Keeping a fresh, current, and relevant menu is more art than science. You need to consider seasonality, up-and-coming trends, specifics of the market you’re in, and the guests you’re serving — not to mention the appropriate cadence for changes.
For Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, a group that operates brands such as Ocean Prime, The Avenue, and The Pearl, the process is even more complex because they have restaurants from coast to coast. A guest visiting Ocean Prime should feel like they’re having a consistent experience whether they’re dining in the Beverly Hills location or the Indianapolis one, although the markets behave completely differently.
“Some concepts we change twice a year, in the spring and the fall, and others we change more for local reasons, or just to freshen up,” says Ryan Valentine, Director of Beverage for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. “Everything is specific to each concept. For a concept to resonate with a guest it has to feel like it fits together — whether it’s more seasonal or more local.”
Ryan partners with Andrea Hoover, CMR’s Beverage Operations Manager, to develop new cocktails and beverage menus for all of the group’s many, varied concepts across the country. Here are some of their tips for building (and evolving) menus that work. [Read more…]