Jul 2022

Top 10 Food Product Development Ideas

  • By Ribbon
  • Shows Related

Product development, or menu development, is a process that comprises multiple stages including ideation, formulation and commercialization of various menu items. Developing new product/menu ideas has become one of the integral aspects of growth and expansion for F&B businesses. Here are some key factors to keep in mind when developing a new menu or enhancing an existing menu.

A. Ideation is the process of identifying the new menu items that need to be developed and launched, keeping some key criteria in mind, using the following tools:

  1. Market Research – The foundation for all new product development ideas are laid through extensive market research and surveys. Consumer opinions and desires can be mapped with the help of technology and the right interfaces, collecting valuable demographic data and responses. Easy-to-understand and non-intrusive questionnaires are methods to gather useful consumer preference data as well. This sets the tone for brainstorming on product launch ideas that can help you leverage existing or pent-up market demand.
  2. Filling in Market Gaps – A time-tested strategy, while developing any product, is to fill an existing market gap and cater to current demand trends. This automatically gives rise to some pertinent questions-
  1. What are the food items that people want in a particular location?
  2. What restaurants or food types are unavailable currently?
  3. Which are the ones that match your specialty?

The answers to these questions may help in planning viable and successful food products for the near future.

B. Seasonality – Introduce seasonal ingredients / specialty items on the menu– catering to new pallets for consumers round the year. New products can be created by revamping existing dishes to reflect seasonal specialties.

C. Product Development Team – There is often a combination of people or groups that are involved in the development and roll out of a menu. The right leadership is necessary for bringing industry expertise, insights and decision-making abilities into the process. A good product development team should include the sales team that analyses data collected through research to determine which items to introduce / remove / adapt. The Head Chef is another critical member involved in the process to oversee the production, testing and finalization of new products and recipes. The final key member is one that oversees the menu or product launch once it is ready.

D. Formulation - is the actual development process of the menu items. This involves several key steps including:

  1. Sourcing of ingredients
  2. Pilot testing by the Head Chef and the kitchen team
  3. Tastings conducted with other product development team members
  4. Finalization of products based on multiple tasting sessions
  5. Recipe creation and food costing
  6. Detailing batch production, product preparation guidelines, plating and presentation, dispatch, shelf life details, etc.

E. Commercialization - is the process of determining the product pricing and planning an effective launch strategy

A. Determine selling price: The selling price of new menu items should take into consideration various factors including:

  1. Recipe cost: It is essential to maintain a food cost in line with the restaurant / industry average to ensure the bottom-line benefits from the new menu launch
  2. Target Audience: Catering to the target audience will map out the success or failure of the new products launched. Demographics data including age, income levels and ethnicity, are all criteria to consider when determining the price point for new menu items.
  3. Brand positioning: Whether product development is being conducted for a new restaurant or an existing one, the menu should be in line with the brand and its guidelines.

B. Product launch marketing strategy: Restaurants use various campaigns and marketing initiatives to promote a new product launch. These include:

  1. Social media announcements
  2. Free Tasting sessions
  3. Discounts, promos, combo offers
  4. Contests to attract consumer attention


F&B businesses continually need to reinvent their core offerings in order to stay relevant and maintain growth momentum. Creating or accentuating a new menu and developing products requires careful ideation, smart formulation, and effective commercialization and the above tools should help you achieve this successfully. Ribbon provides bespoke restaurant consulting solutions, including product development services, to ensure growth and sustainability of F&B businesses.

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