shows that you offer a variety of dishes to cater to people with different tastes and requirements, such as vegetarians and allergy sufferers. Use a larger font for the heading of each category to make it stand out more
  • Be descriptive – provide as much detail as you can about the dishes to entice customers and make the food sound appealing. It is also important to let the customers know what is in the dishes so they can make the right decision when choosing food.

Modified from source: https://www.musthavemenus.com/guide/restaurantcatering/catering-menu-design.html. Accessed on 03/11/2016.

Activity 2B

2.4 – Include balanced variety of dishes or food production items for the style of service and cuisine

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Research different types of dishes to match the style of service and cuisine
  • Select a balanced variety of food production items to use at the event
  • Implement a balanced variety of dishes into the menu.

Balanced variety of dishes

When planning a menu, it is best to offer a variety of food options for guests to choose from. A balanced variety of dishes will make the food look more appealing and interesting whether it is presented as a buffet or as a formal meal. It is also important to have a wide variety of options to ensure you are catering for everyone and not excluding any customers. You should make sure the dishes are suitable for the style of service and cuisine at the event, and that the customer is happy with the choices of food on offer. There are many ways you can add variety to the menu by being creative with dishes and using a range of ingredients. You should first decide on the special, meat and main course dishes that will be served, and then build the rest of the menu around these dishes. 

Catering for special requirements 

It is important to make sure you are catering for customers with special dietary requirements and allergies. For example, you should provide a range of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options on the menu so those customers have options to choose from. You should also consider offering healthier lowcalorie dishes as well for customers who are dieting or eating healthier foods. Generally, meals should consist of a variety of the following foods from the five food groups:

  • Meat
  • Milk and milk products
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Bread and cereals
  • Fats and oils

Modified from source: http://www.hospitalityconsult.com.au/pdf/Rest/Menu-

Planning%20-Writing.pdf. Accessed on 04/11/2016.

How to include a balanced variety of dishes:

  • Colours – try to add a variety of different colourful foods to dishes, such as a mixture of vegetables, salad or fruit. This will make the dishes look more interesting and appealing to customers and is likely to be healthier
  • Cooking methods – this is easier to do when preparing a buffet as they usually contain lots of different foods, but you should try to include a variety of foods cooked in different ways, such as a mix of fried, steamed, grilled and roasted foods. For example, if you’re serving fried steak or chicken, pair it with steamed or roasted vegetables
  • Delicacies – adding some expensive delicacies to dishes will enhance the appearance, flavour and texture, and add a touch of luxury to the dish. Australian delicacies include pavlova, damper, lamingtons and pie floaters
  • Flavours – try adding a variety of flavours to your dish to give it a more exciting and unique taste. A good example of this is sweet and sour dishes, and using herbs and spices when cooking
  • Nutritional values – a balanced meal should include plenty of plant-based foods that contain a variety of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Make sure you check the nutritional value of foods before cooking and aim to use large portions of vegetables, fruits and grains for a healthy and balanced meal
  • Presentation –present meals in a creative way that looks appealing and displays the balanced variety of foods. Also, think about arranging the food so the whole dish looks colourful and appetising
  • Seasonally available ingredients – try to match the dishes you make with the seasons to get the most from the ingredients you buy. This applies mainly to vegetables and fruit, which taste better in season, usually around the spring and summer months. However, food costs can fluctuate when in season, so you would need to either factor this into your prices to make a profit, or try balancing the dishes out with less expensive items
  • Textures – it is good to have a variety of texture on the plate to make it more interesting, such as soft and chewy foods mixed with foods with a firmer texture. For example, chewy meats mixed with soft vegetables or salad.

Activity 2C

3. Cost menus

3.1. Itemise proposed components of included dishes or food production items.

3.2. Calculate portion yields and costs from raw ingredients.

3.3. Assess cost-effectiveness of proposed dishes or food production items and choose menu items that provide high yield.

3.4. Price menu items to ensure maximum profitability.

3.1 – Itemise proposed components of included dishes or food production items / 3.2 – Calculate portion yields and costs from raw ingredients

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Itemise components of dishes or food production items
  • Calculate and adjust portion yields
  • Calculate and document costs from raw ingredients.

Itemise components of dishes

When providing a quote for food services to a customer, you should produce an itemised list stating the proposed components of dishes or food production items. Itemising a list means to write each item down individually, including the price and sometimes details about the items as well. This will allow the customer to see exactly what they are paying for and give them the opportunity to calculate the items themselves if they wish to do so. If an itemised list is not voluntarily provided to the customer, they are likely to ask for one before they make a decision about the services or make any payments. 

Why you should itemise components of dishes:

  • To provide the customer with detailed and honest information
  • Keep track of the components and food production items that are included
  • Show professionalism and good organisational skills
  • It may encourage the customer to consider your services.

Calculate portion yields

Recipes will sometimes need to be modified, i.e. increased or decreased, in order to serve the right amounts. For example, if a recipe only serves 4 and you need it to serve 25, then you would need to modify it using a calculation. You may also need to adapt a recipe from different units or determine how much food in a recipe costs to ensure you can make a profit. Yield is how much a recipe will make, and portion is how much you would serve one person. 

To adjust the yield of a recipe, you will first need to find out the recipe conversion factor. Once you find out this factor, you would then multiply all the ingredient amounts by it, and then convert the new measurements into appropriate units. 

The calculation for adjusting yield is:

  • Desired yield / original yield = recipe conversion factor (RCF)
  • Ingredients amounts x recipe conversion factor = new recipe

Some ingredients may be more difficult to scale than others, such as herbs, spices and salt, and you may need to convert some measurements into different units in order to do the calculation accurately. However, some ingredients will be easier to calculate and will just require a simply increase or decrease.

For example, if the recipe made 5 servings and you needed to amend it to 50, you would simply multiply 5 by 10 to get your desired amount. Once you have the new ingredients amounts, you may need to round it or convert it to another unit of measure so it is easier to work with. It is advisable to test the new recipe to make sure it works right, and make any adjustments until you are happy with it. 

Modified from source: http://chefsblade.monster.com/training/articles/211-the-ultimate-guide-torecipe-calculation?page=2. Accessed on 07/11/2016.

Calculate costs from raw ingredients 

When calculating food costs and pricing, you will need to include the costs of the total ingredients used, as well as any other expenses such as cost of energy, gas, VAT, room costs and salaries etc. This can be done manually on a cost sheet by calculating the ingredients, or you can use computer software programs to help you cost and document it. You will need to add all your expenses up and then subtract your inventory to determine the total costs of food. When pricing foods, you should combine all the ingredient costs that have been used in the dish and divide the total by 0.35. This will leave you with the minimum cost that you need to charge in order to make a profit on the food. 

Food cost percentage formula is a calculation that’s shows the percentage of how much it costs to prepare a meal: Food cost percentage = total costs of ingredients / sale price.

Modified from sources: http://possector.com/menu/how-to-calculate-food-costs and

http://www.gourmetmarketing.net/costing-pricing-food-regular-menus-catering-services-specialevents/. Accessed on 07/11/2016.

Different ways to calculate costs:

  • Butcher’s test – this is a test used to determine the standard portion costs of items that are portioned after cooking. For example, meat, fish and poultry are cut and trimmed before serving so not the entire portion is given to the customer. To do this test, you would need to weigh the full portion first, cut and trim the meat as normal, then keep all the parts separately and weigh them. Some parts of the meat may be used to make other dishes so you would need to keep a record of this and factor it into the price of the relevant dish.
  • Standard yield tests – this is a test used to determine what the costs of food products are per person before it is served out. This test should be done for all ingredients and recipes, and you should also consider the losses and waste that will occur during preparation and cooking, and include these in the menu price.

Modified from source:

https://opentextbc.ca/basickitchenandfoodservicemanagement/chapter/yield-testing/. Accessed on 07/11/2016.

Activity 3A

3.3 – Assess cost-effectiveness of proposed dishes or food production items and choose menu items that provide high yield / 3.4 – Price menu items to ensure maximum profitability

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Work out variable and fixed costs of dishes and assess cost-effectiveness
  • Calculate profit goals and select menu items that provide highest yield
  • Price menu items to ensure profitability.

Cost-effectiveness of dishes 

It is important to assess the cost-effectiveness of dishes on a regular basis to ensure you are making a profit from them and choose the menu items that provide the highest yield. It can be difficult setting prices for your dishes, as you don’t want them to be too high to deter customers away, but at the same time, you don’t want them to be too low that you don’t make any profit from them. When determining the price and cost-effectiveness of a dish, you will need to include all the costs involved in making it.

Variable costs

These are the costs that change depending on the amount, i.e. how many people you are serving:

  • Raw ingredients
  • Producing
  • Packaging/storage
  • Transportation
  • Labour
  • Marketing

Fixed costs

These are the costs that remain the same and do not alter, regardless of the amount you’re making:

  • Hire costs
  • Equipment
  • Kitchen, building or facility
  • Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Management

When assessing the cost-effectiveness of dishes, you will need to take all these costs into account and make sure you include them in your calculations. The formula for this would be:

Cost of production = variable costs + fixed costs 

Break-even point

This is a calculation that is used to find the point where costs are covered by a price and volume. This means there would be no loss or profit made from the sale of the dish, as you would simply break even. To work this out, you will need to find out the variable costs involved in producing one of the dishes, and then find out what your monthly fixed costs for the business are. The calculation for this would be:

Break-even point = fixed costs per month / variable costs of one dish.

Calculating profits and pricing items 

Once you have worked out how to cover your costs, it is important to ensure you can make a sufficient profit from the menu items. Therefore, you should set your profit goals as a percentage higher than the cost of the product. It is advisable to look at the prices charged in the industry for the same product to make sure you are setting a realistic and suitable profit goal. It should be a figure that is beneficial to your business and one that is also of value to customers purchasing it. The profit margin should be around 30-35%, meaning you should earn that percentage in profit when the product is sold. The formula to calculate profit goals is:

Selling price / mark-up factor (profit percentage) = cost to producer 

The percentage would need to be converted to a mark-up factor to be able to do the calculation. Below is a mark-up factor table that you can use to convert it:

Margin percentage

Factor

30.0

1.429

31.0

1.450

32.0

1.471

33.0

1.493

34.0

1.515

35.0

1.539

40.0

1.667

45.0

1.818

50.0

2.000

60.0

2.500

Modified from source: http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex1137. Accessed on 08/11/2016.

Activity 3B

4. Write menu content

4.1. Write menus using words that appeal to customer base and fit with the business service style.

4.2. Use correct names for style of cuisine.

4.3. Use descriptive writing to promote sale of menu items.

4.1 – Write menus using words that appeal to customer base and fit with the business service style

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Write menus using words and language that appeal to customers base
  • Design menus carefully to reflect the style and concept of the business
  • Display creativity skills by designing menus, completing descriptions, layout and pricing.

Writing menus 

A menu should not only inform customers of the food options and prices, it should also reflect your business style and concept. You should spend time writing the menu carefully, and use it as a marketing tool for promoting the business and attracting a wide range of customers. When designing and writing a menu, you will need to consider the following elements: description, layout and pricing. A menu needs to be professional and also accurate in the descriptions and pricing to make sure it is isn’t misleading to customers. You will also need to consider your customer base and make sure the style of writing and language used would appeal to them. Make sure you use a computer and design software to create the menu as this will make it look more attractive and professional.

How to write an effective menu:

  • Description – the descriptions should be easy to understand, so you should avoid using any words or phrases that are too complicated and be careful to avoid any spelling errors. It is best to keep it short and simple but to also write it in a creative and interesting way that will entice the customer. It is important to explain what the main ingredients are in the dish so that customers know what they are ordering, and you will also need to describe how the dish is prepared and served. You should also use ethnic names for suitable dishes, and mention any special stand-out features of the dish.
  • Layout – the menu design should match your business concept or theme. You will need to think about what colours and images would best represent it and use these for the menu. For example, to match a classy and expensive image, you would be best to opt for natural and subtle colours to give off the right impression. You will also need to consider what style font to go for. For example, a classic script font or a simple font would work well for a classy business image as it would look more formal and expensive. Make sure the font is the correct size for the menu and easy to read.
  • Pricing – you will need to work out the correct food costs to ensure you make a profit but are not overcharging customers. When pricing the dishes, food cost and portion control are the main factors to consider. It is best to create a balance of expensive and inexpensive food items to ensure a profit.
    • food cost – this refers to the menu price of a dish in comparison the cost of the food that was used to prepare the dish. Food cost should be around 30-35%. For example, whatever you pay for something, you would need to add 30-35% on to the price and that would be the amount you should charge for the dish to make a profit. This covers the costs of the food, someone preparing the food and serving it, as well as someone cleaning up after it. For example, if you work in a restaurant you would need to make sure that everything used, including gas and electric, is covered by the amount you’re charging. You also need to make sure you are charging for all ingredients, including any sauces or garnishes used as well as the main food items.

The formula to work this out is cost of your product/0.35 = menu price. For example, if you worked out your food costs to be a total $8.50 then the calculation would be: £8.50/0.35 = $24.29. If the final number is an unusual number, then you would round it up to $24.99, for example. If you decide to charge any higher than this then you would make a bigger profit as your costs would be lower. 

  • portion control – in order to make a big profit on food, it is important to know exactly how much of each ingredient is required to make the dish. To do this accurately, you would need to practice measuring ingredients out and weighing them to make sure it is the correct amount. You can also buy portion control cups and containers to store ingredients in to ensure you don’t make a mistake and add too much. Experienced chefs can usually tell how much to add by looking at the ingredients instead of measuring it as they will get used to making the same dishes and adding the same portions. Some restaurants, such as chain ones, are very strict on portion control and because of this, they tend to make a bigger profit than others.

Modified from sources: https://www.thebalance.com/tips-for-writing-your-restaurantmenu-2888584 and https://www.thebalance.com/layout-menu-prices-and-food-cost-

  1. 2888801. Accessed on 07/11/2016.

Common menu mistakes 

If the right amount of time and effort is not put into creating menus then the end result is likely to contain errors and mistakes, which could have a negative impact on your business. Not everyone will notice these errors, but customers who have meticulous attention to detail will pick up on these straight away, and it can give the impression that the business is careless and unprofessional. 

Common mistakes to avoid when writing a menu:

  • Crowded menu with little room for descriptions
  • Text that is too small to read
  • Using lots of different languages
  • Complicated words or phrases that are difficult to understand
  • Lack of description for each dish
  • Too wordy, instead of short and simple descriptions
  • No logical order and organisation in the menu layout
  • Inaccurate pricing
  • Misleading descriptions
  • Handwritten instead of printed out
  • Missing out basic information such as address, phone number, hours of business, website address and methods of payment etc.

Modified from source: http://www.hospitalityconsult.com.au/pdf/Rest/Menu-

Planning%20-Writing.pdf. Accessed on 07/11/2016.

Activity 4A

4.2 – Use correct names for style of cuisine

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Name and describe different cuisines and dishes accurately
  • Prepare food dishes from different cuisines.

Types of cuisine

When preparing food for an event or restaurant, you will most likely be preparing dishes from different cuisines. However, a customer may ask you to prepare dishes from a cuisine you are not familiar with, so it is important that you are aware of different popular cuisines so you can prepare them and describe them on the menu accurately. Below is a list of some of the most popular cuisines around the world and the dishes they are renowned for. 

Different cuisines include:

  • Mexican – this cuisine is popular in America, and it includes dishes such as chilli con carne, enchiladas, and other spicy dishes
  • Italian – a world favourite cuisine, including pasta dishes, lasagne, bread and pizza ➢ Indian – a varied cuisine including curries, rice, sweet and hot and spicy dishes
  • Thai – includes broths, noodles, herbs, and a range of sweet, sour and spicy tastes
  • Greek – similar to Italian cuisine, it includes Mediterranean style dishes with herbs, olive oil, feta, fish and various meats
  • Chinese – a diverse cuisine including noodles, rice, vegetables, tofu, duck and a range of meat dishes
  • Japanese – popular options in this cuisine are noodles, tofu, sushi and vegetables
  • American – this is a popular cuisine offering a range of different foods, including deep dish pizzas, hot dogs, hamburgers and buffalo wings
  • Mediterranean – includes fruits, vegetables, seafood and olive oil dishes
  • French – a unique cuisine with dishes including cheese, chocolate and baguettes, and fine wine
  • Spanish – includes mildly spiced dishes such as seafood and tapas
  • German – includes potatoes, various breads, cheese and sausages
  • Caribbean – this cuisine includes peppers, tropical fruits, fish, green vegetables, sweet potatoes, rice, salsa and coconut.

Modified from source: http://www.herinterest.com/types-of-cuisine/. Accessed on 07/11/2016.

Activity 4B

4.3 – Use descriptive writing to promote sale of menu items

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Write descriptively about menu items
  • Use descriptive words and metaphors to promote the sale of menu items.

Promoting sales

When writing about menu items, you should write descriptively to entice the customer in and encourage them to order from you. To do this effectively, you will need to focus on the concept of the business and draw out distinguishing aspects of the food, focusing on the appearance, texture and taste of it. Think of it as you’re telling the customer a story about the dishes and you want them to imagine everything you are saying. Menus should be designed to primarily promote the business and increase sales, so you should focus on being creative, using descriptive words and metaphors throughout to really sell the food to the customer.

Tips for promoting sale of menu items:

  • Write specific descriptions of food items – focusing on tastes, smells, emotions and how the food makes you feel
  • Explain dishes in a creative way to make them sound more interesting
  • Use the right language and write in a way that the customer will understand
  • Entice the reader in with the detailed description to make them want to order the dish straight away
  • You should describe all items as if it is the best on the menu
  • If it is an online menu, use keywords that the customer is likely to search for
  • Don’t be too wordy; be descriptive but keep it short, up to two sentences is best
  • Be clear and concise; don’t confuse or bore the customer with complex descriptions
  • Be accurate in your descriptions; don’t mislead the customer or over exaggerate
  • Effective words you could use include texture, flavour, bittersweet, tangy, juicy, fresh, delicately, palette, yummy, irresistible, taste sensations and paired
  • Good words to use when describing how something is cooked are slow-roasted, panseared, crispy, crunchy, caramelised and wood burned.

Modified from sources: http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/style-and-

usage/descriptive-words-for-menu-copy.html and http://restaurantengine.com/menudescriptions/. Accessed on 07/11/2016.

Activity 4C

5. Evaluate menu success

5.1. Seek ongoing feedback from customers and others, and use to improve menu performance.

5.2. Assess success of menus against customer satisfaction and sales data.

5.3. Adjust menus based on feedback and profitability.

5.1 – Seek ongoing feedback from customers and others, and use to improve menu performance / 5.2 – Assess success of menus against customer satisfaction and sales data

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Seek feedback from customers, employees and others about menu items
  • Use feedback to implement changes and improve menu performance
  • Use customer satisfaction and sales data to assess success of menus.

Seek ongoing feedback 

It is important to obtain feedback from both customers and employees to find out their views and how satisfied they are with the menu. Gathering feedback allows you to spot where improvements need to be made and then make the necessary changes. There should be regular staff meetings to discuss the menu and listen to any staff suggestions for new menu items. This would provide an opportunity to ask them questions to inform future menu choices and gather their opinions on what changes should be made to improve menu performance. Surveys are a good way to gather feedback from customers, and the results would give you a good idea of whether the menu is a success or whether changes need to be made in order to achieve customer satisfaction.

Customer feedback

Gathering feedback from customers is important to show that you are serious about the business, care about their thoughts and opinions, and want to achieve customer satisfaction. It is also important for finding out what changes need to made and getting ahead of the competition.

Ways you can gather feedback from customers:

  • Ask them questions – this is the easiest and most effective way to find out what customers really want, and you shouldn’t assume you already know this before asking. You could ask customers questions in person to find out, or use a customer survey to gather the information
  • Imagine you are the customer – it is a good way to understand customers experience and viewpoint by imagining you are them, and even acting as customer to get a real feel of the customer experience
  • Focus groups – in these groups, customers have the opportunity to tell you directly about their views, needs and preferences, so you can understand exactly who your customers types are and how you can cater for them
  • Questionnaires and surveys – this is one of the most effective feedback techniques as customers are likely to be more honest about their opinions and suggestions through writing as opposed to being asked directly in person. It also gives them the chance to think about what they want to say as they aren’t usually put on the spot with these.
  • Sales data and statistics – this is a good indication of whether customers are satisfied with the service or not as it shows whether they are buying from you. However, it isn’t the best form of feedback as it is only figures and doesn’t provide any further information about the customer’s opinions and needs.
  • Front-line staff – this is an easy way to gather reliable feedback and staff are the ones who are talking to customers every day and building relationships with them, so they should be encouraged to find out whether customers are happy with the service and what they really want from the business.

Modified from source: http://www.businessknowhow.com/marketing/customerfeedback.htm. Accessed on 08/11/2016.

Assess success of menus 

It is important to assess and evaluate the success of menus by looking at customer satisfaction and sales data. This will give you a good indication of whether certain menu items are successful and popular with customers, and whether some items need to be adjusted in order to improve customer satisfaction. Customers and employees are the main sources you should use when gathering information about the success of menus.

Use the following methods to assess the popularity of menu items:

  • Customer surveys – asking customers about the menu as a whole and about individual dishes will allow you to find out what dishes are the most popular and determine which ones should be changed. You can also use customer surveys to gather suggestions on new menu choices that customers would like to see
  • Popularity index – this ranks the menu items in order of popularity, showing the ones that are mostly bought by customers and the ones that are the least popular. A formula for popularity index is: the number sold of a particular menu item divided by the total number of menu items
  • Sales data – if you look at sales data, you should be able to see which menu items have been sold more than others and this will give you a good indication of which ones are the most popular with customers and should be kept on the menu. The menu items with the least sales should be adjusted to improve them or it should be replaced by another type of dish.

Activity 5A

5.3 – Adjust menus based on feedback and profitability

By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:

  • Gather feedback and profitability information
  • Use feedback to adjust menus and improve profitability.

Adjust menus 

Once you have gathered feedback and information on profitability, you should make any adjustments required to the menus. If you identify that a menu item is not bringing the business much profit and is not gathering positive feedback from the majority of customers, then you should consider making adjustments to it or removing it from the menu and replacing it with a different dish. It is important to identify the unprofitable items and produce a menu that includes only high yield dishes. This will ensure that the business makes a profit and achieves customer satisfaction. Improvements may be suggested by various stakeholders in the business, and you will need to assess them carefully before making a decision to work out which ones would have a positive impact on the menu.

You should consider improvements suggested by:

  • Customers
  • Managers
  • Peers
  • Staff
  • Supervisors
  • Suppliers

Why it is important to adjust and improve menus on a regular basis:

  • It shows that you listen to feedback and take it seriously
  • It shows that you care about the business
  • Improved menu could lead to customer satisfaction
  • Increases profit for the business
  • Puts the business ahead of competition
  • Shows creativity and allows you to experiment with different dishes
  • Allows the business to grow and develop, and stay on top of food trends.

Activity 5B

Summative Assessments

At the end of your Learner Workbook, you will find the Summative Assessments.

This includes:

  • Skills assessment ➢ Knowledge assessment
  • Performance assessment.

This holistically assesses your understanding and application of the skills, knowledge and performance requirements for this unit. Once this is completed, you will have finished this unit and be ready to move onto the next one – well done!

References

These suggested references are for further reading and do not necessarily represent the contents of this unit.

Websites

Balanced dishes: http://www.hospitalityconsult.com.au/pdf/Rest/Menu-Planning%20-Writing.pdf

Buying power: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/consumer-buying-power-68682.html

Calculate portion yields: http://chefsblade.monster.com/training/articles/211-the-ultimate-guide-torecipe-calculation?page=2

Calculate costs: http://possector.com/menu/how-to-calculate-food-costs

Calculating profits: http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex1137.

Designing menus: https://www.musthavemenus.com/guide/restaurant-catering/catering-menudesign.html

Food preferences: http://www.faqs.org/nutrition/Diab-Em/Eating-Habits.html.

Identifying customer profile: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/target-market-customer-profile22543.html / http://www.businessreviewaustralia.com/marketing/815/How-to-identify-and-engagewith-good-customers

Ideas for menus: http://www.hospitality-school.com/types-menus-restaurant

Menu types: http://gomexico.about.com/od/fooddrink/a/degustation.htm

Menu descriptions: http://restaurantengine.com/menu-descriptions/

Pricing food: http://www.gourmetmarketing.net/costing-pricing-food-regular-menus-catering-servicesspecial-events/

Promoting menu sales: http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/style-and-usage/descriptive-words-formenu-copy.html

Service style: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/4-styles-service-restaurant-business-22923.html

Silver service: http://www.hospitality-school.com/food-beverage-service-types-restaurant

Seek feedback: http://www.businessknowhow.com/marketing/customer-feedback.htm

Types of cuisine: http://www.herinterest.com/types-of-cuisine/

Writing menus: https://www.thebalance.com/tips-for-writing-your-restaurant-menu-2888584

Yield tests: https://opentextbc.ca/basickitchenandfoodservicemanagement/chapter/yield-testing/

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