Planning menus may on the surface seem rudimentary, but upon further inspection, one should realize a thorough and prudent approach is required. Menus are an essential component to any business irrespective of the industry. They are the foundation by which the customer can interpret the value proposition offered by the business. In planning the menu, the owner should focus on two primary concepts: culture and technology. With culture, the franchise can better determine its target market and demographic. This enables the company to formulate a menu to cater specifically to this target market. Technology as it stands today, will impact the menu and subsequent product offerings. Due to its ubiquitous nature, the internet provides the consumer with a litany of options. Thus, when designing the menu, technological advances should be utilized.
The first aspect of the menu design should be that of culture, target markets and demographics. Knowing this information provides the franshices with important statistics that can be utilized on the menu. For example, socioeconomic status within the region will help the franchise price the product offering correctly on the menu. A price point too high in a region characterized with low socioeconomic status and wages is a recipe for disaster (no pun intended). Consumers, although very receptive to the franchise, will be reluctant to purchase as the price point is too high on the menu. Furthermore, the menu should cater to the tastes of the target market. If for example, the target market is primarily Chinese, the menu may have more red incorporated into it as the color represents prosperity. Knowing the socioeconomic status, culture, and target market will help determine the construction and planning of the menu (Bernstein, 1994).
Culture is also very important within the context of menu construction. For example, in regards to Pasta Italia, the surrounding culture may be primarily Chinese. A sound cultural foundation within the menu will be needed in regards to its construction. Eastern countries such as China, Japan, Singapore, etc., all have a collectivistic nature. They work together to achieve educational, company and corporate objectives. They are generally concerned with others well-being and will go the extreme lengths to provide that help. It is exactly the same as it was many years earlier with ancient Chinese farmers. In that period, as it is today, a team of individuals will work together as a unit as oppose to individuals. It was used in farming and it is still used today. As a result more individuals have a vested interest in the group's overall goals, thus heightening the sense of community. Armed with this information, the menu should be constructed in a manner that encourages community. Group discounts should be a focal point in the menu. Options that focus on differing tastes within a group should also be incorporated into the menu such as a buffet or "All you can eat option (Li, 1996)."
Now in America, emphasis is place on individual achieve, which is often at the expense of society. We use individuals until they provide no further economic benefit. We see this in almost every industry. We see this with veteran basketball players who have spent their entire career with a particular team and are subsequently traded because their stats are declining. We see it with Wall Street executives who took advantage of individual's ignorance and provided subprime loans to individuals who they know would not pay in the future. In America our society is based on individual gain, individual recognition, and individual accolades. As such the menu should then reflect a more individual approach. Individual options with smaller serves should be on the menu instead. Each culture mentioned above was different in regards to there habits and behaviors. The menu should then be catered to reflect these changing dynamics of culture (McGrory, 2004)
In addition, technology will also have a very profound role in menu construction. As with many new technologies introduced into society, new industry is created. In many instances industries are destroyed as a result of the emergence of another industry. For example this occurred during the industrial revolution, which resulted in an increase in factory labor and a decrease in farm labor. This period is no different as the internet has given rise to international competition, as well as lower barriers to entry. Companies subsequently must deliver their products and services in a manner that leverages this new technological trend. This concept is also applicable to Pasta Italia as it will undoubtedly encounter international competition. The menu should be designed that it can easily be transposed on the internet for potential customers to view (Clines, 2010). It should also be technologically friendly allowing customers to take pictures of it using a standard smart phone. As such the menu should incorporate the following concepts:
Choosing colors that are appropriate for the style of Pasta Italia- For a fancy restaurant, dark colors will convey a sense of seriousness and professionalism. At a casual restaurant, warm, muted colors will look appropriately inviting. At a restaurant with a young clientele or a zanier theme, bright colors are more appropriate. This relates directly into the culture and socioeconomic component mentioned in the first section.
The menu should be logically ordered the menu should reflect the order in which people actually eat the dishes you offer. At an all-day establishment, this would be breakfast, lunch, appetizers, dinner, and then dessert. Traditionally, simple drinks (water, soda, tea) are listed last; specialty drinks (wines, cocktails) are usually on a separate list or an insert. Technology is primarily about convenience. By constructing the menu in a logical manner allows the consumer to easy decipher the information irrespective of his location. A logically ordered menu can be viewed online in the same manner as it is within the actual store. This technologically friendly menu allows for the most convenience (Erikson, 2010).
Break up the menu into sections corresponding to type. The menu should either be broken up by categories of food using large, simple headings or by putting each on its own page. If Pasta Italia offers a large variety of foods, the franchise will need main sections such as Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner and subsections such as fish, Poultry, Vegetarian, Pasta, and Salads. Other subsection possibilities include:
Description of the item. The food items themselves should have descriptive titles. Ex: "Burger" doesn't sound like much, but "Juicy Burger with Arugula and Horseradish Aioli" will get your readers' attention. After that, the menu should include a brief description of all the ingredients in the dish. Ex: "Quarter-pound all-beef patty with arugula, creamy aioli, grilled mushrooms, ripe tomatoes, and pepper jack or Swiss cheese on a brioche bun (Goodale, 2007)."
These options provide a technologically friendly way for consumers to read and decipher the information needed to make an informed decision. By utilizing these concepts within the menu, readers are more apt to purchase more items while being satisfied in the process.
In summary, the menu of Past Italia should be one in which culture; target market; socioeconomic status and technology should be incorporated. These concepts allow the consumer to make a better informed decision regarding their purchases. The menu should also cater to the target market in which the company is attempting to attract. By knowing the target markets taste and thought processes, the menu can enhance the products appeal to the consumer. Colors, visual, and offerings on the menu can be catered to this target market to enhance sales and induce repeat purchases. The prices on the menu should also reflect the changing socioeconomic status of the target market. The appropriate price point will attract repeat purchasers to the business. When constructing the menu the price is often the one component which can induce a consumer to purchase more. Technology should be considered…