Year Out Menu Development Work plans?

Discussion in 'Professional Pastry Chefs' started by PastryAllDay, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. PastryAllDay

    PastryAllDay

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    12 years, and 3 in management
    Hi all-

    Very helpful advice given last time I posted, so feeling hopeful that you all have some good work habits up your sleeve that can help me out.

    Problem: Boss wants a year out of menu planning for all holidays, recipe testing, and pro photos taken: by April or so.
    My and my sous’ calendar are booked solid (72 hour work weeks solid) until then- we have an audit/entire regulatory and systems change we are prepping for /implementing (being in manufacturing as well as retail), and I can’t really delegate the work.
    Beyond that though, for the year out menu we would be attempting new menu items (about 20-30 items)- and I just don’t have the ideas yet, let alone feel like it’s possible to R&D all of them within a 1-2 week period.Do you all have techniques when it’s creative crunch time?
    Have you all ever planned/tested out an entire year of menus? I feel like my stress over the audit is leaking into this and maybe it’s not as uncommon as it feels.
    Thanks and any advice is welcome!

    Nat
     
  2. jcakes

    jcakes

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    Is your Boss aware of your commitment to the audit and what it entails? What happens if you fail the audit? Is that project in any danger of being delayed or cancelled? Is there an internal political struggle associated with this project (like your boss or someone else wants it to fail?)? Can you suggest that in order for you to complete the menu project you have to be taken off of the audit project?

    I have to wonder about a menu a year out. I can understand a season out (we start thinking about the December holidays usually by mid-July because they want to sell the menu right after Sept 1) but a year out doesn't allow you to respond to a new trend that suddenly materializes (not all trends are worth following, I know)
     
    PastryAllDay and chefpeon like this.
  3. PastryAllDay

    PastryAllDay

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    Hi Jcakes,

    It’s an independent 3rd party audit so we are prepared/able to make changes as needed prior to full regulatory changes going into effect. Those are due for us in September, and I am quite sure that we should have/need a good six months of settling into habits of updated record keeping etc so that we are truly up to compliance. I think that’s my main sticking point- owners feel that less time is necessary and that we will probably not get heavily penalized. I’ve spelled out catastrophic worst outcomes for them, but it’s a hard sell as those outcomes are unlikely. As for year out menu, I agree, and I think that’s where a lot of my hesitation to say yes/make it happen comes in. I really don’t want to just re-use last years menu.... and if I was then another round of photo shoots feel unnecessary. So a bit stuck. I ultimately would like to use the system I have always used, and plan for photos about 8-10 weeks out, press kits 6 weeks out, etc. I guess I was just wondering if I’m alone in my lack of creative desire to make our Xmas menu now, or if anyone had ideas on how to *spark creativity for something so far off. I suppose I can sit down w flavor bible or something, but it just feels so off to me.
     
  4. chefross

    chefross

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    Sounds like you're in a corporate environment where the higher-ups have no clue as to what the work entails.
    Other than working on that year out menu in your pajamas at night at home, and arranging the R&D, and photo shoots before and after hours, you really are stuck.