Menu Writing Lesson 5 : Menu Training

It is extremely important to ensure that a menu is introduced into any business correctly. It does not matter if you run a pub or a Michelin starred restaurant, well-informed and trained service staff make the customer experience far more enjoyable. Here, John Wood outlines some simple steps to consider when introducing a new menu to your front of House team.

Recipe Sheets

Photograph every dish and create simple sheets with dishes on for the team. On these sheets there needs to also be:
  • the name of the dish
  • some dietary and allergens information
  • specific service cutlery if needed
  • recommended condiments for this dish (mustard, horseradish etc..).
Kitchen CUT has developed our recipe sheets so that they can be used for both kitchen and front of house. There is different viewing options and user can be set up with different access and viewing rights. Fully costed recipe sheet by Kitchen CUT - Global Recipe Costing Software - Service Spec Sheet

Menu training with tastings

Try to not do too many dishes at once as it is a lot to take in. Ensure they have crib sheets for each dish , get the chef to talk through each dish and ask questions. Get them to take notes on their crib sheets. Stagger tastings over a few shifts to ensure all of the service team see the new dishes.

New starters

New starters that start after a menu has been introduced or have missed tastings due to holiday etc. need to be given the crib sheets and recipes then told to make notes on the sheets as they go along. Send crib and recipe sheets to new candidates before they start so they can learn before they arrive. This can be set up on Kitchen CUT as part of your recipe building.


It is very important if you hold inductions that the chef attends these for 10 minutes to explain the restaurant, F&B operations and a rough guideline of the menus and any UPS’s that you have. Ensure all staff have crib & recipe sheets.


Between the chef and the restaurant manager it is good to create a list of 10-15 questions on the menus that you can regularly test the team on. If the menu is on for a longer time, it is best to come up with some new questions. A prize could be given to the person with the top marks? Maybe a meal for two or a bottle of wine (supplied free from your suppliers) or an extra day off?

Culinary Calendar

It is very important to have a culinary calendar when menu changes are going to happen and have this up on the wall so that everyone knows when this is going to take place. You can also put the menu training and tasting session dates on there so that people can plan to be there. (See Kitchen CUT’s guide to planning your Culinary Calendar HERE.)

Regular checks

With new staff coming in and staff moving on, it is critical to ensure that this training and testing of the Front of House team is continued regularly every week. Daily dishes being explained by the chef is a great way to do this.


The Chef and the restaurant/F&B manager need to ensure that this training is happening and that the information is kept up to date. This is the most important partnership in the restaurant and is critical to the success of any business.

Encourage questions

Let your teams know they need to ask questions and make notes on all the dishes, as they need to understand every element of the menu. Knowing the menu gives your team confidence and offers a far more professional level of service to your customers.

Share margins and costs

Sharing your margins and costs of each dish allows the teams to understand which one is the best to sell for better profits and better margins.


When running through the dishes, make sure you point out which dishes are suitable for people with particular dietary requirements. Not just the vegetarian option, but also gluten-free, dairy-free etc also. Make sure they know where on the dish spec sheet they can look up the allergens of each dish so that they can confidently talk to customers.


Empower your teams to let them adjust dishes if necessary to meet customer requests ( i.e if the guest wants the beef garnish with the seabass – the answer is “yes”, not “I will go and ask the chef”).


It is the Chef’s responsibility with the support of the restaurant manager to ensure everyone in the team has sufficient knowledge of all of the dishes on the menu. They need to know what the key dishes are and anything special about the dishes. Regular training and checking even after menu has been launched is critical.

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