In this chapter you will cover the skills and knowledge
in the following unit:
7103 – Unit 105: Understand menus
7103 – Unit 205: Menu knowledge, design and resources
Working through this chapter could also provide
evidence for the following Functional Skills at Level 2:
Functional Maths Representing – carry out calculations with numbers of any size in practical contexts, to a given number of decimal places; understand and use equivalences between fractions, decimals and percentages
In this chapter you will learn about:
the purpose of a menu
different types of menu
factors to consider in menu planning
creating menus for customers with special diets
Menu knowledge and design
Why have a menu?
The content of a menu creates an image, which reflects the overall style of the catering establishment. Creating a menu is one the most important processes that any establishment goes through because it sets out the type and style of business that they are. A good waiter should have an in-depth knowledge of the menus offered by the organisation and be able to explain and sell them to the customer. He or she must understand the ingredients used, the seasonality, the different tastes and textures of the food, and any possible health or cultural issues related to dishes on the menu.
Menu: a list of dishes that
may be ordered for a meal,
e.g. in a restaurant, or to be
served, e.g. at a wedding.
Communication with customers
In the past, eating out in the UK was sometimes intimidating, as menus were complicated and used unfamiliar words or a foreign language. Fortunately, even a formal dining restaurant now tries to put customers at ease. A good starting point is to provide a menu that customers can understand.
A menu is a way of communicating and is the main means of selling food to customers. A menu needs to attract people to eat at the catering establishment and encourage customers to order as much as possible and/or order particular items, e.g. a daily special. The information on a menu needs to be stated clearly and certain information is required by law, e.g. service charges. Menus are usually set out in courses so they are easy to understand.
A good menu will inform customers about:
the price and any extras that have to be paid for
the quality of the dish, e.g. fresh green beans, locally sourced best beef, prime rib of beef, freshly cooked
an indication of the size of the dish, e.g. 10-inch pizza, 100-gram rump steak
how the dish is prepared, e.g. grilled, pan-fried, roast
which ingredients are used
an explanation of any foreign or unusual terms
what the dish is served with, e.g. a side salad or a baked potato whether it is suitable for people on special diets, e.g. vegetarian or vegan.
Figure 7.1 Rick Stein’s ﬁsh
restaurant, Padstow. What
information do you think these
visitors are looking for?
It is good practice to identify
ingredients to which people
may be allergic, e.g. eggs,
ﬁsh, shellﬁsh and nuts. Many
menus include a disclaimer
which states that it is not
possible to guarantee dishes
are completely free of such
Disclaimer: a statement
that denies responsibility for
Why have a menu?
The trend today is to present a simple, clear menu that helps the customer to make informed choices. The style of the menu will depend on the establishment:
in a bistro the menu may be written on a blackboard
in a pub the menu may stand on the counter
in a pub restaurant there may be a menu on each table plus
daily specials on a board
in a first class restaurant the menu would be presented to the customers once seated.
Using a menu as a planning tool
A menu is an important planning tool. A menu tells:
the Head Chef what to order
the kitchen brigade what to prepare and finish for service
the waiting staff what is available.
The menu plays a major part in: