Optimize product and menu formulation

Menu formulation definition

Menu and menu item development is part of the operations of any foodservice establishment, regardless of its size. Menu development is the process of determining what types of foods will be offered at the establishment, and menu items are discrete, prepared foods that are listed on foodservice menus with a price. Menu items may include appetizers, entrées, and desserts, as well as “combos,” “sides,” and beverages. A menu or menu item may also include “extras” or “options” for which an additional charge may or may not be made—for example, with multiple sandwich ingredient options or buffet options. Menu formulation is an essential part of business in food service.

Menu formulation challenges

Optimize product formulation to best fit trends, costs constraints and regulations in place is one of the main issues in food service. Developing menus and menu items is a complex task in which foodservice operators consider multiple, competing concerns. While optimizing or creation menu formulation, professionals also think about consumer needs and desires, staff skills, kitchen facilities’ capacity, availability of ingredients, costs of ingredients and production, and nutrient content of foods.

In some extend, menu formulation is similar to processed food formulation, in that it involves research to determine the best amounts and types of ingredient to use, as well as the best preparation techniques. Reformulation of existing menu items to improve nutrition or substitute an ingredient also requires research and development to ensure that the product can be prepared easily and will continue to be liked by consumers.

Large chains recipe formulation challenges

In large chains case, consumers expect menu items to have the same tastes, textures, nutrient content, and portion sizes regardless of the location at which they are purchased. Chain restaurants usually work with their contracted manufacturers to create ingredient and preparation specifications to ensure a standard product for menu formulation.

Changes in menu formulation

Introducing or changing menu formulation may be a challenging and time-consuming process. Changes require efforts to ensure a sufficient supply of new ingredients, regulatory compliance management, certificate collection from suppliers, and training for many food preparers with varied education and skill levels. Because of the costs of changing menus formulation, foodservice operations are reluctant to make changes, even knowing that innovation is often an interesting lever to action to increase margins. Nevertheless, it is sometimes compulsory to comply with regulations or new rules, in that case, optimize product formulation to ensure future margins are key.

Consumers’ trends and innovation

As consumer interest in more healthful foods grows, corporate chefs and other menu decision makers are adding more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and other more healthful fare to their menus. Recipe formulation management tool

There have also been efforts to provide consumers with more information about the nutrient content of food. Restaurants often provide nutrition information, including sodium content, calories, claims and other type of information on brochures, menus, websites, or tray liners.

Lascom solution for menu formulation

Success Stories

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