Guest Author - Karen Tempel
When you are preparing a menu for prospective clients you probably put a lot of time and thought into the actual dishes on the menu. This often involves balancing the plate both for food groups, textures, and colors.
You probably also take into consideration the ease of preparation of the various items, balancing the menu with some complicated recipes and other simple but fabulous ones. But how much thought do you give to the actual names you have given the items on the menu?
It is said that we eat with our eyes before we ever put a bite in our mouths, hence the emphasis on presentation and color. I would argue that we eat with our ‘ears’ before we even see the food on the plate.
For example, would you prefer to eat pot roast, mashed potatoes with gravy and green beans or Pot Roast Madiera, Creamy Smashed Potatoes with Savory Wild Mushroom Gravy and Green Bean Bundles? Somehow the second option not only sounds more appealing, I believe I would be willing to pay more money for that menu!
Manufacturing companies have this concept in mind when they hire well paid graphic designers to customize packaging as well as advertising campaigns for their products. Often it is not the product that secures the sale but the box that holds the item.
Exclusive restaurants employ the same tactics. You are unlikely to find a burger and fries listed on the menu, but look closely and you will probably find something resembling the same hidden behind a fancy title.
A little creativity will often go a long way toward giving you a leg up on the competition. I once was asked to propose a menu for a woman celebrating fresh start in life including the end of a marriage and the end of mortgage payments.
Diane enjoyed her “Freedom Celebration” including such items as “Fun in the Sun”-dried Tomato Spread, “Free Range” Chicken Salad, “Sweet Freedom” Meatballs, “Fresh Start” Four Bean Salad, and “Double the Fun” Raspberry Fudge Brownies.
Corny names? Yes. A bit random? Certainly. But Diane fell in love with the proposal on paper before she tasted a thing. She and her guests enjoyed the evening and had fun with the menu items.
Take a good look at the menus you propose. Where can you add a creative touch? You will be rewarded with more accepted proposals and higher fees.