Creating Your Menu

Your menu is an important thing to think about when starting your new mobile catering business. The menu should tell the story of your business, assist promotion, establish budget and keep your brand fresh.

Often the first impression to your customers, your menu will stay with customers long after they’ve ordered from it. You want customers to be excited by your menu, and encourage them to come back for more.

Choosing (and testing) your menu

Creating a menu that is inspiring yet original can be difficult. Your menu needs to not only match your concept, but take into consideration the equipment you will need to create your meals.

Matching the menu to your concept:

If your truck will sell ethnic cuisine, you need to make sure your menu items reflect your selected culture. Research your competitors menus, and make sure that if you are planning on any similar menu items you put your own twist on them. It may seem obvious, but you will also need to consider your hours of operation and think about if you are targeting breakfast, lunch or dinner (but hey, no one ever said all day breakky was a bad thing).

Tips to building your menu:
•  The easier the better (less is more)
•  Plan menu items you can utilise the same ingredients
•  Quality over quantity (when it comes to the number of items on your menu)

Equipment:
Once you have narrowed down your menu, you will get an idea of the equipment you will need to create your new delicious meals. This is where we come in. We have a range of preferred suppliers at great prices, and can help you with all of the equipment you need to hit the road.

Testing:
Now for the fun part – trialing your menu items. Cook up a storm, and make sure you time how long each dish takes to prepare. Setup a criteria based on the following: appearance, taste, temperature and texture. Once you are happy with your creations, you can start to think about how much they are worth.

Setting your prices

So, how much should you charge for your menu items? While it can be an intimidating task, there are a few factors you can think about to help you determine pricing.

• Direct costs: such as the ingredients, portions per serving, spillage/waste etc.
• Indirect costs: aspects of your truck that add perceived value or quality
• Changing food costs: you may want to set your prices slightly higher to allow for market price fluctuation for ingredients (mostly fresh produce)
• Competition: always keep an eye on competitor menu pricing

Although you can’t control every factor, this should help you gage an appropriate price range.

While prices are specific, your menu should fall into a price point category. The price point is where the cost and quality scales intersect for customers. Customers will pay more for quality, but just how much more is something only they can answer. Think about your local market, and what is considered a fair price for similar items. Added value such as premium ingredients, portion sizing, extras at no cost, uniqueness and organic produce can also up your pricing.

Menu design

Once you have knuckled down your menu, you can start thinking about your menu board design. The menu board’s colours, fonts, layout and description are literally selling your items, and this is an important element that can be overlooked. Avoid making descriptions too long and make sure anyone working in your truck knows the menu back-to-front.

We recommend enlisting the help of a professional to design your board to make sure you are selling your business to it’s potential!

Want more information? Send us an enquiry today.