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This is an act of deciding in advance the types of foods or dishes to be included in a meal. This is necessary when food has to be bought, prepared, and served in large quantities to people of varying tastes and requirements. Menu planning is important for meeting the nutritional requirements of family members or guests.

Advantages of Menu Planning

  1. Menu planning helps to provide appetizing, nourishing and attractive meals to customers at a fair price.
  2. Menu planning ensures that food is not wasted because any left overs can be creatively incorporated in the next day’s menu which is already planned out.
  3. Planned menus help to identify dishes that did not sell well in the past and the favorite dishes of the customers.
  4. It saves time and effort spent on ordering, shopping and receiving of food materials.
  5. Well planned menu increases frequency of customers and attract new customers.
  6. Menu which is planned and cost in advance allows managers to quote prices instantly for a customer.


Factors That Affect the Menu Planning

Customer demand is being affected by the following factors:

  1. The relationship between health and eating.
  2. Dietary requirements.
  3. Cultural and religious influence
  4. Vegetarianism
  5. Ethnical influences



  1. What is a menu?
  2. Mention three advantages of menu planning.


  1. Relationship between Health and Eating

The key issue in the relationship between health and eating is ensuring a healthy diet. This means eating a balanceddiet rather than viewing individual foods as somehow healthier or less healthy. Customers are increasingly looking for the availability of choices that will enable them to achieve a balanced diet. Customers are also requiring more specific information on methods of cooking used.For example, low fat and low salt methods. 


There are a variety of medical conditions including allergies, which are more common than was previously understood. Customer may therefore require a certain diet for medical reason to prevent the occurring of such medical conditions. Examples of dietary requirements are:

  1. ALLERGIES: Food items that are known to cause allergies to certain people include the gluten in wheat, rye andbarley (known as celiac). Sometimes these foods can cause anaphylactic shock resulting in the lips, tongue or throat swelling where prompt medical attention is needed in such cases.
  2. DIABETIC: This refers to the inability of the body to produce sufficient level of insulin within the blood .An appropriate diet may include foods liked poached or grilled meat, grilled fish, fruit and vegetables, low fat milk, cheese and yoghurt, lean meat and fish.
  • LOW CHOLESTEROL: Diet will include polyunsaturated fats and may include limited quality of animal fats, others items eaten may include low fat milk, lean poached or grilled meat and fish, cheese and yoghurt.
  1. LOW SODIUM SALT:This requires a reduction in the amount of sodium or salt consumed. Diets will include low sodium /foods and cooking with very limited or no salt.



Various faiths can also affect menu planning, because various faiths have different requirement in terms of dish and ingredient that member can consume and ones they do not consume .Examples of some cultural and religious influence are:

  1. MUSLIMS: Will not consume alcohol or when alcohol is used in the cooking process. They also will not consume meat slaughtered outside Islamic law etc.
  2. ROMAN CATHOLICS:Some members usually will not eat meat on Ash Wednesday or Good Friday. Some keep with the past requirement for no meat to be eaten on Fridays. Fish and dairy products may be eaten instead.


Vegetarianism may derive from cultural religious, moral, ethical orphysiological consideration. i.e. some people are vegetarians due to one of the factors listed and these can affect menu planning since there are things they eat and things they don’t eat. Examples of vegetarianism are:

  1. LACTO OVO VEGETARIANS: Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, and poultry but take milk and milk products and eggs.
  2. LACTO VEGETARIANS: Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, poultry and eggs but take milk and milk products
  3. STRICT VEGETARIANS: Vegetarians are known as vegans. They do not eat animal and their products, but only vegetables or plant foods.
  4. SEMI VEGETARIANS: People in this category do not eat red meat, but eat lean meat including poultry. Their diet also includes fish and other dairy and animal products.
  5. FRUITARIANS: They are more restricted form of vegetarianism. Their diets include mainly raw and dried fruits, nuts, honey and olive oil. They do not take cereals and pulses.


  1. 5. ETHNICAL INFLUENCE: This has to do with where you come from e.g. in Nigeria, different ethnic groups have dishes peculiar to them.



  1. Explain the followinga.Lacto vegetarian b.Lacto ovo vegetarian
  2. Mention three factors that affect menu planning.



  1. INCOME: The income level of the home maker or the running cost available to the catering outfit goes a long way in affecting the type of menu/ meals that would be planned for. 
  1. CAPABILITY OF THE KITCHEN STAFF: If the kitchen staff have the technical know-how in preparing diverse meals it affects the menu table as there will be room for varieties.
  2. STAFF SIZE/STRENGTH: If the kitchen should have a limited number of staff, it would affect the type of menu that would be prepared.
  3. EQUIPMENT OF THE KITCHEN: Kitchen with enough facilities i.e. labor saving devices like blender, microwave, deep freezer, defroster etc. would facilitate easier and quicker preparations in menu’s unlike a kitchen lacking such facilities.
  4. COMPETITION: Be aware of any competition in the locality, including prices and quality .It will be wiser to produce a menu that is quite different.
  5. LOCATION: Study the area in which your establishment is situated and the potential target market of customers.
  6. MODERN TRENDS IN FOOD FASHIONS: These should be considered alongside with the popular traditional dishes. Decide the range of dishes to be offered and the pricing structure.Dishes can be priced separately, or a combined price for a set of two or three course menus or a combination of both.
  7. COST FACTOR: This is crucial if an establishment is to be profitable.Costing is essential for the success of compiling any menu.Modern computer techniques can analyze costs swiftly and on a daily basis.
  8. AVAILABILITY OF SUPPLIES AND RELIABILITY OF SUPLLIERS: Consider seasonal foods that will always be available on the menu card so customers will request and the answer is the food is available (due to seasonal problem) also consider storage space e.t.c.
  9. FOODS IN SEASON:These should be considered when planning menu. Foods in season are cheaper, fresher and more in quantity. They should be included more in the plan.



  1. Mention five factors that influence menu planning.
  2. List five factors to consider when planning menu.
  3. State the use of the following equipmenta. Skewer Wooden ladle        c.Bainemarie
  4. Explain how to care for the equipment listed above.
  5. List five types of vegetarians.



Catering Craft Practice for Senior Secondary Schools SS1-3 by AminuS.N.Bariki.Pages 180-184.

Basic Catering for Senior Secondary Schools SSS1-3 by Helen F. Omotayo and Theresa O. Olorunda. Pages 224-226



  1. ____ is crucial if an establishment is to be profitable. A. Allergies B. Cost factor C.Competition D. Location
  2. A limited number of staff will____ the number of menu to be prepared.A. hinder B. affect C. protect increase
  3. ____ vegetarians do not take meat, fish, poultry, and eggs but take milk. A. StrictB. Lacto ovoC.LactoD. Semi
  4. The inability of the body to produce sufficient amount of insulin is called ____ A. hypertension B. diabetes C. insomnia D.anaemia
  5. ____influence has to do with where you come from. A.ethical B. ethnical C. racist D. crucial



  1. Mention five factors that influence menu planning.
  2. List five factors to consider when planning menu.

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