Crafting a Fixed Price Menu With Flair: A Step-by-Step Guide to Designing a Prix Fixe Menu

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Marlaina Lanese
May 19, 2023
A customer is enjoying a dish from a prix fixe menu.

Prix fixe menus are a popular dining option for special occasions like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and other holidays. But they can also be an excellent way to boost traffic during slower days and times. According to American Express, numerous restaurants have found that prix fixe menus offer a surefire means of attracting customers during quieter periods. In fact, prix fixe menus have become a fixture at lunchtime.

In this article, we will look at the fundamentals of designing a prix fixe menu, from what it is, to its benefits, pricing strategies, and more. We will also look at examples of fixed price menu items and how to make the most of the ingredients you have available. So, let’s dive in and get started on crafting your perfect prix fixe menu.

What is a Prix Fixe Menu?

A fixed price menu, also known as a prix fixe menu, is a menu that offers customers a set price for an entire meal. This generally includes an appetizer, entrée, and dessert, but more courses can be added in, along with wine pairings. Fixed price menus are usually offered as part of a special event, promotion, or holiday as an alternative to the regular à la carte menu. It is a great way to provide a unique experience for customers while giving the chef more creative control over what is served.

A fancy dessert as the final course of a prix fixe menu.

Benefits of a Fixed Price Menu

There are many benefits to offering a fixed price menu. For starters, since they are generally offered for a limited amount of time, you can craft the menu around seasonal items. This will provide the freshest and tastiest ingredients for your customers while reducing your costs.

Speaking of costs, another major advantage of using a prix fixe menu is that you know the food cost and revenue per diner at each table. 

Fixed price menus also give you the opportunity to showcase your chef’s creativity. You can create a menu that is unique to your restaurant. This will help you stand out from the competition and attract new customers.

Finally, fixed price menus give you the chance to offer customers a complete dining experience. Customers will be able to enjoy an appetizer, entrée, and dessert, all for a set price. This is great for customers who want to get the full experience without having to worry about the cost.

Designing a Fixed Price Menu

When it comes to designing a fixed price menu, there are a few key factors to consider. The first is the types of dishes you want to include in your menu. You will want to choose dishes that are unique to your restaurant and that will appeal to your customers. You should also consider the portion size of each dish and the cost of the ingredients. This will help you determine the price of the entire menu.

Once you have chosen the dishes for your menu, you will need to decide on the pricing strategy. You will want to make sure that the menu is priced in a way that is attractive to customers while allowing you to make a profit.

Pricing Strategy for Your Fixed Price Menu

When deciding on a pricing strategy for your fixed price menu, there are a few things to consider. The first is the cost of the ingredients, which needs to be covered by the cost of the prix fixe menu. This will help you ensure that you are making a profit.

You should also consider the portion size of each dish. You want to make sure that the portions are large enough to satisfy your customers, but not so large that you are losing money and offering far more than one person can eat. And when it comes to portions, consider your restaurant’s brand and customer base. Fine dining restaurants can offer smaller portions, whereas guests of casual a restaurant may expect larger portions that they can take home. And it never hurts to do a little bit of competitor research to see what similar restaurants are charging.

Finally, you will want to consider the overall price of the menu. You want to make sure that the price is attractive to customers, without sacrificing your profits. You may want to offer a discount or special promotion on slower nights to encourage new customers to try it out.

How to Make the Best Use of Ingredients

When it comes to creating a fixed price menu, you want to make sure that you are making the most of the ingredients you have available.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your ingredients:

  • Purchase fresh ingredients whenever possible. This will help ensure that your dishes taste their best.
  • Use seasonal ingredients. This will help keep your menu fresh and exciting while keeping your costs low.
  • Get creative with your ingredients. Use common ingredients in unique ways to create dishes that will surprise and delight your customers. Fusion restaurants do a fantastic job with this.
  • Be inspired by the time of year. Hearty vegetables do well in the winter, while light and fresh ingredients are popular in the summer.
  • Repurpose ingredients from popular menu items. If you have a seafood linguine that is a hit every night,  include the mussels or scallops as part of your appetizer. You know you will always have them on hand and they will never go to waste because of the pasta’s popularity.
Fresh and seasonal vegetables for a prix fixe menu.

Plating and Presentation

Once you have decided on the dishes and pricing, you will want to focus on the presentation. Plating and presentation are key to creating a memorable experience for customers. You want to make sure that each dish looks appetizing and is presented in a way that makes customers want to try it. Ensure that there is a nice balance of color and texture, and to really up your game, play around with how food is layered on top of one another.

An aesthetically pleasing plate is much more likely to make it to social media than something that looks like it was just thrown together. You may not cook for social media praise, but a shout-out with a location tag is the perfect way to attract new customers.

You should also consider the types of plates and serving dishes that you will use. You want to make sure that they match the overall theme and style of your restaurant while complementing the colors and textures of the dish. This can help create a cohesive and memorable experience for customers.  Additionally, a plate that is too large can make a portion appear smaller and less filling, while a plate that is too small makes it difficult to eat. No detail is too small when crafting the perfect dish.

Marketing the Fixed Price Menu

Once you have designed your fixed price menu, you will want to start marketing it to customers. You can do this in a variety of ways, such as through social media, email campaigns, and on your website. You can also advertise in local newspapers and magazines.

You will want to focus on the benefits of your fixed price menu, such as the unique dishes, a complete and luxurious dining experience, and of course, the cost-effective price. You should also consider offering discounts or promotions to encourage new customers to try it.

For more tips on how to promote your restaurant offerings, check out our restaurant marketing guide.

Analyzing Your Fixed Price Menu Performance

Once you have launched your fixed price menu, you will want to track its performance. You can use analytics tools to track the number of customers who purchase the menu and the average amount they spend. You can also track how many new customers your prix fixe menu attracts, and how many of those new customers visit again. Additionally, it is good practice to survey customers after their meal to understand how satisfied they are with the menu.

This data can be used to make adjustments to the menu, such as changing the dishes or pricing. It can also help you identify areas where you can improve, such as the marketing strategy or plating and presentation.

Calamari as the appetizer of a prix fixe menu.

Fixed Price Menu Example

When designing your fixed price menu, you will want to choose dishes that are unique to your restaurant and that will entice customers.

Here is a sample of a 3-course prix fixe menu with a focus on fresh and seasonal ingredients: 


1. Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad: Locally-sourced heirloom tomatoes, creamy burrata, fresh basil, aged balsamic reduction, and extra virgin olive oil.

2. Charcuterie and Local Cheese Board: A selection of artisanal cured meats, local cheeses, house-made pickles, seasonal fruit preserves, and assorted crackers and bread.

3. Crispy Cauliflower: Lightly battered and fried cauliflower florets, served over a bed of arugula and drizzled with garlic aioli.

Main Course:

1. Pan-Seared Local Catch: Fresh catch of the day, served with summer vegetable succotash, roasted fingerling potatoes, and lemon herb butter sauce.

2. Grilled Farm-to-Table Chicken: Herb-marinated free-range chicken breast, served with roasted seasonal vegetables, wild mushroom risotto, and natural pan jus.

3. Eggplant Involtini: Roasted and rolled eggplant slices stuffed with spinach and ricotta, topped with house-made marinara and fresh mozzarella, served alongside a seasonal mixed greens salad.


1. Local Peach Cobbler: Warm peach cobbler served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

2. Chocolate Pot de Crème: Rich chocolate custard topped with whipped cream, fresh berries, and a dusting of cocoa powder.

3. Seasonal Fruit Pavlova: Delicate meringue nest filled with lemon-infused whipped cream and topped with assorted fresh seasonal fruits and mint.

These dishes are sure to tantalize your customers’ taste buds and give them an unforgettable dining experience.

Final Thoughts on Designing a Prix Fixe Menu

Creating a prix fixe menu can be a great way to provide customers with a unique experience while giving you more control over the menu and your revenue. When designing a fixed price menu, you will want to consider the types of dishes, the pricing strategy, plating and presentation, and marketing. You should also track the performance of the menu to make sure it is profitable and to identify areas where you can improve.

With a little bit of planning and creativity, you can create a fixed price menu that stands out from the competition and impresses your customers.

While you are busy perfecting your prix fixe menu, leave the payroll and people management to us. Learn how Push can optimize your people management today!

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May 2023


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