Menus for groups can become an important source of revenue for a restaurant. Here we give you all the advice to learn how to plan them, increase your income and retain your customers.
The best times to offer group menus
Business dinners, reunions of friends, family meals… At these times, the restaurants welcome a large clientele. But group menus are not exclusive to the Christmas period. You can offer them to your customers at other times of the year:
Christmas (December – early January). The period before Christmas is perfect for offering group menus. Without forgetting the end of the year, New Year’s Day or Epiphany Day, which can be perfect for this type of proposal.
Easter (May/April). On the occasion of the holidays, many people find themselves around a good table.
Dinners before summer (June/July). Before the summer holidays, it is common to organize farewell dinners.
Back from vacation (September). The return to routine is a good opportunity to celebrate the reunion.
If you are thinking of including group menus on a more regular basis, be aware that this type of dinner and meal is more common on weekends, especially from Thursday to Sunday.
How to choose the best group menus?
The menu can be your restaurant’s best showcase, so consider your type of business and the experience your customers come for. Forget endless lists of dishes and offer several different alternatives that meet the needs of the different types of customers you want to attract.
When choosing the menus to offer, keep in mind the following aspects:
Consider allergens. Always offer alternatives to people with food allergies and/or intolerances. At Quescrem we have a wide range of lactose-free products ; moreover, all our products are gluten-free, which makes it much easier to adapt all recipes.
Specialize to stand out . Group menus must reflect your menu. Adapt your usual offer and select seasonal ingredients: in addition to bringing a different touch to your dishes, you will reduce costs.
Include options for children . Consider simple and varied options that are appealing to younger children. But without giving up on nutritious and quality products. Take a look at our range of products for children and let your creativity run wild!
Design attractive cards . The list of dishes on each menu should be conspicuous. It is important that you describe each dish clearly and in detail, ensuring that they are evocative to make them more appealing.
After choosing the group menus you will offer, it’s time to look at all the necessary ingredients. Keep in mind that the more ingredients or preliminary preparations you have in common between the different recipes, the more management, pre-elaboration and production will be much simpler and more efficient. Control proportions and ingredients based on production costs and efficient technical sheets that avoid improvisation and possible losses in terms of cost, presentation and flavor.
Control the cost of meals
Accurately controlling production costs allows you to know the total cost of each dish (per person) through the raw materials you use to prepare them. In this way , you can determine the price of each dish so that it is profitable , in addition to controlling and optimizing raw material expenses. Adjusting quantities will depend on the volume of customers and reservations made in the restaurant, but forecasting purchases and menu design are key aspects in this regard.
Remember that ideally the cost of the raw material of the menu should not exceed 30% of the total price. Some dishes may cost more than others, so try to find a balance. One option is to include, for example, a main course whose raw material exceeds 30% of the cost to attract the attention of customers and then balance the menu with other more economical dishes.
Properly adjusted production costs are the basis of correct purchasing planning. This step is fundamental to manage the raw materials efficiently and obtain the maximum profitability in each menu. Look for raw material suppliers that offer solutions specifically tailored to restaurants, such as Quescrem ‘s line of professional products .
Correctly following the previous steps will greatly facilitate your task at the time of preparation. In menus for groups, it is important to prepare as many preparations as possible in advance to optimize plating. This is why it is important to select preparations that withstand cold storage, freezing and even heat .
The organization of the ingredients and the order of preparation of the dishes on each menu must be efficient so that everything goes smoothly. Arrange the ingredients in the necessary quantities and formats , as well as the utensils you will need to prepare each dish. In this way, the whole team will be able to dress the plates much faster, which will save you time and improve customer service.
Details that make the difference
Organizing all the details of group menus is key to getting the best results, but other factors can also help improve the customer experience.
Implementing a strategy on social networks is very important to give visibility to a restaurant’s offer, attract new customers and retain existing ones. Beyond a Facebook or Instagram account, a restaurant must be present on specific catering sites such as Tripadvisor or El Tenedor.
Creativity is fundamental for customers to have a unique experience. Beyond the menus offered, you can create an unforgettable experience through the decoration of the establishment, the details on the tables, the presentation of the menu or the background music. Every detail counts to deliver an unforgettable experience. Menus for groups are also a good opportunity to attract and retain new customers, which is why it is important to offer impeccable service in terms of room staff and products that will make the difference.