may wonder how a new item makes it to a restaurant’s menu. For
independent restaurants, it may be as simple as the chef looking to
see what’s in season and can be found locally. They may take some
time to come up with a creative name and description, what the cost
will be based on the ingredients and then it goes on the menu.
in some cases, the staff can just offer it to customers as the day’s
process can be even longer for chain restaurants with more than one
location. The larger the chain, the longer it takes to get a new item
on the menu. There are many steps involved here including marketing,
operations, legal, supply chain, etc. What is the process in which a
new item may or may not make it to a menu?
it support the restaurant brand? Does it fit into the expectations of
customers? A restaurant never wants to offer an item that doesn’t
fit into its image. For example, wouldn’t you think it would be
weird for Firehouse Subs to offer Lasagna? Firehouse Subs is about
offering sub sandwiches, regular sandwiches and chili. Lasagna is
more for Italian restaurants.
the new menu item bring in more customers or will some veto the
restaurant? When a group of diners chooses a place to eat, they look
for what is on the menu. If it’s geared to a particular style, they
may veto the restaurant altogether.
will the price point be for the new menu item? McDonald’s had some
difficulties with its Fruit and Walnut Salad. While customers were
glad to see the fast food chain offer fruit, they did not want to pay
the $5 it was asking (as many saw the food as a side dish, not a
meal). Despite a reduction in price and size, it never measured up to
the new item fit into the restaurant’s constraints? How much
cooking and assembling will the new item take? The majority of vendor
partners will do the cooking while the staff heats and assembles the
products. However, dining restaurants may be all about sourcing
ingredients and making the dishes themselves.
are customers going to act to everything about the new item? It’s
not uncommon for restaurants to do customer surveys, asking them
various questions such as”
- How likely are they to order the food item?
- Would they order the item from a restaurant chain?
- Is it new and different from other items?
- Is it something they’d order regularly?
- Would they eat at the restaurant for the item only?
- What is a good price for the menu item?