Menu Planning by Kitchen CUT - Global Recipe Costing Software -

Menu Planning

Menu planning isn’t just something that should happen once a year. Not only is it important for your customers, as it keeps your menus interesting and different using seasonal produce, but it can also help to keep your teams inspired.
Culinary Calendar Using a Culinary Calendar for menu planning to ensure that all menu changes, promotions and special events are planned well in advance is a great tool for any kitchen. By writing down a calendar for each event or stage of menu you write, can help keep you focused on delivering timelines and ensuring that menus are released at the right time of the year. Special Events With special events such as Valentine’s Day, Mothers Day, Easter and any other seasonal events you may promote, it is advisable that the first stage of development for these is at least four months before the event. This will allow you and your teams to sit down and discuss how you can be different from your competitors. This will also allow for any long lead times for menu printing, as well as speaking to the media and press to promote the event and special menu.
Be creative Many operations don’t start menu planning early enough. Planning for Valentine’s Day, for example, often doesn’t start until well into January, which is far too late to be speaking to the media and press to promote the event. In instances like this, the menu ends up being rushed and becoming a repeat of the year before. Give yourself time to create and deliver something that stands out from the crowd. REMEMBER: If you do not write these down in a calendar format you will forget to do it. Menu changes For menus changes, the best advice is to think about seasonal adjustments that you need to make throughout the year and plan three months in advance. For example, if you are going to make seasonal adjustments in March, June, September and December then you need to plan as below:





















Many restaurants will only make three changes per year and combine autumn and winter together and then offer festive menus in December.

Training Calendar Apart from individual training for each member of the team, it is good practice to develop a training calendar that ties in with your menu planning. This ensures that group training is planned and the teams are aware they will be happening. Make sure this includes training for Front of House teams so they can confidently talk to customers about the new dishes on the menu. TOP TIP: Use Kitchen CUT to create service sheets of the new dishes for these training sessions. They don’t show costs, but will show a picture of the dish, ingredients and allergens – FoH teams can make notes during the briefing so they don’t have to keep asking Chef questions during service! Using suppliers to assist with these training sessions is also useful – in some cases you can get suppliers to carry out the training sessions by giving a talk on cheese, fish prep, butchery and even seasonal produce.


Arrange to meet with each of your suppliers and ask how they can help. Consider supplier and market trips with the team. There are many great food markets that are worth a visit and can be quite inspirational to your teams when thinking about new dishes and menus.


If you can ever venture further afield, consider a trip to Rungis near Paris which is quite extraordinary!

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