8 Expert Tips for Crafting a Fantastic Prix Fixe Menu

Maybe you didn't know, but Prix Fixe means “fixed price”.  

When you see the word prix-fixe in a restaurant, it usually means that you can enjoy a nice meal at a fixed price. Usually, these types of meals include more than one course with a variety of options. It could be a 3- or 6-course prix fixe meal, for instance!  

It sounds good, but what exactly is it? This article explains everything you need to know about the famous Prix Fixe Menu. Enjoy your meal and take a seat!  

Bon appétit! 

The term “prix fixe" is a French term that means “fixed price," and it is pronounced “pree fiks." A prix fixe menu is a multi-course meal served at a fixed price. It comprises several courses that have already been decided by the chef. This is why they are also called 'set menus' or 'tasting menus'. Occasionally, guests can customize their orders by choosing dishes from various categories, such as desserts, appetizers, side dishes, and main courses.    

What Is a Prix Fixe Menu, and When Is It Necessary?

A prix fixe meal includes at least three courses, often an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Other categories, such as soups and salads, may be included. There is a set price for the entire menu.    

Restaurants can offer up to three options for each segment. For example, in the dessert section, you could have options like ice cream, chocolate cake, and fruit salad. However, offering more than three alternatives per category might be overwhelming for customers and should be avoided.    

During peak times, prix fixe meals are used to keep a frenetic kitchen under control. On busy days, they can give your cooks much-needed prep time and help the restaurant run smoothly. Prix fixe menus can also be used in scenarios such as: 

  1. To set the tone for the day at special events.  
  2. On slow weeknights, bring in dinners.    
  3. On special days, highlight your cooks' abilities.   

Different Types of Prix Fixe Menus

Different restaurants use different types of prix fixe menus to meet their needs as well as their customers.   

1) Host's Table  

The Host's Table (or Table Hôte in French) is akin to a set menu. However, unlike a prix fixe, the price of the entrées at a Host's table might fluctuate. Diners pay varied prices depending on the courses they order.  

2) The Teishoku  

Teishoku is a Japanese restaurant service style in which you can give platters of different kinds of dishes or meal packages from the menu at a fixed price.   

3) Prix Fixe Lunches  

Restaurants can struggle to attract customers at lunch, especially if they are neither a go-to destination for business meals nor a quick-service restaurant. However, here is where a prix fixe lunch menu at an enticing price can help you attract people for lunch and grow your business.   

Prix fixe menus are popular on special occasions such as Valentine's Day and events such as Restaurant Week. Restaurants can adopt a prix fixe menu on these occasions to streamline things for a huge crowd and a busy kitchen. They are also ideal for catered events, parties, and serving a packed restaurant. 

Advantages of prix fixe menu for your restaurant

a) Cost control   

One advantage of a prix fixe menu is that you already have a set budget because the courses to be served have been pre-selected. This means that food provision is already very specific, and you can explicitly set cooking periods and the number of customers you can serve. 

b) Showcase your restaurant's idea 

It's a fantastic opportunity to show your customers what makes your restaurant unique. From the service to the decoration, this is your time to exceed your customers' expectations. One of the most rewarding things is when your customers tell you they will return!

c) Try new recipes and promote your regular menu items 

A prix fixe menu will allow you to try out new dishes. The feedback you receive from your guests will help you decide if you should include some meals on your regular menu or if you should make changes to improve them.

It will also help to promote the foods you already have on your a la carte menu. Diners will undoubtedly return for a favorite dish!

d) Make it easier for your employees 

Having fewer selections on the menu will make it much easier for waiters to take orders. It will also be simpler for chefs to prepare, cook, and serve the dishes.  

8 Must-Know Tips for Planning a Prix Fixe Menu

Creating a prix fixe menu will stretch your creativity to the fullest. Here are eight expert ideas for creating a fantastic prix fixe menu for your restaurant

1. Choose a theme   

To begin the fun, consider what flavors and textures you want to display.   

Choosing a theme or topic will be very helpful for this. For example, let’s say your theme is Neapolitan Night. Caprese salad, Margherita pizza, spaghetti with clams, gnocchi, sfogliatella, and other dishes could be on the menu.    

You can gather ideas for themes from geography, classic movies, seasons of the year, or whatever you can think of! The selection will help you define guidelines so that the menu has coherence and combines flavors that complement each other.  

After you've decided on a theme, you must decide how many courses your menu will include. A good number is three or four: salad, appetizer, main course, and dessert. You can then choose what you want the dishes to be.  

2. Keep it simple   

If you plan to create a multi-course menu, be sure that the majority of the dishes are not too complicated to prepare. You don't want to make your chefs' lives harder than needed!   

It is better to mix simple dishes with those that demand a little more effort. In the end, having dishes that complement each other is more important. Not all of your courses have to be very complex. It's enough to have one or two main dishes that demand a little more time!   

3. Prepare ahead of time   

It is essential to prepare courses ahead of time before customers arrive. This ensures that your dishes arrive at all tables at the correct temperature and on time.  

4. Avoid serving items with very opposite flavors   

You must follow a logical order. For example, if you offer vegetarian tacos, pair them with an onion soup that complements the tacos. Avoid offering dishes that compete with one another.   

5. Tolerate restricted diets   

Nowadays, it's typical to be asked for gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan, or nut-free options. Try to have alternatives available for specific dietary preferences if at all possible.  

6. Include pairing options  

Making beer or wine pairings to go with the menu is a terrific idea. It will improve the flavor of your dishes and make the overall experience more enjoyable, in addition to being fun and tasty!   

7. Limit your choices  

Try not to have too many options. Three items per plate are the ideal number for offering variety without overloading the customers. 

8. Option to pre-order   

The pre-order tool allows you to offer fixed-price menus in limited quantities. People, after all, need exclusives, and FOMO (fear of missing out) is more prevalent these days.   

You can limit the number of orders by ordering online, making preparation easier. Furthermore, you can open pre-orders for a prix fixe menu that is exclusively available on weekends in just 2-3 days.

Marketing is also Important!

Everything counts. From the menus and dishes' decoration to the attentive service of your waiters. Make an effort to write delectable descriptions for each menu item. Everyone loves to read words that spark their interest! If your customers are left wanting to try other courses, they will surely come back!  

Great customer service is how you set yourself out from the competitors.   

Read our latest blog on Smart marketing tools for your restaurant. 

A prix fixe menu helps to ensure food quality. Your team will simply need to learn to prepare a few dishes. This will offer them more time to focus on quality and small details. At the end of the day, the service will be considerably smoother!  

Hopefully, you now understand what a prix fixe menu is. Without a doubt, it is a plan that will allow your cooks' talent to shine through. Offering a prix fixe menu is also a terrific strategy to capitalize on special days to bring new customers to your restaurant!