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Procedure and manner in which meals are organised ahead time is termed as menu planning. With the help of this, restaurants get huge help saving their money on grocery bills as when menu is already planned, it cuts down the expenses made at supermarket. It is because; once the menu is planned, it becomes easier to purchase all specified ingredients that are required for preparing decided meals (Condrasky and et.al., 2011). In the present report, the organisation, Rollercoaster Restaurant of Alton Tower, UK has been chosen which is offering a new dining experience to the customers and its speciality is that food is delivered through roller coaster. The restaurant is situated in Staffordshire, England. In the present report, there will be study on assessment of the factors that influence menu planning decisions. Also, a discussion of the stages of planning in menu product development will be made. In addition to this, influence on the development process will be evaluated. Along with this, a new food concept for cited firm including customer requirements and recommendations to launch the same will be highlighted. Apart from that, own performance with suggestions for improvement regarding the creation and assessment of new food concept will be reviewed.
Being in hospitality industry, to write menu is one of the most important tasks for Rollercoaster Restaurant which is mainly done by chef. In restaurants, everything starts with a menu and the way in which it is prepared shows the extent to which operations of the firm are organised and managed. It can be said that menus are the way through which Rollercoaster Restaurant can communicate about what it wants to sell. Menu planning serves as one of the most powerful marketing tools for restaurants (Harris and Giuffre, 2010). With the help of this, business of Rollercoaster Restaurant is directed and controlled. Menu helps the staff of restaurant to know about ingredients to be purchased and equipment through which preparation of food items will be done.
Several factors are there through which menu planning decisions of Rollercoaster Restaurant get influenced. Some of them are like:
Competition– As Rollercoaster Restaurant is in hospitality industry of UK, it is having numerous competitors. Thus, the level of competition is very high in this market. So, to beat the competition, it is important for organisation to plan the menu in a differentiated way so that customers can be attracted by having something different from what others are offering. This is the reason; competition plays a significant role in taking menu planning decisions in Rollercoaster Restaurant (Raj, 2012). Depending on the extent of rivalry, strategy for menu planning is decided as all food items that are to be included in it are necessarily to be offered with some differentiation as similar items may lead customers to switch over on other competitor firms.
Location– Location is also one of the important factors that influence menu planning decision as Rollercoaster Restaurant needs to offer food items in accordance with the tastes and preferences of people living in the area where it is situated. At present, restaurant is operating at eight locations across Europe and the Middle East. Among all locations, one is in Alton Towers, UK which is a place consisting of theme park, water park and hotel complex (Liebert and et.al., 2012). Here, restaurant is offering food and drinks along with merchandise items through some special features. This location is proving to be highly helpful for the organisation in terms of having the advantage of huge crowd every day which is resulting in rendering higher profits and revenues. Alton Towers is one of the tourist places and thus, Rollercoaster Restaurant enjoys the benefit of serving large number of customers on daily basis. However, this factor influences the menu planning decision as according to the customers visiting Alton Towers, changes in menu are needed to be made time to time (Beuchelt and Virchow, 2012). Therefore, along with the food items preferred by citizens of England, restaurant offers other dishes as well that are made as per the culture which people of other nations follow.
Current trends– Latest trends of the market also play a crucial role in influencing the menu planning decisions in Rollercoaster Restaurant of Alton Towers. In the present scenario, customers want convenience for which cited firm has provided facility to them as per which by using touch-screen on each table, they can have which they ordered. Also, through network of rollercoaster tracks, some items like hot drinks are brought by the waiters on tables of ultimate customers. According to what people of target market like or dislike, menu is needed to be changed so that their needs, wants and expectations can be met in an effectual way (Lovelock, 2011). To keep the clients or customers satisfied, it is important to offer products and services as per their preferences. Only then products and services can be made successful and desired profits can be gained. This is the reason; Rollercoaster Restaurant has to make changes in their food items and drinks with the changing trends of market.
Supplier/seasonality– Apart from all other factors, menu planning decisions get influenced by seasonality or suppliers as well. It is because; it totally depends on the suppliers that what can be prepared in Rollercoaster Restaurant and offered to the ultimate customers. Suppliers are the people who provide stuff or material to the restaurant on the basis of which food items are prepared. On the other hand, seasonality is also an important aspect as in Alton Towers, when visitors come from outside the nation, Rollercoaster Restaurant need to re-develop its menu in accordance with the choices of them (Goldstein, 2011). However, when tourists are not that much in the city, dishes in menu are mainly offered as per the tastes and culture of people living over there. Thus, it can be said that seasonality and suppliers are influence menu planning decisions to a high extent.
Budget– Budget is the basic element as per which menu planning is done. Depending on the amount which organisation can spend, menu is decided as when the budget is low, items included in it are those which get prepared at lower cost. On the other hand, when budget is high, number of items with some extra benefits are provided by the firm (Ray and Bhunia, 2013).
Staff– Staff is that factor who presence or absence plays a significant role in influencing the menu planning. At the time when there is shortage of staff, then only those food items are prepared and delivered which consume less efforts and time. On the other hand, when specific staff is not available that prepares the special items which require expert and specialised skills, at that time, menu is changed and all those items which require special skills to prepare are excluded from the same (Reynolds and McClusky, 2013). Thus, staff is one of the most important factors on which menu planning depends to a high extent.
With reference to Rollercoaster Restaurant, there are specific stages on the basis of which planning of menu product development is done. These stages are like:
Idea generation– Initially, when organisation feels the need of new product development in menu, idea is shared with employees and their suggestions are taken. When it is approved, SWOT analysis is done by the restaurant so as to assess its strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities. In accordance with the same, decision is taken that whether the product will contribute in increasing strengths of business and help in providing more opportunities or prove to be a threat or weakness for it. Also, for the same, Rollercoaster Restaurant will be required to assess the market trends first as depending on the tastes and preferences of customers, product will be developed (Condrasky and et.al., 2013). However, if market trends are not taken into consideration, it may lead to severe consequences for the firm in terms of loss in profits and goodwill along with the customer base. In addition to this, customers trends are needed to be evaluated so as to develop the offering accordingly. In the dynamic environment of UK hospitality industry, it is necessary to focus on consumer trends as already there are so many competitors present like McDonald’s that can snatch the customer base of Rollercoaster Restaurant (Carew and Florkowski, 2010). Thus, to retain the existing customers and attract the new ones, cited firm will need to offer differentiated products that that of competitors.
Idea screening and concept testing– This is the second phase of new product development in which the suggested idea is screened, that is, the unsound or unfavourable concepts prior to devoting resources are eliminated. So, after making SWOT analysis of the idea and assessing market and consumer trends, finally all available alternatives will be evaluated and the most beneficial one will be selected by Rollercoaster Restaurant of Alton Towers, UK. The product, development of which will be done within minimum cost and that will render highest level of profits will many other advantages will be selected by the firm (Hemmington and King, 2010). Apart from that, here, concept testing will be done which is a kind of marketing research technique. It will be performed with the help of asking series of questions that are designed to measure different reactions, feelings and opinions of target market customers. Here, the size of the potential market will be assessed by Rollercoaster Restaurant as well as characteristics of consumers will also be known. On the basis of same, firm will develop its new product with specific features, design and quality that is demanded by the target customers of restaurant. Here, decision for marketing mix of the product will be taken by the organisation (Kanai and Kitahara, 2011). Apart from that, estimate of cost incurred will be made along with evaluating the feasibility of launching new product in the market. In addition to this, all issues related to production will also be evaluated like labour or skills shortage, technologies available, capital and space availability, etc.
Business analysis– In the next phase, business analysis will be done by Rollercoaster Restaurant in which selling price of the product will be estimated as well as sales volume will be decided so that production can be done accordingly. Furthermore, here, profitability and breakeven point are also assessed by doing market testing so that if any further modifications are required can be judged and changes in accordance with the same can be made. Apart from that, technical implementation is also seen where quality management system is finalized, estimation for resources and their allocation will be done as well as scheduling of departments and collaboration of suppliers will also take place (Funabiki and et.al., 2011). Before the final launch of product in the targeted market, once again the program is reviewed and monitored and contingencies are planned if any occur.
Launch criterion– Finally, timing and the way in which product will be launched is decided in this step. Here, management of Rollercoaster Restaurant will also make the decision about location where the product will be made available. Apart from that, promotional technique will be decided through which customers will be made aware about the new launch in market (Sufahani and Ismail, 2014). Rollercoaster Restaurant can either do it through advertising or some other media so as to disseminate information about offering in the target market in such a way that customers will get attracted towards the newly launched product.
New product pricing– At last, the pricing of product will be decided by cited organisation where impact of new product will be seen along with making value analysis. Depending on the production cost, price of product will be decided and forecasting will be made about the unit volumes in which production will be done so as to meet the market demand. Here, revenues and profits will be calculated by the firm and it will come in position assess that whether the product is leading to estimated benefits or not (Dixon and et.al., 2014).
The above mentioned stages are significant to be included in the menu development process as it proves to be very helpful in safeguarding the business prospects from varied aspects. Above mentioned considerations for menu product developed can be justified in a way that while developing the menu, Rollercoaster Restaurant is required to show its internal and external business capabilities so that its offerings through menu can satisfy the needs of target customers and thus, their expectations can be effectually met (Hesketh and Campbell, 2010). This will help the organisation in sustaining with consistency in the long run with gaining a competitive edge over others. Apart from that, business can also get prepared to face the constraints and uncertainties that would come in the production process of new food items of drinks. Therefore, it can be assessed that menu development planning process plays a vital role in managing customer preferences effectually (Henshilwood and et.al., 2011). Thus, to keep the demand of products high and ear desired profits, due consideration is needed to be given on menu development planning process.
There are some responsibilities of Rollercoaster Restaurant for development process of product in its menu which are like:
Cost is the most important factor in menu development planning process. Research will be required before introducing new technology which is costly. Also, high investment will be needed to develop a new product. New technology takes too much time to get established or to design the new plan. Apart from that, business analysis is an important factor that is required to be considered as it put a huge influence on menu planning in Rollercoaster Restaurant of Alton Towers, UK. With the help of this, business can easily recognize its needs and search out the suitable solutions by which the prevailing issues can be solved and needs can be fulfilled. It can be said that the product development is the result of business analysis (Gross, Pollock and Braun, 2010). Another important factor that influences the process of menu development planning is sales volume as in accordance with the same, profits and success of plan is determined.
With changing needs of customers, they always demand new products and services. This is the reason Rollercoaster Restaurant is required to bring suitable changes in the menu time to time. However, if it will not do so, attracting and retaining customers for longer span of time would not be possible by the organisation. For the purpose of developing a new product in the menu of Rollercoaster Restaurant, it is important for the management of firm to involve all employees so that they can also give their suggestions in taking right decisions for the firm that would to be highly profitable in terms of growth and success of business (Raj, 2012). Rollercoaster Restaurant is needed to include innovative and differentiated food items and drinks in their menu which no other competitor is offering. Through this, capturing the attention of customers will become easy as well as their needs and demands will also be satiated. Thus, by integrating food service concept with business strategies, appropriate decisions with regard to preferable food items can be taken. For the same, management will be needed to consider cost, quality and risk factor with the help of which innovative food products can be developed and offered (Condrasky and et.al., 2011).
Also, it is important for Rollercoaster Restaurant to include proper budget system so that the plan can be executed effectually by utilizing the available resources in the most optimum manner. Apart from that, setting time limit will also prove to be helpful to attain the target on time. With these two chief facets, that is, time and budget, level of performance and business efficiency can be increased. However, all these elements are needed to be integrated with the quality factor as without offering superior quality product, retaining customers in longer span of time will not be possible by Rollercoaster Restaurant (Harris and Giuffre, 2010). In case if firm compromises on the part of quality then it may lead to sever losses in terms of reduction in profits, customer base and ultimately the goodwill. This is the reason; to run in a smooth manner in the long run, offering superior quality of product is highly required.
Furthermore, customer advice and their opinion are also important for Rollercoaster Restaurant as it will help in promoting word of mouth publicity. Apart from that, if innovation will be taken into consideration then proper emphasis will have to be given by the cited organisation in the features, quality and benefits of products offered. However, factor of price cannot be ignored on which the success of product depends to a high extent (Liebert and et.al., 2012). In case all demands of customers are getting fulfilled in a product but if it is highly priced, then only rich class segment can afford the same and others would not be able to purchase the product that will be a loss for Rollercoaster Restaurant as its customer base will get reduced that will ultimately put a huge impact on its profits. Therefore, cited firm should offer the product at a price that will cover all costs included in preparing the same and will be affordable to the target customers (Beuchelt and Virchow, 2012). Simultaneously, the backup planning should be done by the restaurant so as to effectually deal with the uncertain situations if occur.
For capturing the attention of customers and retaining them in the long run, it is important to adopt for Rollercoaster Restaurant to adopt the concept of new food in its menu. For the same, innovation and suitable changes are required to be made in the menu so that customer’s expectations can be effectually met and their needs can be fulfilled in their desired manner.With the help of this, customer attention can be maintained for longer duration (Lovelock, 2011). Therefore, Rollercoaster Restaurant is recommended to include different varieties and tastes in its menu like complementary drinks and desserts with main course along with special healthy diet for those who are suffering with diabetes and other health issues. Apart from that, innovative puddings and sweet dishes for kids can also be included in the menu to attract that customer segment as well. It will help Rollercoaster Restaurant of Alton Tower to lure all kinds of people that will ultimately increase its customer base, profit and revenue and the goodwill of firm in the UK market (Goldstein, 2011). All these initiatives will help the cited organisation to gain a competitive edge over others and sustain with consistency for longer duration.
It is essential for Rollercoaster Restaurant, Alton Towers, UK to bring suggested changes in the menu for including new food concept. For the promotion of product, firm will require to frame and implement appropriate strategies. Rollercoaster Restaurant should launch the new product as soon as possible so as to gain benefits of the same as well as for beating the existing competition in UK hospitality industry.With the help of this, customers will be satisfied to a high extent as their needs and demands will be satisfied as per their desired manner that will result in increasing the profits of firm. However, the new food concept should be launched by Rollercoaster Restaurant with its existing menu and for promoting the same to make its customers aware, promotional techniques like advertising should be used so as to grab the attention of target customers at a large scale within short period of time (Condrasky and et.al., 2013). This will help in disseminating the information in a clear manner with specifying features and benefits of product in an effective manner. On the contrary, it can also be evaluated that the internal ways by which Rollercoaster Restaurant promotes its offerings will also prove to be helpful, that is, promoting the menu through either retail outlets or by diverse sorts of pamphlets. Apart from that, it can also be assessed that most of the time, direct communication with customers render effective and fruitful results to the organisation as their grievances are effectually solved and accordingly, proper changes can be made by the firm (Carew and Florkowski, 2010). Menu and recipe complication are also the ways by which discussion with customers can be made as their suggestion matters a lot. This ultimately helps in developing the chances of getting successful in the market.
On the basis of experience I gained by working in Rollercoaster Restaurant, Alton Towers, UK, firms operating in hospitality industry are needed to bring changes in their menu by including new food concept in it as through this existing customers can be retained and the new ones can be attracted. It is because; trends of market and customers are changing day by day and thus, it is important for Rollercoaster Restaurant to adopt several new ways and methods so that an attractive menu can be prepared that can easily the grab the attention of target customers (Hemmington and King, 2010). Being in the hospitality industry, menu planning should be done by Rollercoaster Restaurant in such a way that all objectives will be attained as per the cost and budget decisions as well as highest level of customer satisfaction will be acquired by the firm.
As per the present study, I have learnt about different forces which are essential to be considered for menu development in Rollercoaster Restaurant.Apart from that, my knowledge level has also increased on several aspects with which earlier I was not aware. Among all my initiatives, I have put some efforts in menu designing by which I came to the conclusion that planning and designing of menu is of great importance and one of the essential attributes of new food concept (Kanai and Kitahara, 2011). Thus, it can be concluded from the entire discussion, that Rollercoaster Restaurant is managing its performance in a proper manner in the market by giving due emphasis on new food concept so that its existing customer base would not get switch over other firms and will be retained for longer span of time.
Furthermore, through many surveys and researches, I came to the decision that in every quarter, Rollercoaster Restaurant is needed to bring several changes in the menu so that undifferentiated needs of customers can be effectually met and satiated. Apart from that, creativity and uniqueness are also the essential aspects on which restaurant should emphasize so that large pool of customers can be attracted and higher profits will be earned by the firm (Funabiki and et.al., 2011). It will help in increasing the goodwill and thus, duration of survival in the market with growth and success.
It can be articulated from the above study that menu planning is having the greatest value in restaurants as it leads to cut down the costs and increases profitability. It has been assessed that if menus are properly designed, they not only prove to be fruitful for organisation but also results in improving the goodwill of firm. However, the fact cannot be ignored that a menu can never be perfect as every customer has his/her different requirement and satisfying all of them is not possible. This is the reason; it can be said that menu planning is a continuous process as restaurants have to keep on making changes in it as per the fluctuating and dynamic environment of market where tastes and preferences of customers change every day. The report has concluded that menu planning has its great importance in the sustainability and survival of restaurants in the long run. Therefore, hoteliers are required to plan their menu effectually so as to gain desired results.
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