Overview magazines

Food Inspiration Magazine is the online magazine for foodservice professionals in search of inspiration and innovation. With the magazine we collect, enrich and spread inspiration. The free subscription magazine is published eight times per year and is an abundant source of inspiration for food and hospitality professionals. Our readers can be found in the U.S., Northern Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Which menu type do guests prefer?

  4 min

REPORTAGE

Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.

Frank Lindner   Sander van der Meij 

Menus come in all shapes and sizes. A buffet tells a different story than an a la carte menu. What does this mean for purchasing, preparation, supply, sales, and waste? And which menu type do guests prefer? Food Inspiration found out for you.

Cons: High inventory requirements and relatively high loss because of little insight into the guest’s preferences.

Pros: High guest satisfaction thanks to the broad array of choices and being able to meet guest needs more effectively.

A menu that literally has a fixed price. Each course on the menu usually has multiple options, like a choice of three appetizers, four entrees, and two desserts. Fixed price menus are common around holidays like Christmas, Easter, or Thanksgiving, or as a discounted option as part of a marketing campaign.

An a la carte menu usually provides guests with many different choices across snacks, appetizers, entrees, sides, and desserts. On an a la carte menu each item is priced separately.

Cons: High inventory requirements and relatively high loss because of little insight into the guest’s preferences.

Pros: High guest satisfaction thanks to the broad array of choices and being able to meet guest needs more effectively.

At an "All you can eat" or other buffet guests serve themselves a technically unlimited amount of food in lieu of table service. Buffets often give guests a limited time for service, and commonly charge extra on popular days.

Cons: Relatively high waste. Prepared food can’t be served again and guests tend to overestimate their own appetites. Lines may form and limit enjoyment. High pressure to keep offerings available, an empty serving bowl doesn’t look good.

Pros: Significantly lower labor costs because guests serve themselves. Guests enjoy being able to determine their own portions.

Cons: Guests are given little no choices

Pros: High margins because of seasonal products and low inventory requirements. Relatively low loss.

The name refers to a special dish or fixed daily menu. The menu changes daily or weekly, because it is dependent on seasonal ingredients. A du jour dish is often priced lower. A Table d’Hôte menu means guests are served whatever the kitchen has cooked up for that day.

Menu-items and dishes rotate depending of the day of the week or availability. Cycle menus are often found on cruiseships, at contracted caterers, all inclusive hotels, schools, and hospitals.

Cons: Monotonous work for kitchen staff, especially if the cycle is short. Regular guests are offered little to no new dishes.

Pros: Relatively consistent preparation and quality, with low inventory requirements.

Cons: No off menu flexibility for guests. Monotonous work for kitchen staff.

Pros: High amount of repeat customers because they know exactly what they’re getting. Bulk purchasing leads to lower costs.

A static menu is the same year round. This type of menu is often found at fast food or other fast service restaurants that keep their offerings consistent 365 days a year.

  4 min

Menus come in all shapes and sizes. A buffet tells a different story than an a la carte menu. What does this mean for purchasing, preparation, supply, sales, and waste? And which menu type do guests prefer? Food Inspiration found out for you.

Frank Lindner   Sander van der Meij 

An a la carte menu usually provides guests with many different choices across snacks, appetizers, entrees, sides, and desserts. On an a la carte menu each item is priced separately.

Cons: High inventory requirements and relatively high loss because of little insight into the guest’s preferences.

Pros: High guest satisfaction thanks to the broad array of choices and being able to meet guest needs more effectively.

Cons: High inventory requirements and relatively high loss because of little insight into the guest’s preferences.

Pros: High guest satisfaction thanks to the broad array of choices and being able to meet guest needs more effectively.

A menu that literally has a fixed price. Each course on the menu usually has multiple options, like a choice of three appetizers, four entrees, and two desserts. Fixed price menus are common around holidays like Christmas, Easter, or Thanksgiving, or as a discounted option as part of a marketing campaign.

At an "All you can eat" or other buffet guests serve themselves a technically unlimited amount of food in lieu of table service. Buffets often give guests a limited time for service, and commonly charge extra on popular days.

Cons: Relatively high waste. Prepared food can’t be served again and guests tend to overestimate their own appetites. Lines may form and limit enjoyment. High pressure to keep offerings available, an empty serving bowl doesn’t look good.

Pros: Significantly lower labor costs because guests serve themselves. Guests enjoy being able to determine their own portions.

Cons: Guests are given little no choices

Pros: High margins because of seasonal products and low inventory requirements. Relatively low loss.

The name refers to a special dish or fixed daily menu. The menu changes daily or weekly, because it is dependent on seasonal ingredients. A du jour dish is often priced lower. A Table d’Hôte menu means guests are served whatever the kitchen has cooked up for that day.

Menu-items and dishes rotate depending of the day of the week or availability. Cycle menus are often found on cruiseships, at contracted caterers, all inclusive hotels, schools, and hospitals.

Cons: Monotonous work for kitchen staff, especially if the cycle is short. Regular guests are offered little to no new dishes.

Pros: Relatively consistent preparation and quality, with low inventory requirements.

Cons: No off menu flexibility for guests. Monotonous work for kitchen staff.

Pros: High amount of repeat customers because they know exactly what they’re getting. Bulk purchasing leads to lower costs.

A static menu is the same year round. This type of menu is often found at fast food or other fast service restaurants that keep their offerings consistent 365 days a year.

Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.