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Set for success

Prix fixe, d’hôtel, set or tasting menu – these are all versions of a set menu and a great way to offer your guests something special while speeding up service and increasing your profit margin.

Before we look at the advantages of a set menu let’s look at the different options.


Usually three courses at a set price offering guests a limited choice for entrée, main

and dessert.


Like the d’hôtel menu the Prix fixe menus is often three or more courses, but the choices are even more limited, i.e. only for the main.


An extreme version of the Prix fixe menu and offers 2-3 courses at a fixed price but no choice, simply sit down and enjoy what the chefs serve.


Like the le menu du jour but possibly consisting of smaller and more courses for a set price. This is a great way to show off your kitchens talent and offer guests a real experience.


With all these options remember to add on a drinks option. A matching wine with each course is a great way to really polish the experience and highlight your team’s capability while increasing the spend per head.

What all these menus have in common is a set price for the meal. This is a huge advantage for eateries as it guarantees your minimum spend per head.

Flexibility is another key advantage with such menus you can change the offering to suit what is in season and therefore letting you take advantage of great pricing. Plus, if something suddenly becomes unavailable, a storm rips through Pukekohe flooding all the broccoli, you can change the dish to use something else.

Changing dishes or switching things up is a great way to keep regulars coming back. If they love what you do a “Trust the Chef” or “Feed Me” option is a great way to build on this while ensuring a minimum spend. You can also use this option to test dishes for new menus before committing to them on your regular menu.

While set menus provide many advantages for the kitchen team, they can also help your front of house staff too. Set menus speed up service as ordering is simplified or eliminated. This leaves your team to sell more drinks and provide great service. This is particularly pertinent when dealing with large groups. It is common overseas for groups over a certain size to have to go with a set menu.

While the benefits of set menus to the restaurant are many what do guests feel about them?

Studies on the psychology of ordering suggest set menus make the restaurant experience more enjoyable. The stress of choosing is eliminated or greatly narrowed.

A set menu often means guests get to experience a dish they would not order because of the dish description did not appeal. Yet by not choosing they have had a chance to try something new and this then becomes and experience as much as a meal.

With less work for both your kitchen and FOH team your guests will receive faster and more attentive service even if they are with a large group – that’s got to be a win!

Some tips on creating a successful set menu include, ensuring you offer options for those with dietary restrictions. Or better still bear these in mind when creating the menu with dishes that are gluten and dairy free or can easily be adapted.

Don’t go too experimental. A successful set menu should include popular dishes. The menu should also be cohesive. Start with the mains and then add the entrée and dessert to suit. Remember to also factor in the timings of the menu, your entrées and desserts should be able to be prepped ahead and fired out quickly.

Offering a set menu, in whatever form you choose, is an excellent way to please guests, provide a wonderful experience while maximising your profit.


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