Good ideas can come from unexpected places. However, if you aren’t familiar with some basic rules in the kitchen and what the recipe ideation process looks like, you might forget your ideas very quickly or simply throw away your final dish after applying a wrong food combination.
In this article, we are going to cover three main areas:
- How to come up with a new recipe idea and how to create recipes,
- How to add a new recipe to EagleOwl restaurant management system,
- How to introduce new menu items to your restaurant visitors and potential guests.
After reading our post, you will be able to manage your recipe ideas not only in your head but also organize them effectively and integrate them into your restaurant management software.
How to create recipes: 7 steps you should take
#1 Research flavour pairings and cooking methods
The secret of this or that recipe can be just a unique spice or a new ingredient that others don’t utilize. Here we will introduce some tried and tested fruit combinations and you can come up with your own secret that will make the combination different:
- Banana, caramel, hazelnut
- Strawberry, chocolate, vanilla
- Apple, cardamon, cinnamon
- Orange, chocolate, mint
Cooking methods (what equipment to use, how long to cook, at what temperature) is another knowledge you need to acquire. There are dozens of different cooking methods (grilling, baking, pan-frying, etc) and replacing one with another can influence the taste and look of the dish.
You should also know that some ingredients are sensitive to cooking and you simply can’t cook them. For example, you should never cook honey as it will turn into poison. Or if you prefer cooking your dish with alcohol, you should get acquainted with some best practices.
#2 Avoid bad food combinations
There are some products that not only don’t go well with each other but can damage your health and result in digestive problems.
For example, you should never eat/offer citrusy or acidic fruits/ingredients with milk as it can lead to gas or heartburn. You can see a more comprehensive list of incomparable ingredients below:
#3 Take inspiration
Taking inspiration doesn’t mean copying another person’s recipe. It means that you replace/add one or more ingredients and your dish acquires a totally different, unique taste.
Note: Increasing or decreasing the amount of ingredients you use doesn’t make the recipe original.
Where to find inspiration for a new recipe? Here’s a quick list:
- TV shows
- Youtube channels
- Cookbooks and magazines
- Food blogs
- Food markets
- Your fridge (try to cook something using the ingredients you have at hand)
#4 Keep a master list of ideas
Great ideas might visit you when you are seeing a recipe post/video on Instagram, Pinterest or Youtube. To make sure you won’t forget or lose your ideas, you can create an Instagram collection or a Pinterest board.
Below you will find a few more ideas on how to keep your recipe ideas organized:
- Install a recipe organizer app where you can add recipe names, descriptions, ingredients and take any other notes you have in mind,
- Use the Notes section of your mobile phone. This is great because you don’t need an internet connection to use this feature and can even take audio notes, aka leave voice messages. Notes are free and you can customize their background color, add a checklist, etc,
- Use Notepad. Notepad also doesn’t require an internet connection and you can use it only for organizing your recipes. No folders and files, you will find your list of ideas easily with only a few clicks,
- Use a Google doc or sheet. Both are very convenient and allow you to see the history of edits, changes, etc.
If you don’t have a notebook or a mobile phone at that moment, here are a few ways to remember things without writing them down:
- Remember things in sequences (e.g. alphabetical order),
- Make associations with what you are trying to remember and something that reminds you of your idea,
- Take the first letter of each word/phrase you are trying to remember and create an acronym,
- Draw a picture of things you are thinking about.
#5 Think about the colors and shape of your recipe
External factors such as cutlery, tableware, and atmosphere can influence people’s taste and quality perception. Food decoration, colors, and shapes of the ingredients can also determine how guests perceive its value.
So if you want your recipe to be successful and enjoy popularity, you should take care not only about its final taste but its look and feel as well.
#6 Name your recipe
Your recipe’s name can determine whether your restaurant guests will love or ignore it on the menu. That’s why you should be careful with name selection. You can name your new recipe using any of these approaches:
- Mention the main ingredients,
- Mention the main ingredients and the way they are prepared (grilled, poached, etc),
- Translate the name of the main ingredient into a different language and if the name is pleasant to your ears, name accordingly,
- Use emotional phrases related to your recipe (e.g. “Chocolate kiss”)
- Use geographical names (e.g. Szechuan sauce),
- Use personal names (e.g. Caesar salad named after its creator Caesar Cardini).
#7 Determine the serving size
If you are going to add your recipe to your menu, you need to know what the original cost of the recipe is and cost it accordingly. Understand how many tablespoons, cups, and ounces you used for each ingredient and make correct calculations.
How to add a new recipe to EagleOwl (and manage your recipes)
EagleOwl is equipped with a separate section dedicated to recipes.
From there, you can see your list of recipes and sub recipes, disabled and incomplete recipes.
You can also
- Search recipes by ingredients,
- Add a recipe,
- Classify recipes (by categories and tags),
- Export recipes,
- Apply filters.
Adding a recipe is one of the most exciting moments of using EagleOwl as you have something new to share with your guests. Click +Add recipe and start filling out the fields:
- Classifications (not mandatory),
- Recipe available in outlets (if you have multiple locations),
- Recipe quantity (portion, g, mg, etc),
- Recipe ingredients,
- Method and notes,
- Menu description.
Note: To be able to add an ingredient to your recipe, you first need to create SKUs (stock keeping unit) for each ingredient. SKUs are alphanumeric codes that you assign to all your products to track your inventory and measure sales.
Please watch our quick videos on Youtube below to understand how SKUs work on EagleOwl:
- Creating SKU tags and applying to SKUs
- SKU Mapping (replace one SKU with another)
- SKU List and Actions
After your new recipe is ready and all details are entered to the system, click Save and your list of recipes is updated with one more item.
The final list of your recipes will look like this:
You will see
- The recipe name,
- Date updated,
- How many ingredients it contains,
- Original cost of the recipe (the system automatically calculates the price based on your ingredient prices and based on what amount you use from each ingredient),
- Sale price of the recipe,
- COGS (cost of goods sold).
Managing your recipes, costs, inventory and all your operations through EagleOwl allows you to automate tasks that are repetitive and save you from mistakes in your calculations.
Once you build your virtual restaurant with EagleOwl, you will start noticing how your inventory management gets optimized and you start increasing your profits.
How to introduce new menu items to your visitors
#1 Start with your staff members
Make sure your servers are well aware of what ingredients are used in the new recipe, how it is cooked, what the portion size is, why they are special. It would be even better if the servers sample the new recipe and describe how it tastes.
#2 Launch it on Instagram
Instagram is a top platform for food photography and every day thousands of food photos are posted here.
Hashtags are a perfect way to get your new recipe in front of food lovers. But if you use any of the popular hashtags below, your post will remain unnoticed among tens of millions of similar photos.
Instead, use more specific and less popular hashtags to increase your chances of getting noticed.
#3 Invite influencers, bloggers or journalists to try it
Original food costs are low. Instead of running expensive ads, you can select a few bloggers/micro celebrities with large and relevant social media following, offer them to try your new recipe, and share their impressions.
Ultimately, you will be able to influence your potential customers through third parties which is a more powerful way of influence than ads. Plus, you will get user-generated content from your partners in the form of videos and photos that you can use later to enhance credibility.
#4 Print flyers and promote them
Flyers are still an effective and low cost way to promote a business, especially when it comes to food. With a few cents per flyer, you can reach thousands of people by distributing your flyers in supermarkets, coffee shops, bakeries, hotels, etc. The flyers may contain your full menu and highlight the new recipe to draw attention.
#5 Mark it as “New” on your menu
Allocating a special place for the new recipe on your menu might be a good idea if you prefer online menus and can easily make changes. If you primarily use a printed menu, this approach might be costly and you will have to print your menu again once your new recipe becomes a standard option.
We hope our article was practical and useful enough to help you with how to create a recipe, starting from coming up with an idea, making it an integral part of your menu engineering to making your new recipe available in your restaurant management system.
If you have questions about how to develop recipes or how else EagleOwl can help you with recipe management, book a call with our team.