There are many reasons why the catering business is different from other jobs. One of them is surely that you as the owner, or restaurant manager can directly influence in your guest’s choices of dishes by changing your restaurant offer – restaurant menu and in this way to force your guests to buy exactly what you want to sell more. Use clever this opportunity. Creating a prix fixe menu, menu with a fixed prices, you increase the sale of targeted food, get extra profits, speed up operations in the restaurant, improve customers service and ensure constant quality of meals from your prix fixe menu.
But what is it exactly prix fixe menu and how to make it right ? Prix fixe menu is consisting of an appetizer, main dish and dessert, at a set fixed price, but with some alternatives within each category.
Get More Customers and Make More Money
Special menu with fixed prices dating back to last century, coming from France under the name “table d’ hôtom ” and refers to the common dining, sometimes breakfast and lunch, which is offered for holidays, named Chambre d’hote. That is similar to a ” bed and breakfast ” in a private accommodations for tourists. This offer included different meals at the same fixed price, and guest could make a choice easily.
Similar offer is also found in India where it is called ” Thali ” that could be translated as “plate “, in Spain we found “menu del día “, in Japan ” Teishoku ” and in Italy it is very common in rural restaurants where it is called ” Osteria ” which means “host”. All of these offers include simple traditional dishes and beverages that are produced in a restaurant region and can be consumed by the same fixed prices.
We may conclude that a menu that now is called in America Prix fixe exists in Europe as long as the hospitality business and its importance for the restaurant business is indisputable.
Many restaurants in the United States created Prix fixe menus for some holidays when they expect big traffic, such as Thanksgiving Day, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Christmas Day or “Mother’s Day” , unlike European restaurants, where meals at fixed prices are always included in the restaurant offer.
Why a Prix Fixe Menu Appealing To Your Guests ?
There are many reasons why your guest will choose to order something from the menu with fixed prices, these are just some of them :
- The menu with fixed prices usually includes the most requested dishes from your regular menu complemented with the popular drinks, salads and desserts. In this way, your guests who do not have much time to eat would not waste it with ordering. By choosing one of the offered food & drink combinations from Prix Fixe menu ordering is completed very quickly.
- Prices of Prix Fixe Menu items are often cheaper for 5-10 dollars compared to the total cost of the whole meal if the food and drink were ordered separately from the restaurant menu.
- Food that has been included in the Prix Fixe menu is often those that lot of people seek for it daily, and regarding this fact it is always freshly prepared. Big traffic of these items provides frequent preparation and constant quality.
- If your guest try something from your prix fixe menu and got satisfied, it is very likely that this guests will try other combinations of dishes from it. This is certainly a good reason for another visit to your restaurant.
What Should you Do Before Creating Prix Fixe Menu?
What you need to do before creating any menu, especially before creating menu with fixed prices is to determine items from the restaurant menu that should be promoted in this way.
The first thing you should do is to make an analysis of menu items and classify them into groups based on traffic and profitability. Your POS system it is the best source of data for this analysis. Calculate and found out best selling items and identify items that bring more profit and items that bring less profit.
Find alternative replacement for those items that are not selling well or do not bring any gain. Of course, in your Prix fixe menu you will include those items that are bring small traffic and make big profit, and combine them with those that have big traffic regardless of realized profit.
With this combination of dishes you will get extra profit and your guests will be satisfied.
How to Make Prix Fixe Menu
You want to offer to your guests quickly ordering of whole meal, lunch or dinner using menu with fixed prices ? Following tips will help you to create successful Prix fixe menu for your restaurant.
- Selection of food and drinks for the Prix fix menu. When we talk about the choice of food and drinks for the menu with fixed prices you must be very careful that this dishes have big traffic,ensures simple and quick preparation and that are cost effective. Track your guests and their habits of consumption of certain foods and drinks during one season and calculate the lowest possible price of meals regarding to traffic.
- More than four items on your Prix fixe menu will be quite sufficient. The dishes should be part of your regular offer. Do not include in offer new dishes, or dishes from different world cuisines. For example, if you have in your restaurant offer cooked meals and barbecue, include four sets of dishes in your prix fix menu. Two main meals should be cooked meals, and the other two, for example, grilled meat or chicken. For dessert, offer a simple food that can be quickly prepared like a pancake or a homemade cake that you always have freshly prepared in your restaurant. Also, put ice creams on your menu as it is always a good choice for dessert.
- Describe your offer in a simple way. Simple means easy to understand, description of meals should not confuse your guests. Specify the names of the dishes and its ingredients clearly. I’ll refer you to a good description of dishes with one example : “Veal steak with rice and mushroom sauce, lettuce, cherry strudel and a glass of red wine”.
- Photos are an essential part of the food description. The visual stimulation will affect on your hungry guest’s choice. Make sure that photos look tempting.
- Change your prix fixe deals seasonally. Prix fixe menu must have a fixed offer and fixed price, but that does not mean that you can not change prix fixe menu. Change some seasonal items in your offer. This particularly applies to side dishes and desserts. Seasonal vegetables and fruits will bring refreshment in your offer and profit will rise due to the lower purchase price of seasonal fruits and vegetables. But keep the basic form of the menu because when people get used to something good and tasty will not be happy with big changes in the menu. Changes are always risky, can affect positively or negatively on the business. Changes of the menu will allow you to remove the menu items that don’t have big traffic or those which are not cost effective. Also it allows you to change your prices at one unremarkable way. Also make sure that the menu follows the trends and popular dishes has been included in your offer.
- Include soups in prix fixe menu. Different soups, vegetable soup, meat soup, cream or fish soup is a very good way to enrich the offer. The costs of soups preparation are very low, and your offer gets value and becomes more attractive for your guests.
- Kids Prix â€‹â€‹fixe menu. Kids have a right to choose food as well as all your adult guests, although you’ll surely agree that when a child choosing a dish from standard restaurant menu that required a lot of time and patience. By creating a prix fixe menu for kids this will help them to make their choices easy, and your little guests and waiters will be more happy as their parents too. The portions on the prix fixe menu for kids should be designed for their needs, smaller and suitable for children up to eight years. Chicken or meat on grill with simple side dishes like French fries, mashed potatoes or cooked rice will be an unavoidable choice. Pastas such as spaghetti bolognese or macaroni with cheese, pancakes or ice cream with free choice of toppings for dessert will surely attract children. The colorful menu with popular characters from cartoons will attract the attention of kids. And what kids want – they usually get it. Do you agree with me?
- Adjust prices to portion size. Do not be surprised if the kids menu items becomes popular even for your adult guests, especially young women.
- Give unique names for your prix fixe menu items. Studies have shown that meals with nostalgic names have a higher sales power and attract the attention of guests. For example, the names of dishes like “Grandma’s cake”, “Homemade soup” or “May Wife’s rolls” will work well. You can also use funny and interesting names for prix fixe combinations of food like” Breakfast at Tiffany ” , ” Mom’s lunch ” or ” Quick Lunch “. You could use names of cartoon characters from the popular kid’s movies for kids prix fixe menu like “ Superman’s lunch “ or “ Star Wars Soup” ( soup with noodles in shape of stars).
Secrets Of Prix Fixe Menu Design
When we talk about restaurant menu design ideas then do not forget some of the important menu design features that should be followed. These recommendations are based on studies of how and why guests choose certain dishes from the menu. In this way you can increase sales of target menu items and make a double profit. Follow listed recommendations and you will be convinced in validity of these facts.
- Hungry eyes. If you want to bring more traffic to specific menu items, take a photo of those meals served as big portion on large plates. Guests preferred those meals that seems very big.
- Menu items that are framed or written as bold text are selling much better than the other items from the menu.
- Middle of menu attracts guests, so be sure to write in this section information about dishes that you want to get more sales.
- Menu must be correctly written. Nothing will reject your guests as illiterate menu designer. It would be the best that few people read and review written material prepared for printing.
- Menu items that have a higher price and quantity and include the same ingredients as the standard portions of same meals have better sales. Include expressions like Jumbo or XXL portion in the names of those menu items.
- Avoid mark for the currency, ” $ “ that will distract the attention of guests at the ingredients instead of price. Remove these currency symbols from your menu.
- Indicate “Discount ” “%” or “OFF” in the target menu items. No matter what the price will be almost equal to the price without discount, this sign will attract the customer to select target dishes from the menu.
- Do not forget that the menu should be readable for those with low vision. Some notes about the font size. Fonts that are considered more readable than others are: Arial, Modern, Helvetica and Sickle fonts. Use one of these fonts for the names of the dishes and the ingredients. Bold fonts that looks nice and readable for numbers are Helvetica, Times New Roman or Arial Black. And of course, specify the name of the restauran and basic information such as web page, delivery service phone and contact email.
- At the and, never enough care about hygiene. Dirty menu must be cleaned or replaced with new one!
- Prix â€‹â€‹fixe menu is usually printed on standard paper, A4 formats and stands apart from the restaurant menu on the table. Same menu design without prices you can use for prix fixe menu promotional flyers.
Promotion of Prix Fixe Menu
After you made calculations and created prix fixe menu do not forget to inform your potential guests about new offer. Write your new offer on the restaurant board. Set menus on the tables as well as at the entrance of restaurant. A new report from the NPD Group market research says that 30 % of consumers will try something from new menu. This percentage is of course variable and it depends on promotional tactics. Motivating the guest affects on their decision to choose new menu item for lunch. One of those motivation methods is for example, timely limited offer, that increase the number of guests who will order new item up to 10 %.
Visit the nearby companies and offices and share leaflets about your prix fixe menu. If you have a service for food delivery bring one combination from your prix fixe menu for free to your regualar customers. After they taste it there are big chances to order it.
Your prix fixe ‘s offer will be more attractive if it is timely limited. Prix â€‹â€‹fixe that is only available on Wednesday and Friday evening sounds attractive and will entice your guests to taste something from it.
Of course you should use online promotion of your prix fixe menu. Record a video that shows preparation of dishes from your prix fixe menu and set it on YouTube. Share your video on social media networks such as Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter or Pinterest. Ask your guest what they think about it : ” What is your favorite dish from our Prix Fixe menu? ” ” What would you change in our Prix Fixe menu? ” In this way, you encouraged interaction with your fans and you get feedback about created offer.
Promote your prix fixe menu on restaurant website. You could also offer special discounts for your VIP guests or those who use your restaurant mobile application if you have one. Advertise your prix fixe on internet sites like UrbanSpoon, Yelp or OpenTable and get reviews from your customers. Depending on your budget for promotion exploit the possibilities of advertising in newspapers and television or use stickers and other printed promotional materials.
Do not be surprised if some of the menu items from your prix fixe menu become synonymous for your restaurant offer and bring more than 50 % of total turnover. You will agree with me that this is not something to play with?
Make a good menu analysis, right choices of menu items and your restaurant turnover could be doubled.
Do you have a prix fixe menu and what impact it has on your restaurant business? Share your experiences with other caterers !