Process Street - Menu Planning Process Checklist

Process Street's Menu Planning Process Checklist has been specifically designed to work as a guide for chefs, hotel or kitchen managers to standardize the process of creating a new hotel menu.

Your menu should not be staticA great menu adds new items and changes with the seasons. Making your hotel's menu dynamic leaves an innovative and fresh stamp on your hotel, keeping the customers coming.

If there is a trending dish, try it out. If there are more cost-effective alternatives, try them out. You can gauge the effectiveness of different dishes, to refine your restaurant and its offerings.

You can use our Menu Planning Process Checklist each time you alter your current menu, when a complete re-design is needed or when you are creating a new menu from scratch.

The Menu Planning Process Checklist has organized the stages for new menu creation into the categories below:

  • Planning 
  • Implementation
  • Trial Run
  • Final Approval

According to Professor Dr. HG Parsa between 55% to 60% of restaurants fail in the first year. Having a good menu is a crucial piece in ensuring your restaurant does not become such a statistic, because your menu does more than list the foods available.

A hotel menu communicates to the customer your theme, your catering skills and what makes your hotel's restaurant stand out from the rest. It is a great marketing and selling point, meaning both attention and care are needed in its planning. 

Process Street's Menu Planning Process Checklist has been designed to reduce human error, and ensure the required attention to detail is attained during this important planning process.

Process Street does this by implementing the power of the checklist.

As a tool, checklists are used in complex and critical procedures such as surgeries and construction. This is because checklists increase efficiency, productivity, and minimize errors. By using the Menu Planning Process Checklist as a guide, you will reap such benefits, producing an excellent menu. 

In this Menu Planning Process Checklist, you will be presented with a set of specialized questions given as sub checklists, short answers, multiple choice questions, or yes/no drop-down menus. In addition, certain questions have been conditioned to guide you through the correct process path specific for your entered data.

Record Checklist Details

In this Menu Planning Process Checklist, you will be presented with the following form fields, for which you are required to populate with your own specific data. More information for each form field type is provided via linkage to our help pages:

Let's begin the Menu Planning Process Checklist by firstly entering the hotel details and your details.


Pre-planning the menu

''Good efforts are required to make an effective menu plan''

The Menu Planning Process Checklist begins with the pre-planning stage. Check off each task when it has been completed in the subtasks below.

For the multiple choice form field, select the option/s that is/are applicable.

You are then asked to list out a sample of your favorite meal ideas. The form field provided presents the opportunity to link online documents, such as a Google Document, which would contain these meal ideas. Copy and paste the URL link into the form field. 

Finally, you can enter the date that this Menu Planning Process Checklist was started into the date form field. 

  • 1
    Establish a theme fitting to the surrounding culture and the environment
  • 2
    Consider the season and foods fitting to the season
  • 3
    Consider niche dishes to make your menu stand out
  • 4
    Consider trending dishes you could include in your menu
  • 5
    Obtain a budget from the finance department, and plan your menu in-line with this budget
  • 6
    Consider different dietary needs
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Some common dietary requirements to consider include:

  • Calorie control.

  • Lactose intolerance.

  • Vegetarian and vegans.

  • Peanut allergies. 

  • Diabetic.

  • Celiac disease (gluten free).

  • Kosher.

  • Halal.

Planning the menu

Consider your favorite meal ideas and make sure they contain foods from the required groups, as medically advised. You can check each food group as confirmation your meal ideas contain ingredients from each.

You are again presented with the option to link online documents such as a Google document, with a list of your final meal ideas, and then a separate document listing the ingredients needed.

The following subtasks are a guide, to guide you through the process of creating your new menu. They act as a reminder of important steps to be considered. Check each subtask off on its completion.

Review meal plans to make sure they contain foods from the following groups:

  • 1
    Breads, other cereals and potatoes
  • 2
    Fruit and vegetables
  • 3
    Milk ad dairy foods
  • 4
    Meat, fish and alternatives

 Review your meal ideas once more, considering the following:

  • 1
    How often do ingredients need to be ordered in?
  • 2
    When does each separate ingredient need to be ordered?
  • 3
    What quantities of each ingredient is needed?
  • 4
    Where are the best places to obtain the required ingredients?

When considering where to buy your ingredients, consider both cost and quality along with your hotel's restaurants theme.

Small menus have been shown to have an advantage over larger menus. Be sure to keep the menu short.

Design the menu

  • 1
    Create a design for the menu

A well-designed menu with entice diners. Important features to consider when designing your menu are:

  • Positioning: for example, with a two-fold menu, most people will look at the top right-hand side first. 

  • Font: for example, make the font easy to read if you are catering to an older crowd. 

  • Formatting: for example, one-third of the menu is read so use white space to ensure the menu is not over-crowded.

  • Item descriptions: for example, keep item descriptions short. 

  • Menu maintenance: for example, keep the menu fresh by including inserts on limited-time dishes.

Review the menu's first draft

  • 1
    Obtain team feedback on menu contents and design
  • 1
    Focus groups
  • 2
    Testing participants
  • 3
  • 4
    Online polls
  • 1
    Consider menu design and content changes needed
  • 2
    Gain authorization/approval for the menu design and contents plus the needed alterations

Feedback is important for improvement, adaption, and evolution of your ideas. Care and time should be taken to ensure enough feedback is obtained.


Review menu design

This is a conditional step. Selecting either Yes/No will lead you to separate process paths in this template relevant to your answer.

Based on the feedback given by your team and customers, consider beneficial changes to the new menu.

Design and contents changes

  • 1
    Send content changes as a list to designers and ask them to alter the menu design as required

See Process Street's 7 Essential Design Processes and Checklists article to aid your design process.

Trial Run:

Trial the new menu

  • 1
    Set aside a date for a trial run of the new menu
  • 2
    Advertise the trial run
  • 3
    Upload the trial menu online
  • 4
    Obtain customer feedback from trial run

The trial run of your menu is an extra step to obtain important feedback from both your colleagues and customers. You can see how well the new menu works in the kitchen and how well the menu pleases your guests.

Your restaurant menu needs to be online. Research by OpenTable found 93% of people read menus online.

Report outcome of trial run

This is a conditional step, whereby only if the trial run passes the menu can progress to the final approval stage

Record changes needed

  • 1
    The required alterations have been accounted for and processed

Re-trial the new menu

  • 1
    Set aside a date for a re-trial run of the new menu
  • 2
    Advertise the re-trial run
  • 3
    Upload the re-trial menu online
  • 4
    Obtain customer feedback from re-trial run

Re-trial run attainment

If you wish to proceed with the new menu, continue on to the final approval stage. If you do not wish to continue with the new menu based on the feedback obtained from the re-trial run, please return to step 16. The aim is to continually trial new menu ideas until a good fit is obtained.

  • 1
    Was the re-trial of the menu a success?
  • 2
    Do you wish to proceed with the new menu?

Please note once a good fit is obtained, your menu still needs to be dynamic. Adding trending dishes and changing your menu to fit the season are two examples of when you might need to alter your menu slightly. You can run through our menu planning checklist each time an alteration is needed to your current menu.

Final Approval:

Organise meetings

  • 1
    Arrange a meeting with key stakeholders
  • 2
    Implement further changes which may be needed
  • 3
    Update the menu as it appears on the website


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