Many times in our food manager certification MN training courses, we have a variety of experienced restaurant professionals exchange ideas and discuss management strategies. During one of our recent sessions, a few of our students engaged in a discussion on how to create a bar or lounge menu that appeals to casual diners as well as keeps food costs at a minimum. We thought we’d add some food manager certification MN thoughts and ideas that may be beneficial to you if you are considering a special menu for your bar, lounge or patio dining areas.
The Bar Menu and Food Manger Certification MN
When we visit local restaurants and dine in the lounge or on the patio, we often see a disconnect between the bar menu and the fare that is served on the dining floor. There are numerous advantages to crafting a bar menu that appeals to your regular patrons and fits your establishments theme.
- Ingredients should already be in your inventory
- Eases the stress on the kitchen staff
- Offers an alternative dining option for guests on busy nights
If your bar menu is designed based on ingredients that you require for your regular menu, this can reduce your food costs. There should be less waste in preparation and the risk of food spoiling is reduced. This does not mean that your bar menu should be smaller portions of your dinner menu. For example, a steak house can offer steak sliders using the trim from steak preparation or other appealing casual steak house dishes using ingredients readily available. The key is to be as creative as possible while keeping the same feel for your guests who have dined on the dining room floor on a previous occasion.
This streamlined concept will also help with production during service. Nothing frustrates a line cook more than having one or two items on the menu that are completely different from everything else. This can slow down service and often take up valuable storage space on the line. Keeping things simple and familiar will help the back of the house keep the food coming to guests in a timely manner.
Finally, having a well-designed bar menu can be attractive to guests who do not want to wait for a table when your restaurant is full. If your guests are aware that you offer special selections in the lounge or on the patio, they may find that it saves them the frustration of waiting for a table or possibly leaving to try one of your competitors.
What are your strategies when it comes to planning a bar menu? Do you feel that it’s necessary to have special selections for diners in the lounge, or do you feel that your regular offerings can suffice?