How to Make a BBQ Catering Menu

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Professional-looking BBQ catering menus can be made easily with software that exists on your computer, or with the help of your local printer. The big task is deciding what you wish to serve, how to beat the competition, and what pricing may be necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Computer with Internet
  • Phone book
  • Standard word processing program
  • Blank CD/disc
  • Printer or printing services of the local office supply store

BBQ Catering Menu 101

  • Organize your ideas in rough draft form using pen and paper. Professional-looking menus should be simplistic in design and easy to read. The main goal is to highlight your BBQ catering menu, and any pertinent pricing or contact information such as phone number, email address, location, hours, service and/or interchangeable menu options. If you are drawing a blank, obtain some menus from local caterers and small menu restaurants to see what style you like best.

  • Competitive shop using the Internet and phone book. Call local BBQ caterers in your area and take good notes. Your main goal is to find out what type of menu options they are offering, to see what you should offer. According to Wayne M. Schafer, owner of Big Fat Daddy's in Baltimore, adding pricing on the BBQ catering menu itself is not a good idea. "In 27 years of selling BBQ, I have never put prices on my catering menu and I strongly recommend against it. Know what your competition is up to and offer quantity discounts. Rates will fluctuate based on the current produce and meat market conditions. Never do I have to reprint menus or do ugly cross-outs of prices--I offer quotes upon request. They are good for 30 days, or locked in with a deposit."

  • Lay out your menu on blank paper. Decide if you want a simple one-page menu (the easiest), a double-fold menu (three to four printable areas), or a tri-fold menu (much more complicated). All of these options will use only one sheet of paper.

    Company name and logo and/or picture should go on the top, or front page of your BBQ catering menu. Major options should appear in the center, or on the second page. If you must spread out your menu, move the less important "side items" onto the third page, and even use up blank areas or back pages giving substitution ideas, success stories, or information about your company. Schafer warns, "Keep it simple. Less is more."

  • Format your BBQ catering menu on your computer. Use your word processing program to find menu templates. You can even do an online search for "menu templates" based on the program you have. Pre-filled templates are easy and by clicking and typing in certain areas, you'll be on your way to finishing your menu in no time. Your company logo can be made from Word Art in these programs if you don't already have one. If you want to add a "pig" or "bull," use ClipArt or sites that offer free use of their photos. Or you might choose to take your rough draft to a local office supply's printing services.

  • Print one copy of your menu on white paper, making sure everything is up to par. If your menu is folded, make sure that it is folding and lining up correctly. At this point, it may be cheaper for you to save your menu to CD or blank disc, or take the one master printed menu to the local printer or office supply store.

    Paying a local office supply store's printing services may run you, on average, between 10 and 20 cents per copy, versus your printer going through an ink cartridge that may run you $45. Choose whatever is more cost-effective.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some caterers also add their menu to their online website. For callers who want menus sent, going to the Internet is only a click away.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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