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In the article - Menu Analysis: Review and Evaluation - by Lendal H. Kotschevar, Distinguished Professor School of Hospitality Management, Florida International University, Kotschevar’s initial statement reads: “Various methods are used to evaluate menus. Some have quite different approaches and give different information. Even those using quite similar methods vary in the information they give. The author attempts to describe the most frequently used methods and to indicate their value. A correlation calculation is made to see how well certain of these methods agree in the information they give.”

There is more than one way to look at the word menu. The culinary selections decided upon by the head chef or owner of a restaurant, which ultimately define the type of restaurant is one way. The physical outline of the food, which a patron actually holds in his or her hand, is another. These descriptions are most common to the word, menu.

The author primarily concentrates on the latter description, and uses the act of counting the number of items sold on a menu to measure the popularity of any particular item. This, along with a formula, allows Kotschevar to arrive at a specific value per item.

Menu analysis would appear a difficult subject to broach. How does a person approach a menu analysis, how do you qualify and quantify a menu; it seems such a subjective exercise. The author offers methods and outlines on approaching menu analysis from empirical perspectives.

“Menus are often examined visually through the evaluation of various factors. It is a subjective method but has the advantage of allowing scrutiny of a wide range of factors which other methods do not,” says Distinguished Professor, Kotschevar. “The method is also highly flexible. Factors can be given a score value and scores summed to give a total for a menu. This allows comparison between menus. If the one making the evaluations knows menu values, it is a good method of judgment,” he further offers.

The author wants you to know that assigning values is fundamental to a pragmatic menu analysis; it is how the reviewer keeps score, so to speak. Value merit provides reliable criteria from which to gauge a particular menu item. In the final analysis, menu evaluation provides the mechanism for either keeping or rejecting selected items on a menu.

Kotschevar provides at least three different matrix evaluation methods; they are defined as the Miller method, the Smith and Kasavana method, and the Pavesic method. He offers illustrated examples of each via a table format. These are helpful tools since trying to explain the theories behind the tables would be difficult at best.

Kotschevar also references examples of analysis methods which aren’t matrix based. The Hayes and Huffman - Goal Value Analysis - is one such method.

The author sees no one method better than another, and suggests that combining two or more of the methods to be a benefit.