< back to resources

Types of Menu: Different Menu Types in the Hospitality Industry

December 13, 2019
Free Download

There’s a whole field of study around optimizing your food and beverage menus known as menu engineering. But the types of menu are often overlooked. Most people may not even know how many types of menus there are.

That’s why we’re going to explain the basic menu types, then we’ll touch on beverage menus and dessert menus for good measure.

How Many Types of Menu Are There?

There are four primary types of menu. Below is some information about them along with some specifics about beverage menus and dessert menus.

What Are the Four Types of Menus?

The four types of menus most commonly used are a la carte menus, static menus, du jour menus, and cycle menus.

What Is an a La Carte Menu?

An a la carte menu lists the prices for each item separately. While the prices tend to be higher, a la carte menus have more flexibility. Customers can choose individual items and combine them any way they want.

Where Does a La Carte Come from?

A la carte is a French phrase that translates literally as “by the card” and roughly as “according to the menu.” It began being used in the early 19th century and is not exclusive to food. For example, a subscription to a cable provider can have a la carte channel selection. That means customers choose which channels they want individually instead of having a set channel package.

What’s Another Word for a La Carte?

Phrases like “from the menu” and “individually priced” communicate that a menu or section of a menu is a la carte.

What is a Static Menu?

A static menu is the most widely used menu today. A static menu doesn’t change often. Food and beverage are categorized into different groups. For food this may be appetizers, salads, entrees, etc. For drinks it may be shots, cocktails, beer, and wine.

What is a Du Jour Menu?

Du jour menus change daily, depending on what’s available or what the chef prepared. So, “chicken du jour” means the chicken that’s available today. Likewise, “soup du jour” is the soup that’s available today.

What Does Du Jour Mean?

Du jour is a French phrase that means “of the day.”

What is a Cycle Menu?

A cycle menu is a menu or part of a menu that has repeated options over a specific period of time. Think of a sandwich shop that offers a certain sandwich on Monday. Then another sandwich on Tuesday. And so on for the rest of the week. If they repeat those same offerings on those same days, it’s a cycle menu!

What is a Beverage Menu?

A beverage menu is any menu or section of a menu that sells alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. It can be a static, du jour, or cycle menu. Beverage menus are typically not a la carte menus.

What is a Cocktail Menu?

A cocktail menu is a specific type of beverage menu or section of a beverage menu. A good cocktail menu has a mix of base liquors, glassware, and flavors. It should also have one or two seasonal cocktails. Like beverage menus, it can be a static, du jour, or cycle menu and not a la carte.

What is a Dessert Menu?

Typically viewed at the end of a meal, a dessert menu is a menu or section of a menu that lists only the desserts. It can be an a la carte, static, du jour, or cycle menu.

Now You Know the Different Types of Menu

Like we said, these are the most commonly used menus in the food and beverage industries. There are a lot of options when it comes to designing and laying out menus. It’s a great way to boost your restaurant or bar’s profitability and doesn’t require a big investment. Just some creativity.

And if you want to boost your profit margin, think seriously about using a bar inventory system like BinWise for your beverage program. It speeds the entire inventory process up and gives you all the data you need to make profitable decisions. Book a demo and let us show you exactly how BinWise will help.