The Tasting Menu Takeover – Here’s What You Need to Know
days, many restaurants are doing away with traditional a la carte menus or
offering limited versions of traditional menus—all to make way for tasting
menus.1 Tasting menus—which offer a set
number of plates and order of courses for a fixed price, have become quite
popular for an array of reasons. Not only do they allow chefs to creatively
express themselves, but they also provide customers with a unique dining
menus can also be financially beneficial. Often large a la carte menus can
result in food waste, whereas tasting menus allow chefs to better plan on what
to spend on ingredients, since they will have a better idea of the quantity
they will need for each service.2
in creating your own tasting menu? Here are some of the key factors you need to
consider if you want to launch a successful tasting menu.
a tasting menu takes research and a lot of preparation. First, you need to
understand your customers and how adventurous they are. Next, think about the
theme of the menu, what will tie each course together? It needs to have a
harmonious flow. This can be anything from a technique such as fermentation or
something more abstract like dishes that evoke your favorite summer vacations.
Use high-quality ingredients like seasonal produce or organic proteins and
remember to adjust seasoning based on the smaller portion sizes.
it’s time to think about what you want to serve and how many courses you’ll
want to feature. This will determine portion size and flow of the menu. By the
time your guests finish the meal, they should feel full, not force-fed and
certainly not still hungry. When it comes to the flow of the meal, think about
the story you are trying to tell and how each course works with the following
one. As a rule, serve light, bright dishes near the beginning and end of the
experience, heavier and richer things toward the middle.3
you’ve identified the food you are serving, you’ll want to establish what
beverages pair best with each course. While wine is traditional, many
restaurants are also offering beer4 and
even cocktail5 pairings to compliment their menu.
Beverage pairings offer great ways to boost check averages.
that the menu is set, it’s time to talk service. When it comes to a tasting
experience, the service is just as important as the food. Your staff should
know all the details of the menu – the ingredients, the preparation and even
the inspiration behind each course. And it is essential for your staff to ask
about any dietary restrictions or allergies as soon as the guests are seated.
If possible, ask this question during the reservation process to avoid last
minute menu edits.
table participation is ideal–benefitting everyone from the chef to the patron.
This helps the kitchen operate more efficiently, and helps create a more
consistent top-quality product and allows the diners to eat in sequence.4 Plus, it adds to the experience. Often
customers don’t know what the next course will be. When it arrives, the server
provides a detailed description of the dish and everyone at the table can enjoy
these steps as a guideline, you can create an immersive one-of-a-kind dining
experience for your guests. While a successful tasting menu takes a lot of
preparation, it can be well worth it. Many guests often share their experience
in real time on social media and tell friends about it. With some careful
planning, you can elevate your guests experience and help increase your bottom
“Tasting Tables are Taking Over at Restaurants,” 4/19/16
“Chefs Chime in on: Tasting Menus,” 4/23/16
“Tasting Menu: Spring,” 2016
Toast, “How to Launch Perfect Food & Wine Pairings at Your Restaurant,”
“2016 Beverage Industry Trends you Need to Know,” 1/5/16