Imagine this: Your culinary team is faced with developing a new menu to meet sales goals. The menu is expected to launch in the fall of next year. You have several challenges.
- Several of your team members are convinced the company needs to go a particular direction despite sales numbers.
- As VP of Culinary, you feel obliged to work with your current vendors and do not have the bandwidth to explore other options anyway.
- Last, but not least, can you really anticipate which culinary trends will be hot 18 months from now?
Culinary divisions at restaurant organizations the world over struggle to develop menus that please the boss, the marketing department, and the culinary department. It’s not for a lack of ideas. It’s a lack of actionable ideas that have consensus.
What Is a Culinary Concept Sprint?
A culinary concept sprint is a lot like it sounds. In a short period of time, you and your team develop culinary concepts, but not just any concepts. Using defined parameters and setting a clear goal allows you to ideate menu items within a framework. Then, following a process, those ideas become recipes and those recipes become menu items.
How Concept Sprints Work at FDR
Food & Drink Resources created our 3C Development Process™ at the outset. We believe culinary concept sprints are critical to effective menu development. Too many times we’ve seen good ideas get lost because of bureaucracy and delays. Because we’ve developed a refined approach, we can help our clients bring those good, profitable ideas to fruition quickly.
Typically, our 3C clients convene at our location, the FDR Innovation Center in Denver, for a full three days. The idea is to get away from the routine of your own office. Plus, the FDR Innovation Center was designed to inspire creativity and was built with two test kitchens and a test bar, meeting space, and consumer research facilities.
Day 1 of the 3C Development Process
During the first day, your team and our team explore Denver-area trending restaurants, compete in cooking competitions, and participate in other activities to exercise your creative instincts and to team build.
Day 2 of the 3C Development Process
During day two, we get to work through facilitated brainstorming sessions. Again, we bring in a variety of foods and other idea-starters to keep the ideas coming. By the time the day is over, we have landed on the recipes that could work for your brand.
Step 3 of the 3C Development Process
Day three is about consumer research. Using our own facilities, facilitator, and pool of consumer research respondents, you watch focus group discussions about your brand, your menu, and weigh in on those innovated dishes we created on day two. Because our consumer research facility and test kitchen are under the same roof, we are able to immediately make changes and get additional feedback that same day.
One thing we should explain, as it may set us apart from other menu development companies, is that we do work with you in advance to determine the goals and framework of the project. This ensures we stay on track and provide you with appropriate thought-starters during our time together.
But overall, the 3C Development Process is three days of exploring, inspiring, learning, and sharing ideas in order to develop your next profitable restaurant menu.