Whether you’re the owner of an existing restaurant who’s looking to overhaul your menu or you’re trying to formulate menu items for your new startup, choosing which dishes make the cut to be included on your menu can be challenging. In a prior blog, we briefly touched on the psychology that goes into creating the perfect menu, and today, we’ll review ideal features that all of your menu items should embody to strike a balance between pleasing your guests and maintaining reasonable food and supply costs. 

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7 Key Features for Ideal Menu Items

So, aside from being pleasing to the palate and eye, what features should you think about when choosing your menu items? Let’s take a look at the major ones.

Consistently Priced Materials

The ingredients that comprise the dishes on your menu should be consistently priced to help you maintain your food cost expense. If there is a certain grain or cut of meat that skyrockets in price during certain times of the year, this can be difficult to budget for. 


Regardless of whether you own a fast food restaurant or a more formal sit-down establishment, your guests will expect to receive high-quality dishes. To ensure the satisfaction of your patrons, be sure to choose only high quality ingredients for the dishes on your menu.

Unique and In Demand

Choosing menu items that are in high-demand and different from your competitors may help an indecisive guest choose your restaurant over the one next door. If you must have a similar dish to a competitor, consider how you can prepare the meal better than or different from how they prepare it.

Easily Stored

When selecting your staple ingredients, it is wise to choose those that have long shelf lives. It is also best if your raw ingredients are easily stored without requiring any special temperature or moisture considerations.

Available Year-Round

Unless your restaurant is one that will have a menu that changes with the season, it is essential to select foods for your dishes that are available year-round. This will ensure a timeless dining experience for your guests regardless of the season.

Consistent Preparation

While it’s always a great idea to feature some unique specialty items on your menu, it’s usually a good idea to make sure that all of your dishes can be prepared in a consistent manner. Doing so will allow your staff to fine-tune their prep skills and deliver consistent dishes to diners.

Consistent Cooking Times

It is helpful to choose dishes for your menu that will take roughly the same time to cook, and generally anything between 10 to 15 minutes is a safe bet. This can help prevent your guests from having to wait too long for their meal, regardless of what their fellow diner ordered.

Restaurant Business Training and Consulting

These are just a few considerations to make while choosing ingredients and dishes for your menu. To discover more helpful information related to the success of your restaurant business, including developing a business plan, employee training, finances, and more, check out our innovative consulting services today! We can’t wait to help you!