Menu Planning


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Introduction to Menu Planning

Success and development of any organization depends on the efficiency of operations of all the departments. Each organization caters to develop productivity and working in every segment. Companies such as providing meal facility to group of people, strive to make their food service operations at optimum level. Fundamental component of food service operations are menu. In recent times, menu planning of these organizations has become an important part irrespective of the industry in which they are working such as apart from core hospitality industry, food service operations is an important element of hospitals, schools and other related. Menu planning is a systematic and structured way of listing the meals ahead of time. It is processed by keeping in consideration the availability of resources, nutritional requirement, functionalists and many other factors. It enables the organization to execute it in effective manner (Menu planning, 2015). Report is prepared to elucidate the menu planning in a girl's school of UK for different age groups and backgrounds. Report throws light of different component associated with it.

Principles of recipe development

While preparing a menu and developing recipe for the growing school girls, various components are required to be kept into consideration. Children are having varied choices of tastes, meals and cuisines (Slavin and Lloyd, 2012). Along with satiating them by providing them with wide range of products, it becomes very essential to take care about their nutritional requirements and their different cultural and religious background. To yield the maximum benefits and nourish student with quality meals, principles of recipe development is required to be fulfilled.

Variety: Children of middle age and tender age are very choosy about their meals. They always seek something new and innovative in their plate. It is very essential to inculcate slew of dishes and designing menu, each different from the other (Seyfang, 2007).

  • In the age group of 4-7, girls are at very tender age. To make them eat their food and finish their plate is to be prepared with variety of different colorful food which appeals them. It is very essential to fulfill their nutritional requirement hence effort is made to maintain nutritional content above 20%. Fruits juices are served to them along with the mashed fruits in their diets in different meals. In the age group of 8-11 girls are in growing age. For their servings, plate is prepared by including sufficient fats and protein content with the different form of dishes and preparations. Shakes and other protein drinks are included to support the perfect growth of students (Seljak, 2009).
  • Age 12-18 group age girls are grown up girls. Their perception about food has been altered. Apart from considering the source of taste and flavor, they consider them as the necessity of life. Further, reaching age of 16-18 makes them conscious about health and BMI. Keeping that in mind options are created with high nutritional values. They are less resistant for the vegetables; hence preparations are made including oats meal, wholegrain and multigrain breads and many other seasonal and regular vegetables and fruits.
  • Staff members: Along with the school girls, Recipe development is done keeping in consideration the nutritional needs and preferences of staff members. For them, meal is prepared by including food containing high nutritional value. Their preference for taste and flavor is comparatively low and more inclination is towards health. Hence, accordingly preparations are made.

Cooking methods: For preparing meals, different cooking meals are to be adopted such as at breakfast and mid meals snacks, instant preparations are made. For these meals, batch cooking is adopted. In this type of cooking, food with higher sustenance of nutritional values is half cooked and at the time of preparation, it gets served. This cooking method is used for age group of 12-18 (Robinson, 2008).

Cultural issues: While preparing the food from different cultural backgrounds, it is very essential to take care about rituals of different students. Though young girl's don't know about this but by seeking information from family, preparations are made. In the renowned school, students come from different parts of world that belong to different culture. Variations are seen in food preferences such as vegetarian and non-vegetarian, different cuisines, special preference or resistance for particular vegetables or fruits. This is important principle during recipe development.

Religion: People belonging to different religious background have different preferences and choices. That has to be kept in consideration to make the balanced plate. Such as some people are resistant towards the use of certain food items like girls belonging to Asian region belonging to Hindu community do not consume Pork and beef. Similarly, there are some restrictions in other religion as well. Keeping that in consideration, meals are prepared.

Diets: Along with maintaining the variety and different choices of students, the core area of consideration is nutritional diet of meal (Pollan, 2009). Meals are prepared by making the account of nutritional requirement of girls with different age group. For instance, small girls belonging to age group of 4-7 are at tender age and requires balanced requirement of nutrition to give them high growth and development. Age group of 8-12 girls are in growing age and in their diet they should include high protein. Shakes and protein rich diet is essential. In their meals pomegranate juice, banana shakes and soya milk are included. Preparations made up of fishes, chicken and sea foods are the part of every meal.

Factors influencing menu planning decisions

While preparing menu, there are many factors which affect the decisions. In order to make is effectual and nutritional in all respect, all the components are needed to be considered.

Time availability: In food service operation, punctuality is the important part that is needed to be fulfilled (Peak and Ryan, 2014). Quality of services is assessed on different parameters such as preciseness and suitability of food included in meals, serving at the accurate time frame, presentation style and the balance of nutritional value and taste. To serve the three course meal along with snacks is a major challenge to service providers hence it is necessary to keep in mind the time frame. Such as in breakfast and snacks time instant made dishes are to be included while in lunch and dinner, there is less restriction for time duration of cooking but still it necessary to choose only those preparations that does not consume much time.

Seasonality: Seasonal fruits and vegetables are the rich source of nutrition hence it is imperative to include these ingredients in diet. Moreover, the easy accessibility makes it less time consuming and accrue many benefits. It is essential to include seasonal foods in meals due to high value of nutrition and flavor (Park, Usher and Foster, 2011).

Staffing: Availability of staff is the important segment of menu planning. Dishes are decided as per the competency with the number of students and staff. Chefs and cooks with the intimate knowledge of use of ingredients and nutritional requirement are needed to be appointed. Further, health is the prime concerned, so it is ensured that cooks are well aware with the know-how of kitchen management with proper hygiene and cleanliness. Such as segmentation of staffing that is a nutritional expert who take care about the nutritional needs of children and staff, person monitoring existing and required inventory, an in charge of food and vegetables required and other related.

Budget: Making the optimum utilization of financial resources and sum of money allotted is the prerequisite for menu planning. It is very essential for the management to take into consideration the finances and prepare menu accordingly.

Nutritional needs of students: Menu is always made as per the targeting persons depending upon the choices and preferences, nutritional needs, tastes and flavors, availability etc. As in the given case, menu is supposed to be prepared as per the different nutritional requirement of girls belonging to different age groups (Munjal and Sharma, 2012). Girls belonging to tender age of 4-7 need high nutritional value food hence along with the taste and flavor, their meals are made rich in minerals and other essentials. 12-18 are growing girls, to support their growth and development diets rich in fibre, carbohydrates and protein is included.

Back of the house management: While making menu, other factor that affect it is the equipment, storage, inventory and stock capabilities. Account of availability of these factors is necessary before detailing the preparations and dishes needed to be prepared for number of girls. Considering all these factors minimizes the wastage and makes optimum utilization of resources.

Different food systems

Food to girls belonging to different age groups is presented by using suitable food system.

Age group 4-7: Girls belong to the age group is at very tender age. They are supposed to be presented food in the plates. They cannot take it on their own hence, it is required there are served in a presented plate. This method is adopted for the multidimensional reason. It is intended that they finish their meal and eat it with complete interest hence it is always intended to present in a very appealing manner. This is the first impression on kids seeing which makes them eat it. Further, nutritional values are maintained to support them in their growth (McCaffree, 2009).

Age group 7-12: Girls are grown up belonging to this group. Meals are served in the form of counter service. In this part they are served meals in their plate as per their choice among the different options available at the counter table. All options are made available by making the equivalent in nutritional values, as it they are selective in nature then also their nutritional needs are fulfilled.

Age group 12-18: For the age group of 12 to 18 as well, counter service is opted to its high utility. It helps in maintaining the nutritional needs of girls. Along with this they also have the option of serving food in buffet style.

Staff: For staff members of about 100 in count, buffet system is used by the food service providers. Buffet service has advantages of its own along with some disadvantages. It is suitable for the staff members as they are matured enough to fulfill their needs and requirements. Further, there are some drawbacks of using this methods as at times it can be possible that only a single person have significant amount of any stuff available there at counter (Moskowitz, Saguy and Straus, 2009).

Factors that have affected the choice

Single method cannot be used for each age group. Girls in each group possess different traits and characteristics. As per the suitability, system has been used such as prepared and ready to eat plates for small girls of age group 4-7 and counter service for girls belonging to 7-11 age group. Buffet service is available for girls belonging to age group 12- 18 and staff members.

Menu development planning

There are many stages of the structured and planned menu development. In order to proceed in effective manner it is very necessary to follow the proper structure and method. Step by step execution of menu development results in deriving the lucrative results and desired outcomes.

At the initial level before proceeding to the making of menu and further planning, complete analysis of the available resources and needs is to be assessed. For that purpose SWOT is made.

Strengths: School is possessing the capable and efficient staff for the preparation of food for girls of every age. School has hired a doctor to keep a check on the nutritional needs and requirements of girls belonging to different age groups. Nutrition specialist guides cooking to use the different methods and process in order to prepare the nutrition rich and tasteful meals (Martinez, 2010).

Weakness: Proper infrastructure for the preparation of meals is the prerequisite to provide the optimum food services. For the purpose school management make sure that they provide the required facility by inculcating all the needed components. Equipment with better technology is required to be installed at the kitchen area. As with the better equipment, variations in the food preparations can be made so make the plate of students delightful.

Opportunities: There is always the scope of improvement. By installing better equipment and taking the guidance of nutrition experts' better preparations can be made to help girls in their growth and development as food plays a vital role in improving the efficiency and skills of person. Create a wider range of meals.

Threats: In process, there are some factors that hinder the growth but also at the same time it gives the way for development. School is required to be cautioned about the hygiene and nutritional value of food (Mangels, Messina and Messina, 2011).

Needs and requirements: It refers to the process of seeking choices and preferences of girls in different meals. This listed through a survey in which the management has made one to one conversation with girls and asked their needs and requirements with respect to the menu while at the same time considering the nutritional needs.

Gathering the resources: Before processing for the menu development planning, it is necessary that all the resources required for the purpose it gathered before the execution. Resources required for it are the financial resources, infrastructure, supplies and human resources. Food service operations are financed by the school management. Chefs and other cooking staff are recruited by following the rigorous methods in which the person with perfect knowledge about the cooking and nutritional needs is hired (Jaime and Lock, 2009). Both the component health and taste are given equal weightage. So compromised is made is any of the factor. Hence, staff is recruited accordingly. Infrastructure is available at school itself.

Factors affecting menu development planning

There are many factors that affect the menu development planning.

Management: For the execution of any operation it is very necessary that it is executed in a very effective and resourceful manner. For that purpose, the efficient management is the prerequisite. All the components are needed to be taken care of by giving them equal weightage such as the hygiene of food, nutritional value possesed by food, punctuality in which product is presented, optimum utilization of finances allotted to them. It includes all the segments such as the cost of production, resources available and other related (Hippel, 2005).

Need and requirement of students: Choices and preferences of girls are segmented into the different groups. Menu development is done accordingly. Fluctuating needs and varied choices significantly impact on the process of menu development. When the choices changes frequently, it needs the further changes in the menu. Further, the girls come from the varied section of the world they belong to different cultural and religious backgrounds (Gross, Pollock and Braun, 2010).

Business Analysis: In any business such as in the mentioned scenario, school is taken into consideration. For that purpose, it is necessary to take into account volume of girls to which meals are offered. Further, the technical implementation and differing value segments are assessed. Changing values impacts the functioning.

From the above factors, needs and requirements and the efficiency of management are the crucial factors that impact the menu development process. As it food service operations are not executed efficiently it will directly impact the meals pro0vided to the girls.

Assessing the requirement of customers

In order to refurbish the dining room for 8-11 year old a practical menu planning has been prepared. For this, appropriate project plan need to be develop before producing new dining room (Crepinsek and, 2009). In this, appropriate menu need to be planned for the different customers groups i.e. the girls who will eat in the new dining room, their parents as well as the school itself.

Before preparing the menu research has been carried out with an aim to assess the requirements of customers in effective way. For this, there are different ways through which satisfaction level of customers can be enhanced by providing them desired services. All the three customer group people must be taken into consideration at the time of preparing menu. In order to assess their requirements proper assistance will be taken into consideration. For this, a survey technique will be incorporated in which sample of survey should be girls, their parents and school itself (Clark and Fox, 2009). All of them are taken into consideration in order to gather their responses about their food choices and all about what they will eat in the new dining room. A primary technique questionnaire is taken into consideration to assess the customer groups. With the help of appropriate survey, demands of all the customers can be easily assessed. It helps them in providing high quality services to all the customers. After analyzing the findings and results of the survey it has been founded that girls are highly concentrated towards the Junk food and they require wide variety in this type of fast foods. Girls are very specific about their food and choice of food products. On the other hand, their parents and school have specified that they need highly nutritious food which keeps their children health good. They are quite health and diet conscious and do not need junk food. With the help of this survey, catering manager can fulfills the need demand of respective customer groups and form appropriate dining room for them.

Development of a new food concept

The refurbishment of dining room for 8 - 11 years old will use several options in order to develop a new food concept for their targeted three customer groups. In this area, girls are in the quite maturing age and they are just like the junk food that is spicy too. As the age group of students they might belongs to different countries and having their own culture and taste (CaineBish and Scheule, 2009). Due to this, they are able to know more about the cuisines of different countries.

The different dining room for the 8-11 years age group girls should be highly focused with the different requirements of girls. Because of the high reputation of this school many of the girls come from outside the UK. Matching the taste and preference of all the girls is quite difficult but dishes related to fast food from the different areas can be involved such as Chinese, Indian, south Indian etc. Different Indian and south Indian dishes can be used within the dinning menu. Parents will definitely like this traditional and cultural menu as they will find it very hygienic and health. In addition to this, a new food concept they can take into consideration in which they add the description of all the ingredients in their menu. Through this, girls, parents and school itself can identify healthy factors associated with different dishes.

Review of performance and suggestions for improvements

The overall work done by me in the previous section including the practical exercise, recipe development and plans for implementation helps me in enhancing my knowledge and expertise in the field of food and menu planning (Bernstein, Ottenfeld and Witte, 2008). I have applied all the concepts after the refurbishment of the dining room. I have gone through the different perception of people as well as their choices about the food. In addition to this, I have gone through the thorough research within the field of nutritious ingredients. It has helped me in taking the right decision and understanding the business relationship. In order to improve the overall performance I need to manage all the things appropriately by developing a proper catering system. I founded that in order to acquire the quality services I need to make the team of knowledgeable and expert staff (Ahn and Lee, 2012). They provide me the quality outputs for the school itself. A proper management team needs to be developing who will be responsible for giving better response to their entire customer and resolving all their queries regarding food. In order to motivate the whole catering team there should be criteria to judge the performance of individual. Through this, quality services can be delivered to all the groups of customers.


Menu planning becomes the important component of type food service operations. It is the systematic and planned way of detailing the meals ahead of time. With the following of structured manner of proceedings, the functions are performed in very effective manner. With this organization is enabled to fulfill the needs and requirements of the targets along with the maintaining of principles of menu planning. Further, proceeding through all the stages, menu is development. Present report is prepared to elucidate the operations of a school in which menu planning is to be made complying with the nutritional values of students. Task was to prepare a menu for the girls belonging to different age groups. Hence, the needs are different in respect to the nutrition, taste, flavor and considerations. For instance, girls belonging to 4-7 age groups are small hence it is very necessary to make their plate attractive. Further, for growing girls of upper age menu is prepared by including protein rich diet along with required other components. Apart from this the presentation and ford service style is also different for each group. For that purpose, styles such as counter serve, ready plate and buffet it adopted.


  • CaineBish, N.L. and Scheule, B., 2009. Gender Differences in Food Preferences of SchoolAged Children and Adolescents.Journal of School Health.
  • Din, N., Zahari, M.S.M. and Shariff, S.M., 2012. Customer Perception on Nutritional Information in Restaurant Menu.Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences.
  • Ducak, K. and Keller, H.H., 2011. Menu planning in long-term care: toward resident-centred menus.Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research.
  • Fuller, G. W., 2011. New Food Product Development: From Concept to Marketplace, Third Edition. CRC Press.
  • Garlough, r., 2010. Modern Food Service Purchasing: Business Essentials to Procurement. Cengage Learning.
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