Long stereotyped as a style of dining primarily for upscale establishments, the prix fixe menu, which translates literally to fixed price in French, can be a fantastic approach in today’s climate.
This rings true especially during the holiday season, when guests benefit from an elevated sense of celebration and festivity. Not only will prix fixe menus make kitchen operations easier to manage and allow for greater output, they also allow management to more accurately forecast revenue in advance.
Prix fixe sells best when clearly tailored to an occasion, whether that is Hanukkah, Christmas, Christmas Eve, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, or — thinking ahead here — Valentine’s Day. With some shiny bells and whistles folded in, this becomes the key pillar of your marketing campaign’s in-store signage, email outreach, public relations efforts and social calendar.
Remember to promote your prix fixe menu as early as possible. When not preparing holiday meals themselves at home, diners prefer to shop around in advance to take one more thing off their busy planning schedules. If your marketing starts too late, you may lose out on possible covers.
Don’t Complicate Things
If there’s one reason above others to consider holiday prix fixe, it’s because set menus streamline the process of restaurant operations across the board—from ordering ingredients, to cooking the dishes to serving them to guests. Three or four courses work perfectly here; more than that can leave guests feeling overwhelmed and full.
Offer a couple selections per course to appease vegetarians and other dietary restrictions or offer a la carte substitutions from your regular menu. Remember, the idea is to maximize sales with limited impact on food consistency, guest experience, and overall operations.
Put the Price in Prix
The best way to calculate the set price of your prix fixe is to consider all raw ingredient costs and work backwards. To increase profits, identify the most expensive selection in each course and base the set price on that, confidently knowing that when guests opt for the less expensive items, not only are you making margins, but a generous profit as well.
Prix fixe menus provide the perfect opportunity to add supplemental luxury ingredients that entice guests into spending a little more to celebrate at your restaurant. Even if you don’t typically shave truffles over your ravioli, dollop caviar generously on top of your scrambled eggs or make your burgers out of wagyu, the holidays are the right time to do that!
Similarly, adding wine into the prix fixe mix is a great way to improve the experience from the guest perspective. Price beverage packages that identify savings for the guests while still increasing liquor sales across the board and remember, a Champagne or cocktail list provided by the server the moment the guests sit down adds another layer of holiday cheer (and profit) to everyone’s bottom line.