How to Plan a Restaurant Menu – Tips and Ideas

One area that needs your focused attention when you are starting out in the restaurant business is menu planning. Many new operators simply have no idea of how to plan a restaurant menu that caters to what their target market is looking for as well as being practical in terms of preparation.

In this article we take a closer look at restaurant menu planning and ten of the points that you have to consider as you start to assemble the necessary content.

Restaurant Concept

Firstly, you have to think about your restaurant concept and the type of clientele that you are hoping to attract. These things will be affected by your location, restaurant premises and theme among other factors. Your overall concept will affect the style, quality and portion sizes of the cuisine that you will feature on your restaurant menus.

Different Types of Restaurant Menus

Most restaurant menus are static in that they are fixed for lengthy time periods and are not able to easily be changed. The alternative is to offer a menu that is constantly changing. The latter is great for restaurants that use seasonal ingredients that fluctuate in price such as seafood. ‘Soup of the day’ is another common menu variation that may change as often as daily. However it makes it difficult if new menus need to be printed frequently. Options for menus that vary frequently include writing your menu up on a chalk board or printing out special inserts with daily specials.

A la carte restaurant menus require customers to select menu items individually and everything is priced separately. On the other hand Prix Fixe menus offer several courses included in one set meal for a fixed price. Then there is buffet style dining which usually requires little in the way of menus at all but rather just descriptions on the dishes at the point where customers serve themselves.

Menu Size

One thing to remember when putting together a menu is to offer enough of a variety to give diners a great selection while also keeping it reasonably simple so that they don’t get overwhelmed. A simple menu will also likely reduce the number of errors while orders are being taken and give staff less headaches remembering details on each dish. A menu with a smaller range of offerings will also make it easier for you to manage your inventory and to reduce food waste.

Consult a Chef

At the lower end of the restaurant spectrum you can basically do your restaurant menu planning and then hire kitchen staff that are capable of making the dishes that you have in mind. However, if you will be hiring a chef then you will need to consult with him or her on the style of cuisine that he or she specializes in. A chef will no doubt be able to offer invaluable tips and advice on your menu so it is well worth consulting one if possible.

Testing and Tweaking

Before you go ahead and include …

How to Make Restaurant Quality Coffee At Home

Have you ever wondered how restaurants get their coffee to taste so good?

First of all, restaurants are in the business of pampering you so they devote much more time to the perfection of a good cup of coffee. Sometimes I’ll remember a restaurant just because of their excellent coffee.

So what are their secrets and how can you duplicate this recipe at home? It may surprise you to find out that the French Press brewing method could be the secret in achieving that restaurant quality taste.

Most fine restaurants use a press pot, also known as the French Press, which produces an extremely rich cup of coffee.

Press pot coffee is coffee steeped for 3-4 minutes between 195 to 205 degrees F. It produces a thicker and much richer taste than an auto-drip machine can produce.

A disadvantage of the French Press is it may leave trace amounts of coffee sediment. But the rich taste more than makes up for the small amount of sediment at the bottom of your cup.

So first, start off with a quality medium roast coffee, which is what most restaurants use. I can give you a couple of good recommendations.

Seattle’s Best Breakfast Blend, Starbucks Breakfast Blend or Starbucks Sulawesi Coffee is 3 excellent choices. These are full-bodied coffees yet very smooth tasting. They are some of our best sellers at PerfectCoffees.com and work well for French Press brewing.

You want to grind the coffee slightly larger than you would for drip coffee. Too fine of a grind will produce a bitter cup of coffee. If your grind is too coarse, the coffee will taste weak. A quality grinder is the best thing you can do to improve the taste of French press coffee.

Remove the plunger from the press pot and put 1 rounded tablespoon of coarse ground coffee per each 6oz. of water into the pot. You can adjust this to your own taste.

Coffee is 99{ccdfc561878e9246e1a18999d5a21dd519dc1b039f0564ab04c9b3978134babb} water so use clean filtered or bottled water free from chlorine and other minerals that affect the taste of coffee.

Boil the water and remove it from the heat for five minutes before you pour it. This will give you the 195 to 205 degree water that is ideal to brew with. Now pour the 195 to 205 degree water over the ground coffee.

Stir the coffee to get total saturation of the grounds then place the plunger on top of the pot and let the coffee steep for 3 to 4 minutes.

Depress the plunger slowly to push the grounds to the bottom of the pot.

Serve all the coffee in the pot after the 3 to 4 minutes of steeping. Otherwise the coffee will keep getting stronger.

If you have any left, you can always transfer it to a clean, preheated air pot or a stainless steel Thermos. This will keep the coffee hot about an hour without hurting the flavor.

The French press brewing method definitely takes more time but gives …

Flow And Kitchen Design

Let’s take a look at some common flow plans for food preparation that you’ll discover inside the kitchen. The most basic, and most desirable, flow plan is the straight line, also known as the assembly-line flow. Materials move steadily from 1 procedure to another in a straight line. This type of style minimizes backtracking; it saves preparation time and confusion about what’s going out of the kitchen area and what’s coming back in.

The straight-line arrangement functions nicely for little installations because it can be placed against a wall and adapted to the cooks’ duties. Wherever there isn’t enough room to arrange food preparation in a straight line, a well-liked and efficient option is the parallel flow. There are four variations of the parallel style:

1. Back to back. Gear is arranged inside a long, central counter or island in two straight lines that run parallel to every other. Sometimes a four- or five-foot room divider or low wall is positioned between the two lines. It’s primarily a safety precaution, which keeps noise and clutter to a minimum and prevents liquids spilled on 1 side from spreading onto the other. Nevertheless, placement of a wall here also makes cleaning and sanitation a lot more hard. The back-to-back arrangement centralizes plumbing and utilities;

you may not need to install as many drains, sinks, or outlets, as both sides from the counter can share the same ones. A back-to-back arrangement in which the pass window is parallel to (and behind one of) the production places is sometimes recognized as a California-style kitchen. When the pass window is located perpendicular towards the production line, it might be referred to as a European-style kitchen area style. The benefit from the European style is that each cook on the line can see the progression of multiple dishes that make up 1 table’s order.

2. Face to face. In this kitchen area configuration, a central aisle separates two straight lines of gear on either side from the room. Sometimes the aisle is wide sufficient to add a straight line of worktables among the two rows of gear. This setup works well for high volume feeding facilities like schools and hospitals, but it doesn’t take benefit of single source utilities. Even though it’s a great layout for supervision of workers, it forces individuals to perform with their backs to one another, in effect, separating the cooking from the food from the rest from the distribution procedure. Therefore, it’s most likely not the best style for a restaurant.

3. L-shape. Wherever room isn’t sufficient for a straight-line or parallel arrangement, the L-shape kitchen design is nicely suited to access several groups of gear, and is adaptable for table service restaurants. It gives you the ability to place more equipment inside a smaller room. You’ll often find an L-shape design in dish washing areas, using the dish machine positioned at the center corner from the L.

4. U-shape. This arrangement is seldom used, but it’s ideal for a little …

How to Design a Restaurant: Aisle Space, Work Surfaces, Accessibility

Aisle Space

Designing a restaurant can be somewhat like designing a network of roads. Tough we really consider ‘traffic’ in any building or structure we design, traffic inside the restaurant is more complicated and needs more attention. Aisles which are too narrow can slow down production while on the other hand, aisles which are too wide are a waste of space. We can’t just guess how much space a certain aisle needs. It need some analysis. However, we can use some standard measurements food service facility designers use.

  • Major traffic aisles are aisles used for the movement of people and materials from storage to production areas or from production areas to the point of service. They require 4-6 feet (1.2 – 1.8 m) width.
  • An equipment with protruding door should never be located in a major traffic aisle that is only 4 feet (1.22 m) wide.
  • An aisle 6 feet (1.83 m) wide can accommodate a refrigerator door or other protruding equipment.
  • Single aisle with limited equipment – 2 feet 6 inches to 3 feet 0 inches (0.76 to 0.91 m)
  • Double aisle with limited equipment – 3 feet 6 inches to 4 feet 6 inches (1.1 to 1.4 m)
  • Single aisle with protruding equipment – 3 feet 6 inches to 4 feet 6 inches (1.1 to 1.4 m)
  • Double aisle with protruding equipment – 4 feet 6 inches to 6 feet (1.4 to 1.8 m)
  • Aisle with little traffic – 3 feet 0 inches to 4 feet 0 inches (0.9 to 1.2 m)
  • Aisle with major traffic – 4 feet 0 inches to 6 feet 0 inches (1.2 to 1.8 m)

Work Surfaces

A properly designed work surface is a key factor to the productivity, and eventually, the success of a restaurant. The worker or cook must be able to move with ease making him more effective in production. Listed below are some key points to consider.

  • In production areas, table tops are often 30 inches (760 mm) wide because the average worker can reach out only 30 inches (760 mm) from a standing position.
  • The height of the work surface must allow the worker to do different tasks without stooping over.
  • Standard work surface height used by most designers is 34 to 37 inches (864 to 940 mm).
  • Variations in height may be created through cutting boards on the table (increase height), mats on the floor (decrease height) or adjustable table feet.

Accessibility

In every structure, persons with disabilities must always be considered. Discrimination is a big NO. Accessibility must be present with every plan you make. Below are some guidelines (based from the Americans with Disabilities Act) we could use.

  • Aisle Width: All accessible fixed tables shall be accessible by means of an access aisle at least 36 inches (915 mm) clear between paralleled edges of tables or between a wall and the table.
  • Dining Areas: In new construction all dining areas, including raised or sunken dining areas, loggias, and outdoor seating areas shall be accessible.
  • Foodservice

How To Make A Cheap And Easy Gourmet Wine Gift Basket

Buying a gourmet wine gift basket can be expensive. You can easily make a beautiful, custom, personalized, gourmet wine gift basket cheaply. You can use champagne too.

Gift baskets are always popular and a great idea to give as a gift. People love to receive gift baskets. Making your own gourmet wine gift basket is cheap and easy. You can fill your gift basket with a variety of good wine or champagne and inexpensive items; you have lots of choices.

I’ve put together a few great ideas for making gourmet wine gift baskets, complete with instructions on how to make them. You can make inexpensive wine gift baskets or expensive wine gift baskets depending on your budget. You can easily customize each basket to your recipient.

You can add one or two bottles of expensive or inexpensive wine. You can save money on your wine purchases by going to a wine shop and asking to see the less expensive good wines or you can go to Costco for some great wine bargains, but still very good wines. The wine for your gift doesn’t have to be expensive.

You can find many inexpensive items for use in making your gift baskets or filling your gift baskets, at ‘dollar’ stores, craft stores, party stores, discount outlets, flea markets, close-out stores, etc.

For wine gift containers you can use: any type of basket, wicker basket, straw basket, bucket, champagne bucket, antique trunk, hamper, Asian-style trunk, picnic basket, or seasonal container. Make sure it’s sturdy enough.

For gift basket liner you can use: tissue paper, shredded paper, shredded newspaper, tea towels, dish towels, hand towels, kitchen towels, colored towels, colored napkins, placemats, or fabric pieces.

For gift basket filler you can use: shredded colored paper, straw, crumpled newspaper comics, a bed of wrapped chocolates or other wrapped candy.

For items in the container it’ll depend on the specialty or theme of the gift basket – in this case a gourmet, wine gift basket. Here is a small random sampling of what you can include besides the wine.

Gift certificate for massage or spa visit, scented oils, scented massage oils, gift certificate to favorite store, gift certificate for restaurant, loofah, fragrant candle, matches to light candles, CD of nature sounds, favorite artist CD, DVD of newer release movie, handwritten poem, perfume, cologne, watch, framed photo, inspirational book, spa pillows, bath pillows, spa supplies, bath and body products, facial and body scrubs, handmade soaps, fragrant soaps, shampoos, hand and foot lotion or fluffy towel.

Fancy chocolates, boxed chocolates, chocolate bars, giant-size boxed candy, gourmet chips, pretzels, gourmet nuts, gourmet pasta, gourmet olive oil, pre-packaged food items, gourmet crackers, wrapped gourmet cheeses – two or three different kinds, fruits, any foods you like, Italian recipes, Mexican food recipes or other ethnic recipes, wine glasses or champagne glasses.

For gift basket wrapping you can use tulle netting or I like to use cellophane wrap. You can buy it in large rolls. Look for specialty packaging outlets where you …

The Jazz Age of French Cuisine

French food of the 1920s paints a portrait of one of the country’s most exciting culinary periods, when ancient recipes had new life breathed in to them and the food of the poor became fine dining for the rich.

Ironically, French food of the 1920s was not centered around the creation of new dishes, (although this was the period during which the crepe suzzete made its debut), but instead grew out of new preparation techniques for haute cuisine, or high dining.

More efficient preparation allowed the nation’s chefs to capitalize on the growing number of hotels that featured its restaurant as a highlight of its guests’ experience. For the first time, haute cuisine (dishes featuring meticulous preparation and expensive ingredients) could be prepared much faster and subsequently on a much grander scale.

The groundwork for French food of the 1920s was laid by Georges Auguste Escoffier, who during the course of the late 1800s through the first decade of the 20th century revolutionized the way haute cuisine was prepared.

Escoffier is credited with dividing the modern kitchen into various stations at which a chef was responsible for only a specific part of a dish or meal’s preparation. For example, a garde manager was responsible for preparing only cold dishes while a rotisseur was solely responsible for ingredients that needed to be fried, grilled, or roasted.

This meant that dishes which previously could take up to 30 minutes to be prepared could now be completed in half the time since different chefs worked on different components simultaneously.

Escoffier is also credited with helping to pare down French menus and advocating dishes be served as separate courses on individual plates.

With this foundation in place, French cuisine, largely varied with recipes based on regions, began to develop a national character. Dishes and recipes formerly cooked and eaten by the poor, or “peasants dishes,” began to find their way into haute cuisine. Chefs would often simply replace the economical ingredients with their more expensive counterparts, such as substituting cheap wine with one of a much higher quality.

So it’s not surprising that French cuisine of the 1920s featured rising popularity of the peasant dish coq au von, a soup primarily consisting of chicken stewed in wine, became popular. Although an ancient dish (one legend claims it was cooked for Caesar when he conquered the area that would become France), it was not until the 1920s that it became a staple dish not only for peasants but for fine-dining restaurants as well.

Although originally published in 1903, Le Guide Culinaire, a recipe book incorporating much of the foundation of French cooking, such as using fresh, local ingredients, was updated twice during the 1920s and reflected both advanced preparation techniques and the tweaking of ancient recipes into modern masterpieces.

French food of the 1920s produced recipes in which regional diversity melded into one cohesive culinary theme and is a testimony to the success of modern efficiency combined with tradition.…

Groomsmen Gift Ideas for Foodies

Looking for appropriate groomsmen gift ideas? The best way to find gifts is to give something that your groomsmen will love, according to their interests. If your groomsman loves food, then you these foodie groomsmen gift ideas will surely tickle their fancies.

For those who love eating out, why not get them gift certificates for their favorite or a brand new restaurant in your city. You can call up the restaurant and see if you can get gift certificate or if you can prepay for a meal for your buddy. A restaurant meal makes great ideas for groomsmen gifts for your closest foodie friends. If your friend loves gourmet or organic food, then there’s a ton of great groomsmen gift ideas you can get them. A gift basket filled with gourmet goodies from all over the world would be an amazing gift to receive, or even one filled with locavore goodies from organic farms near your city. Want the groomsmen gift idea that keeps on giving? Why not sign them up for a food of the month club, where each month, they’ll receive a different kind of cheese, bread, candy or any such goodie that they can try.

For the wine lover, there are several great gift ideas for groomsmen you can choose from. First, a bottle of good wine would be appreciated (check websites and magazines to find something – don’t just rely on the price to let you know the quality of a wine.) You can also get some wine accessories like bottle openers, decanters, wine glasses, etc. Other great wine-related gifts are books, magazines and other collectibles.

Finally, if your foodie friend loves to cook, then check out these great ideas for groomsmen gifts. First, every cook needs the right tools (utensils & gadgets), so see if you can find out what they need, whether it’s a new sauce pan or baking dish. Of course, a cook always needs a good knife or pan, so you probably can’t go wrong with any cooking gift (though make sure you add a gift receipt in case.) If the receiver is a budding cook, then you may want to give them a gift that they can really appreciate, like a cooking lesson with a master chef or maybe gift certificates to a gourmet or organic store. Then they can pick and choose the items they like or want to try and cook with.…

Rolling Deposits – Uncovering the Granddaddy of Cash Fraud

The Shift Manager of the fast food restaurant sat in his car, under a shade tree in a parking lot. On the floor board are unused disposable deposit bags and a destroyed deposit bag that had been sealed with last night’s closing deposit. The manager had sliced open the deposit bag and the passenger seat is littered with the contents – ones, fives, tens, twenties, and change. He will use one of the unused bags to make a new deposit. The manager counted the funds several times, his stress level mounting. The amount is not enough to match a deposit slip for a deposit dated two days ago. Two days ago? What is going on here? Why did he open a deposit bag today for funds to match a deposit ticket that is two days old? Do you know?

This is a theft scheme called “rolling deposits” and unfortunately it is not uncommon when retail and restaurant managers prepare deposits and make deposit runs to the bank. The employee steals all or a portion of the day’s deposit and makes up for the stolen cash from the contents of future deposits to cover the thefts. The scheme continues as long as the manager has access to deposits.

The tell tale sign of the “rolling deposit” theft scam is deposits taken to the bank by a particular manager are consistently validated by the bank several days after they should be. Deposits taken to the bank by the other managers are validated on time. The stress level of the manager who is scheming mounts as the need to match deposit funds with unvalidated deposit tickets becomes increasingly complicated. As in the example above, the deposit the manager opened is not enough to cover the past deposit ticket. The manager will now have to wait to add funds from tomorrow’s deposit to conceal his thefts.

If the business is using disposable deposit bags and the deposit was prepared by another manager, our shift manager involved in the theft scheme makes the bank run with the deposit. As in the scenario above, the shift manager in order to continue his thefts, must cut open the sealed deposit bag and remove the cash and the accompanying deposit slip.

With no intervention, these theft schemes can go undetected for a long time and the cash losses can be staggering. Experienced security and loss prevention professionals can easily reveal the fraud with a little investigation. In my experience, the manager conducting the rolling deposit fraud will readily confess when interviewed properly. They are so stressed trying to keep the scheme floating, they are generally relieved that it is over.

There are tried and true protocols in establishing sound loss control practices to prevent this type of scheme and ways to easily uncover it. If you suspect one of your employees of rolling deposits:

1. Develop a chart – across the top of the chart list these columns: Date, Shift (deposit), Amount of Deposit, Bag #, Depositor Name, …

Timetable of the Things to Do Before Starting Your Own Restaurant – Recommended List

Are you thinking of starting your own restaurant? Do you dream of serving your home town the best dishes of the land? Do you want customers to keep coming back to your food establishment? Do you want to be remembered as the pioneer of such high class signature meals and drinks? If your answer to all of these questions is a big yes, then you are on your way to starting your own restaurant. It may be a pretty terrifying task at first look, but with the proper guide, and the right people to help you, it might just be a challenge that is worth taking. Read on to find out how can prepare yourself for starting your own restaurant effectively.

The key thing to remember here is that eight weeks before the proposed opening date of your restaurant, you must now have a good idea as to what kind of establishment you want your restaurant to be. Also, by this time, you should already have a working group that you can rely on if and when concerns about anything regarding the starting of the business arise.

Eight weeks before starting your own restaurant, you must already have the budget for your opening event. This includes a forecast as to how many people you are going to invite, how long the opening would take place, how much logistics have to be used, and so on. You must do this so that you will not be overspending on your restaurant’s very first day.

Four weeks before starting your own restaurant, all the permits and licenses regarding the operation of your restaurant must already be in your files. Finalizing all the papers and taxes at least a month before the grand opening is key if you want to be assured that you are legally allowed to run your business and open it on schedule.

One week before starting your own restaurant, you must have finalized all the things needed for the opening – from the program to the food. Of course, it pays to wish for a little luck for the smooth opening of your establishment. Hopefully, everything will fall into place.…

Popular Shopping at Khartoum Sudan!

Shopping is done for personal and home needs. Khartoum has many places for carrying out shopping. Most of the shopping is done in local markets. But foreigners coming to the city prefer branded stores and international shopping malls. Khartoum is well linked by roads and you can easily move to different malls for buying your needed items. They have a better choice of quality and prices. Those taking cheap flights to Khartoum can go for low cost shopping. Any one can find what he wants. It’s most popular shopping malls are;

Al Souq Al-Afranjee: It’s a European style shopping center where both foreigners and locals come frequently for buying different branded items. It is lined with stores selling foreign appliances, foreign trade agents and airline offices. Foreigners taking flights to Khartoum come to this place to buy quality items at reasonable rates. The specialty items sold at this place are; gold and silver jewelry, beads and local handicrafts.

Afra Mall: It’s the first shopping center in Sudan. It houses many Department stores, a hypermarket superstore, 3 movie theatres, food court, internet cafe, pool tables, bowling hall, and a children playing area. It is a mega mall with an area of 30,000 m². It is located in Arkawet, about less than 2 miles from Khartoum International Airport. Due to its location it is easy to reach for the travelers getting into city taking Khartoum flights. From fresh food to toys, clothing, televisions, and appliances Afra has every thing to capture buyers. It is also housing a magnificent restaurant with music.

Souq Omdurman: It is the oldest market in Khartoum. One can find almost anything, from handicrafts to clothes to shoes to kitchen articles. It is also the place to find local handicraft and souvenirs as well as meat and grocery stalls. The prices are generally low here. Locals generally and foreign visitors in particular take flights to Khartoum Sudan take interest in buying long alleys of handcraft products, including gold and silver jewelry, African beads, and copperware and leather items.

Khartoum Bahri: It is the commercial area of the Three Towns. It has a large market where every thing can be found. Its market is interesting enough for a glimpse of Sudanese economics. Those taking flights to Khartoum from UK and other parts of the world go there not only for shopping but also spending some time taking a walk. It is a good recreational area.…