Types of Food Menus

Lesson 03 : Food Menus

Types of Food Menus

The type and style of service used in an institution will influence the food items to be included on the menu. Menu should be planned in advance for a week’s period.

Menu Pattern: It is the outline of foods to be included in each meal. The set menu with a single item in each course is a pattern that may be used in a lunchroom. The no choice menu pattern may be followed in university, residence hall, hospital and in homes for adults and children

  1. Selective menu: or one with choice within each course is used in order to please the food likes and habits of the clientele served. Hospital dietary department uses it extensively as do most commercial food service units. In which the entrees and accompaniments (usually the vegetables and sometimes salad) are priced as one. The customers select other course he may wish at additional cost.

  2. A ‘la’ carte menu: This menu is Choice menu, Where every item is priced individually. The customer can you pick and choice and compose a meal plan by suitable selection based on likes and dislikes.

    A la carte menus: are identified by

    • Being usually a larger menu – offers greater choice
    • Items are Listed under ten food categories or course headings all the dishes that may be prepared by the establishment
    • Preparation of dishes is done as per order
    • Pricing is done on each item separately
    • Usually it is more expensive than table d’ hote menu
    • This menu contains exotic and high cost seasonal foods

    The a la carte menu may also contain a section known as ‘plat du jour’ or ‘specialty of the house’ – these may be changed daily. A la carte menus are more difficult to control as the demand is unknown and because of their size.

  3. Table d’ hote Menus: are identified by
    • Being a restricted menu
    • Offering a small number of courses (3-4)
    • A limited choice within each course
    • A fixed selling price
    • All the dishes being ready at a set time

    This type of menu usually contains popular type dishes and is easier to control.
    Adaptations of table d’ hote menu used for

    1. Banquets: A banquet menu is a fixed menu at a set price – no choice is offered to the customers (except veg./kosher) and is available to all guests at a predetermined time.
    2. Buffets: This type of meals vary depending on the occasion and the price paid, where all items are prepared and proportioned to a small size. Varies from simple finger buffet to exotic buffets where hot and cold food is available. Buffet is a form of table d’ hote menu as restricted menu is offered.
    3. Coffee houses: more recent type of table d’ hote menu which is commonly used in hotels and restaurants. Characteristics of this menu are:
      • Set menu offered often for 12-18 hours of the day
      • Reasonably priced
      • Offers a range and choice of items that are suitable for snacks, light meals, lunch or dinner
      • Offers a limited range of foods that are already cooked, are of the convenience type of food category and require little preparation time, or are simple and quick to cook (omelet etc)
      • Offers simplified form of service (plate service, counter service etc)

  4. Cycle menus: These are a series of table d’ hote menus (for 3-4 weeks) which are repeated again and again for a set period of about 3-4 months. Used in hospitals, industrial catering – assists in purchasing, preparation of items and staffing requirements.

    Advantages of cycle menu:

    • Repetition of the same or nearly same menu aids in standardization and helps in gaining efficiency by the cook.
    • Better coordination and utilization of the time
    • Constant work load fairly distributed among all the employees.
    • Available equipment can be used efficiently
    • Helps in simplified purchasing and prevention of losses.


    • Menu repetition may become monotonous if cycle is short.
    • If seasonal fruits and vegetables are used then cycle menu will be efficient one.

  5. Elective menu: Where the price of the entire entrees determines the price of the complete meal and choice are allowed among the appetizers,vegsalad,desserts.

  6. Combination menu: In some establishment it is commonto have a ‘la’ carte menuwith a “special for the day” attached to it.This special may be set of dishes with an accompaniment or a plated meal offered in a table ‘d’hote form at a set price.
Last modified: Wednesday, 23 May 2012, 6:52 AM