Menu planning is an important part of hospitality management. Good efforts are required to make an effective menu plan. Menu planning includes many aspects like the efforts to be made for fulfilling the requirements and preferences of all people who will be served, choosing a planning pattern and style as per convenience of customers, making a shopping list, shopping strategically, cooking perishable in priority, after all this to grade the efforts made by the cook. Menu planning is the way to get to know that a person is eating a balanced diet and satisfying all nutritional needs. As per any frugal cook, menu planning can save time as well as money. This project is prepared to understand the factors that influence menu planning decisions, Understanding of menu product development planning processes, designing the principles within a food service environment and to develop specific and actionable recommendations for a new food service concept.
As per the given case study of a boarding school of UK, catering department has to mange all the responsibilities regarding food for the students, teaching staff and support staff. They have to take care of variety of things like the quantity of food to be prepared, food should be prepared keeping in mind the age groups as segregated in the case, different food for different dinning rooms, quality of vegetables being used in preparation of food being fresh or frozen, cooking techniques that are being used by the cooks (Tikkanen and Kasurinen, 2012). Presenting here a brief survey on the above principles that are applied for menu planning in this boarding school.
Variety of food : Food to be served as per meals that is breakfast, lunch, supper and dinner for boarding students and only lunch to the normal students. In breakfast students will be provided refreshing food to energize their day by a fresh beginning. For example fresh bread with jam, Banana or sandwiches etc. The breakfast should be different for all days in a week. It can be repeated after six weeks, so that the students do not get bore of eating same kind of food daily. The quality of vegetable used for making lunch and dinner is fresh. But frozen vegetables can be used the next day, by cooling them whole night, so there freshness can be kept continue (Rostron, 2011). Students and teachers advice can be appreciated in variety of food to be prepared on every day. Since the number of people having food is large that is the reason of keeping frozen vegetable preserved for the following day, but there is no compromise with the hygiene of people eating the food (McEntee, 2009).
Cooking Methods : Since there are different dinning rooms for students, teachers and support staff therefore different food is to be prepared for them. The cooking techniques can be different for different dinning rooms as per their preferences. Some food can be common for the different dinning rooms like rice and desert. Batch cookery, cook freeze and conventional techniques can be used. In batch cookery food is prepared in fixed intervals. For example breakfast is prepared in the morning, at the same time preparation for lunch has been done, so that at the time of preparing lunch, it will be quick making and then serving the same on time (Gordon-Davis and Rensburg, 2004). In cook freeze method of cooking the food is prepared and preserved till the time of serving the food, so that it remains fresh and the time will also be saved. In conventional system which is normally used at all restaurants and other places, food is prepared immediately before serving.
Cultural Issues : Students from different backgrounds and countries are studying in the boarding school. They have their different cultures, according to which they prefer food. The main criteria for bifurcation of food is vegetarian and non vegetarian (Pearson and Kuntz, 2008). The cooking team should keep in mind the cultural aspects so that the sentiments of students as well as teachers do not get hurt. The religion, diets and menu cycle should be keep in mind while preparing and serving food in five different dinning rooms. For example, the culture of many people influence for not eating the meat of specific type of animal. Indian people do not eat beef meat as it is against their cultural or religious sentiments. In the similar way, some people do not prefer to eat pork meat. Thus, for the catering manager of school it is essential that it must consider the given aspect also while making the selection for the specific recipe for the respective students.
Menu planning decision can be based on various factors. If the number of members are few in the evening for having dinner then the cooking team can organize dinner for all of them in a single dinning hall as per their demands and preferences instead of serving in different rooms (Rostron, 2011). This happens when most students go home in the afternoon. Other factors like budget, quantity, time available, staffing etc. should also be kept in mind while planning the menu.
As per the age segregation of students, students under 7 years of age can be provided more facilities at their dinning room like the food is served to them, they are provided water and other sweets (Tikkanen and Kasurinen, 2012). A waiter service can be started for them because they are too small and they can get burn or hurt from any mishap. The Oldest students can be provided a counter facility in their dinning room, where they can take food of their choice number of times they would like.
Menu planning includes servicing after preparation of food. The service should in an appropriate manner so that the students and staff need not face any difficulty in having the food. Since there are five dinning hall for different students, support staff and teachers (Vidgen, 2006). The cooking team can select different serving styles for different category of students. But one thing should be kept in mind that all the students and staff should be served food at the same time. As stated above students of lower age can be served on their table only, they need not have to rush anywhere for getting the food (Bisogno and Bisogno Joseph, 2005). This facility is provided to small students to avoid any accidents while taking the food in their plates. The middle age students can be provided food as per counter system, so that they can have their food number of times. Teachers and other support staff can be served on buffet system basis the reason being they are more responsible and know to handle every situation. But the disadvantage of buffet system is this, that who comes first will be served first and rest of people have to wait.
The success of menu planning depends on the operational employees. School management should chose a cooking team with good skills and talent of the cooking as well as service staff. The service staff performs his duties by transferring the food received from cooking team. In order to properly serve the students and staff, and be ready to answer the questions raised by students (Walker, 2013). For example, servers should know about the items prepared in the menu, the portion of sizes offered, the way of preparing the items etc. By this way the server can provide a personal touch answering to he questions directly to customers. It is necessary because students belong to different cultures. They prefer to eat few things only and avoid few things. But in the absence of knowledge they will eat those things and this will hurt their emotions badly (Ang and Tang, 2007). This happens in case of vegetarian students mostly. So the serving department should segregate the food sections accordingly.
In addition to this, catering manager must adopt different method of serving dishes to the students who belongs to the age category of 16 and above. Generally, it has been seen that such people are more conscious towards health. Furthermore, they get attracted or prefer to eat such food whose appearance seems very attractive and tempting. Thus, for the catering it is essential that it must consider the given aspect also while planning the menu for the school girls. Furthermore, the staff who will serve the food must be friendly, so that whatever problem being faced by the girls related with the food can be resolved immediately. In addition to this, through the feedback of school girls significant changes can be made in manger in the existing menu.
There are different stages assessed with the help of which an effective and creative menu can be prepared by the catering manager for the three different dinning rooms of school. The detailed explanation about the same is depicted in below:
Idea generation: The step with regard to prepare the new menu for the school will start with the generation of idea. Here, in the given step different type of information will be gather by the catering manager. It consists of customers trends, users eating habit and preference along with restaurant concept (Tikkanen and Kasurinen, 2012). Here, the menu for the above mentioned dinning of school will be prepared on the basis of given information only. For example, through this stage it has been assessed by the catering manager of school that the customers who belongs to the age category of 12-18 years prefer to eat the fast foods. Then, in the given circumstance it is being required by the catering manager that it must consider the given factor while preparing plan for the school menu. This is because, lack of consideration of the same will lead to affect the satisfaction level of school girls.
Making the selection for the type of menu: Here, after assembling different type of information about the menu. In the particular step, manager have to make the decision regarding the type of menu and food serving style which is being used by it. In this context, there are different type of menu assessed such as Du Jour Menu and A La Carte etc (Pearson and Kuntz, 2008). In addition to this, the food serving style is also of several types such as batch cooking and cook and chill method etc. With respect to the three dinning room, batch cooking will be seem more effective. This is because, by using this style food can be served by the kitchen staff members among large number of dinners in an effective way.
Setting the budget for each dinning session: In this phase, manager will set the budget for each three different dinning session. Here, on the basis of set budget only decision regarding the different type of food which needs to be included in menu will be taken by the manager in an effective way (Gordon-Davis and Rensburg, 2004).
Types of food item to be included in menu: It is the last phase of menu product development in which catering manager of school will make the decision for type of food items which needs to be severed by it to the school girls. In the given section, manager will have to consider the number of factors such as age and religion of girls. Thus, on the basis of given information only specific food items will be set for 6 weeks tenure. Overall, it can be said that with the help of given steps an effective menu can be prepared by catering manager of school. Thus, this lead to entail the high amount of satisfaction among the dinners.
With respect to the given case scenario, three most important factors are identified which lead to cause the significant impact upon the menu development plan which is being formulated by the catering manager. The detailed information about the assessed three factors are depicted in below:
Time constraints and number of dinners: The availability of time with chef for preparation of food and the number of dinners to whom the prepared food will be served are being regard as regarded as one of the most important element which lead to influence the menu development planning for school catering manager. Here, as per the given scenario kitchen staff has to serve the food for an around 900 dinners. Furthermore, the food needs to be served by it within a specific time frame also. Thus, in the given condition catering manager has to set such menu which will fulfill the needs and demands of all the dinners. For example, catering manager has decided to set separate menu for different dinners. The given decision will be affected when time and number of dinners are being consider by the respective manger (McEntee, 2009). However, it has been evaluated that even though there are many constraints but a manager cannot offer same type of food to all dinners. This is because; of the difference in the tastes and preferences of buyers.
Religion of dinners: It is being regarded as another most crucial factor which leads to menu development planning of school. For example, on considering the nutritional element catering manager has decided to include wide number of non vegetarian dishes in the menu. The given objective cannot be met by the manager if region of the different type of dinners are taken into consideration. It is due to the fact that in some religion eating non vegetarian food is strictly prohibited. Thus, because of this catering manager of school has to re-plan its menu and in the new menu it will have to establish the proper balance between the vegetarian and non vegetarian food. But, it has been critically evaluated that for the manager it is very difficult task with regard to get the information about the religion of each dinners. However, if not taken then all efforts as being made by manager in the preparation of food menu for school will be affected.
Market trends: The tends which are prevailing in market also influences the menu development planning. For example, by considering the nutritional element in mind catering manager of school has prepared the healthy meal for girls without considering the food related trend in market (Rostron, 2011). However, after preparing the menu it is assessed by the manager that girls prefer to eat combination of both healthy and fast food. Then in the given situation, manager will gain have to plan its menu. Thus, the menu planning decision which was taken earlier will be affected. Thus, these are being regarded as the major factors which lead cause impact upon the menu development planning.
Seasonality: It is being regarded as another most important factor which leads to influence the menu development planning of firm. This is because; the given thing will influence the catering manager with regard to involving all the seasonal food in the menu. Thus, if manager has set some specific menu for whole year. Then, the given thing will be impacted due to the seasonal availability of food or specific ingredients.
Following plan is prepared with an aim to renovate the dinning room for 8-11 year old girl.
Before preparing the menu for the different customers group, research has been carried out with an aim to assess the specific needs and requirements of the customers in an effective way. Here, through this way only satisfaction level of customers can be enhanced (Ratakonda and Varshney, 2014). However, in order to assess the requirement of buyers, assistance will be taken from the primary technique such as questionnaire. Here, different questionnaire will be prepared for assessed customer groups. For example, on conducting the research the needs and demands of different type of customers is assessed. Here, girls have specified that they require more variety of fast food in their food. In the similar way, parents and school have specified that they will require such type of food which fulfills the healthy and nutritious food related demand of them in an effectual way (Oruç and et.al., 2012). Here, on the basis of given communicated need demand of respective dinners can be fulfilled by the catering manager.
The refurbishment of dinning room for 8 – 11 years old will give many options to develop a new food concepts for the customer groups including girls, their parents and the school. Since the students being girls belong to various countries, their culture and taste are different. The food concept should be such that will help students to know about the cuisine of other countries. Since no girl belongs to Asia, the food concept to be adopted should be related to Asia and especially India. India is a fully traditional and cultured country (Sufahani and Ismail, 2015). It is famous for its food. The food concept is prepared in such a way to benefit girls their parents and the school. South Indian dishes are world popular and will surely like by the school. The food team should prepare south Indian dishes like uttapam, Idali- sambhar, Dosa, raggi roti etc. They are fully nutritious and delicious as well. Girls will definitely go crazy with the taste of food and parents will find them hygienic and healthy, and school requirements will also get fulfilled for providing the best nutritional food to the customers (Lam and et.al., 2015).
Indian cuisine seems best as per the communicated needs and demands of the respective customer group. However, several recommendations are given with respect to launch the given concept in market in an effective way. In this context, it is recommended to the manager that it must put hoarding in the front gate of dinning room (Asaad, Soria Contreras and Chan, 2013). The hoarding placed must give detailed description regarding the type of food which will be offered within the dinning area. Through this way, large number of dinners will be attracted by the firm. In addition to this, the firm can also give advertisement about the new food concept in the mobile of respective buyers. This is done with an aim to arouse the interest of dinners. By complying with the given type of activity the food can be successfully launched in school.
The practical exercise done by me including recipe development and its implementation plan has provided me primary research and I have applied them after the refurbishment of the dinning room (Morán and et.al., 2012). I have obtained feedbacks from the girls, their parents and the school through interviews, questionnaires and personal talks and got positive feedback from them. I should now go for a secondary research to take the right decision and understanding the business relationship. I need to make a team of knowledgeable and expert staff to make a quality output for the school as well as other business organisations. Making strategies to handle the risk and delivering the products on time and within the given budget (Saberi and Coulter, 2015). I have to manage the things in the catering department in such a way that proper system can be created. There is need of back up planning in the event of emergency, so proper management should be made in that respect also (An and et.al., 2014). There should be a criterion for measuring the performance of each team member in the catering team.
It can be concluded from the given study that, the menu planning decision which is being taken by the individual is affected through the number of factors. Thus, it is responsibility of catering manager that it should gather the prior information about the same before formulating appropriate menu for its customers (Leff and et.al., 2016). This is because, if this is not considered at that time satisfaction level of the buyers will be affected in a negative way. The given thing will lead to cause direct impact upon the sales and profits of firm. Furthermore, the satisfaction level of dinners can also be enhanced by considering all the principle associated with an aim effective food service environment in an effectual way.