Menu creation and design system

Abstract

A system and method of creating and customizing menus for a restaurant. The present invention may include a software program. A user may use the software program to input the names of a plurality of food items served at the restaurant. A database may save the inputted food items. When the user is creating a menu, the user may select the saved food items and arrange them on a preview menu. Once finished with the menu, the user may print and use the menu at a restaurant. In other aspects of the present invention, when multiple menus are stored onto the database, a user may edit a first menu which synchronizes with and thereby makes the same edit on a second menu.

Claims

What is claimed is: 1 . A database-driven system for creating restaurant menus from stored food items, said system comprising: a computer operably connected with a user interface and a food items database; and a computer program product comprising machine-readable program code stored on a nontransitory computer-readable medium for causing, when executed, the computer to perform the following process steps: prompting a user to create and access an account; prompting the user to input food items, wherein a food item comprises a user configurable food item name for display on a menu; storing the inputted food items in the food items database for use in a plurality of the user's menus associated with the account; displaying, on the user interface, a plurality of food items from the food items database in an itemized panel; displaying, on the user interface simultaneously with the itemized panel, a preview of at least one menu; providing, on the user interface, a plurality of formatting tool controls; in response to the user selecting a formatting tool control, formatting a selected food item in accordance with the user selected formatting tool control; and prompting the user to create a personalized menu by adding a plurality of the stored food items to the preview of the at least one menu. 2 . The system of claim 1 , wherein the computer is operably connected to the food items database by at least one of internet, extranet, intranet, host server, and internet cloud. 3 . The system of claim 1 , wherein the computer program product further comprises machine-readable program code for causing the computer to display the preview of the at least one menu in a preview panel. 4 . The system of claim 3 , wherein the food items are added to the at least one menu in response to the user dragging a food item from the itemized panel onto the preview panel. 5 . The system of claim 1 , wherein the computer program product further comprises machine-readable program code for causing the computer to display a tool bar on the user interface, wherein the tool bar comprises the formatting tool controls and a plurality of tools to edit the design and layout of the preview of the at least one menu. 6 . The system of claim 1 , wherein the computer program product further comprises machine-readable program code for causing the computer to permit the user to create a second personalized menu using the stored inputted food items. 7 . The system of claim 4 , wherein the user interface comprises a web browser. 8 . A system for user-directed synchronization of a plurality of computerized restaurant menus comprising: a computer having a user interface; and a computer program product comprising machine-readable program code stored on a nontransitory computer-readable medium for causing, when executed, the computer to perform the following steps: prompting a user to create and access an account via the user interface; producing a customizable representation of a plurality of menus on the user interface; prompting a user to select, via the user interface, from the menus a first menu to edit; providing a formatting toolbar comprising a plurality of formatting tools for editing a menu on the user interface synchronizing the first menu and a second menu from the menus, wherein when the first menu is edited, the second menu is edited in the same fashion; and storing the plurality of menus on a database. 9 . The system of claim 8 , wherein the computer is operably connected to the database by at least one of internet, extranet, intranet, host server, and internet cloud. 10 . The system of claim 8 , wherein the database comprises a plurality of stored menu items and the program code is further configured to permit a user to add selected menu items to the representation of the plurality of menus. 11 . The system of claim 10 , wherein the stored menu items are customizable. 12 . The system of claim 10 , wherein the program product further comprises machine-readable program code for causing, when executed, the computer to display the menu items in a menu item panel. 13 . The system of claim 12 , wherein the menu items are added to at least one of the first menu and the second menu by dragging menu items from the menu item panel onto the preview panel. 14 . The system of claim 8 , wherein the program product further comprises machine-readable program code for causing, when executed, the computer to display at least one of the first menu and the second menu in a preview panel. 15 . The system of claim 8 , wherein the computer is operably connected to a printer and the program product further comprises machine-readable program code for causing, when executed, the computer to print one of the plurality of menus on the printer. 16 . The system of claim 8 , wherein the user interface comprises a web browser. 17 . A system for parallel editing of a plurality of computerized restaurant menus comprising: a computer operably connected with a user interface and a menu database; and nontransitory computer-readable media storing computer instructions for causing the computer to: via the user interface, prompt a user to sign into an account belonging to the user; retrieve from the menu database and display, on the user interface, a representation of a selected menu of a plurality of menus associated with the account; provide a formatting toolbar on the user interface comprising a plurality of formatting tools for editing a menu; permit the user, via the user interface, to edit an aspect of the selected menu; apply the same edit to the same aspect of at least one other of the plurality of menus; and store the plurality of menus in association with the account in the menu database. 18 . The system of claim 17 , wherein the user interface comprises a web browser. 19 . The system of claim 18 , wherein the computer is operably connected to a printer and the computer instructions further comprise instructions for causing, when executed, the computer to print the at least one menu on the printer.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION [0001] This application is a continuation of and claim priority to copending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/949,305, filed Jul. 24, 2013, which claims the benefit of priority of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/675,144, filed Jul. 24, 2012, the contents of which are herein incorporated by reference. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION [0002] The present invention relates to a menu creation and design system and, more particularly, to the synchronization of multiple menus during the creation and design process. [0003] In a restaurant, a menu is a presentation of food and beverage offerings. A menu may be a la carte, which guests use to choose from a list of options, or table d'hôte, in which case a pre-established sequence of courses is served. Typically, restaurants may have more than one menu. For example, the restaurant may have a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu as well as a catering menu, appetizer menus and the like. Currently to create menus, a restaurant owner may use an online program. However, the multiple menus of the restaurant are not linked and stored on a database, so each time a restaurant owner needs to change a menu item; they have to change the item on each individual menu. [0004] As can be seen, there is a need for a system that synchronizes multiple menus when making edits. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION [0005] In one aspect of the present invention, a system for creating menus comprises: a computer having a user interface; and a program product comprising machine-readable program code for causing, when executed, the computer to perform the following process steps: prompting a user to create and access an account; prompting a user to input food items, wherein the food items comprise names of dishes to be displayed on the menu; saving the inputted food items to a database; displaying the food items in an itemized panel; displaying a preview of at least one menu; and prompting a user to create a personalized menu by adding the created food items to the preview of the at least one menu. [0006] In another aspect of the present invention, a system for creating menus comprises: a computer having a user interface; and a program product comprising machine-readable program code for causing, when executed, the computer to perform the following process steps: prompting a user to create and access an account; producing a customizable preview of a plurality of menus comprising at least one first menu and second menu; prompting a user to select either the first menu or the second menu to edit; synchronizing the first menu and the second menu, wherein when the first menu is edited, the second menu is edited in the same fashion; and storing the plurality of menus on a database. [0007] These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following drawings, description and claims. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [0008] FIG. 1 illustrates a schematic view in accordance with an embodiment the present invention. [0009] FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary screenshot in accordance with an aspect of the present invention. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION [0010] The following detailed description is of the best currently contemplated modes of carrying out exemplary embodiments of the invention. The description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating the general principles of the invention, since the scope of the invention is best defined by the appended claims. [0011] Broadly, an embodiment of the present invention provides a system and method of creating and customizing menus for a restaurant. The present invention may include a software program. A user may use the software program to input the names of a plurality of food items served at the restaurant. A database may save the inputted food items. When the user is creating a menu, the user may select the saved food items and arrange them on a preview menu. Once finished with the menu, the user may print and use the menu at a restaurant. In other aspects of the present invention, when multiple menus are stored onto the database, a user may edit a first menu which synchronizes with and thereby makes the same edit on a second menu. [0012] The present invention may include an automated menu design and creation system and method. In certain embodiments of the present invention, a user may login to a personal account on a computer database to enter, store, and save food items, and then compose a food-selection menu based on pre-selected styles. The present invention allows users to quickly create a food-selection menu in less time than any other available method. Further, the menus may be saved to the database for future edits. [0013] In certain embodiments, the present invention may include at least one computer with a user interface. The computer may include any computer including, but not limited to, a desktop, laptop, and smart device, such as, a tablet and smart phone. The computer includes a program product including a machine-readable program code for causing, when executed, the computer to perform steps. The program product may include software which may either be loaded onto the computer or accessed by the computer. The loaded software may include an application on a smart device. The software may be accessed by the computer using a web browser. The computer may access the software via the web browser using the internet, extranet, intranet, host server, internet cloud and the like. [0014] Referring to the FIG. 1 , the present invention may include a software program. A user may implement the software program using a computer 10 . Each user may sign up for the program by creating an account with a unique username and password. Further, the software application may link the computer 10 to a database 14 . In certain embodiments, the software may link the computer 10 to the database 14 using the internet 12 . Once a user has signed into their account, the user may create menus and access menus stored on the database 14 . [0015] The database 14 of the present invention may store one or more menus that are associated with each account. In certain embodiments, the database 14 may further store standard menu items 26 that are common to most restaurants. The database 14 may further store menu items 26 that have been inputted and saved to the database by the account owner. The menu items 26 may include the names and descriptions of food dishes. The menu items 26 may be stored so that the account user may use the stored menu items 26 in the future. For example, if a user creates a dinner menu, the user may create and store menu items 26 to be displayed on the dinner menu. The user may then create a lunch menu which may include some common food items 26 from the dinner menu. Thereby, the user may use the food items 26 created for the dinner menu to create the new lunch menu at a quicker pace. [0016] With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2 , the software program may include a webpage layout 16 to create the menus 34 . As mentioned above, the present invention may include stored menu items 26 . The stored menu items 26 may be displayed in a side panel 20 . In certain embodiments, when a user would like to add a menu item 26 from the side panel 20 , a user may drag the menu item 26 directly to a preview menu 34 using a cursor 30 . The preview menu 34 may be in a preview panel 34 which may be adjacent to the side panel 20 . Once added to the preview menu 34 , a stored menu item 26 may expand to an expanded menu item 28 to give the user a preview of the menu item 26 on the menu 34 . However, the menu items 28 may be added to the preview menu 34 by any method desired. [0017] The webpage layout 16 may further include a toolbar 18 . The toolbar 18 may be used to change the design and color of the menu 34 . For example, the tool bar 18 may be used to change the font and size of the words, and color of the background. The toolbar 18 may also be used for the importation of designs and pictures (such as watermark 50 shown in FIG. 2 ), the arrangement of the menu, and the like. As illustrated, the toolbar 18 may include multiple tools 24 to choose from to personally customize the preview menu 34 . Once a user is finished with a menu 34 on the program, the user may print the menu 36 out using a printer 32 connected to the computer 10 . [0018] As shown in an illustrative exemplary screenshot in FIG. 2 , toolbar 18 controls 24 may include, as illustrated from left to right, a print control, undo control, and redo control plus formatting tool controls including font family select control tool, style select control tool, bold control tool, italics control tool, underline control tool, color select control tool, background color select control tool, hyperlink control tool, image control tool, numbered paragraph control tool, bulleted paragraph control tool, indent control tool, un-indent control tool, left justify control tool, center-justify control tool, right-justify control tool, justified control tool, and line-spacing select control tool. [0019] As mentioned above, a user may have multiple menus 34 for a single restaurant. In certain embodiments, the multiple menus 34 may be synchronized on the database 14 . Therefore, if a user changes a certain aspect of one menu 34 , that particular aspect is changed on some or all of the other menus. A user may select which aspects of the menus the user would like to synchronize. For example, a user may synchronize the menu items 26 . Therefore, when a menu item 26 is edited on one menu 34 , the same changes may be made automatically on some or the rest of the menus 34 saved to the particular account. The menus 34 may also be synchronized based on changes made using the toolbar 18 . Therefore, if a user would like to change a style of the menus 34 , the user may have to only make the changes to one of the menus 34 and then the rest of the menus 34 may be synchronized with the same changes. [0020] A method of using the present invention may include the following. The user may enter his or her food menu items that he or she serves at his establishment into the database. The user may then select which of these items should be included in their menu. The user may then select one of the pre-designed styles. The software then, based on the chosen style, formats the food selection menu using fonts, layout, design, and artwork and automatically fits the content to the menu page. The user may then save the menu to recall later to make changes, or may compose a new menu from the list of food items already in the database, without having to re-type the content and design of the menu. The user may also add or remove food items from the database at any time. [0021] The computer-based data processing system and method described above is for purposes of example only, and may be implemented in any type of computer system or programming or processing environment, or in a computer program, alone or in conjunction with hardware. The present invention may also be implemented in software stored on a computer-readable medium and executed as a computer program on a general purpose or special purpose computer. For clarity, only those aspects of the system germane to the invention are described, and product details well known in the art are omitted. For the same reason, the computer hardware is not described in further detail. It should thus be understood that the invention is not limited to any specific computer language, program, or computer. It is further contemplated that the present invention may be run on a stand-alone computer system, or may be run from a server computer system that can be accessed by a plurality of client computer systems interconnected over an intranet network, or that is accessible to clients over the Internet. In addition, many embodiments of the present invention have application to a wide range of industries. To the extent the present application discloses a system, the method implemented by that system, as well as software stored on a computer-readable medium and executed as a computer program to perform the method on a general purpose or special purpose computer, are within the scope of the present invention. Further, to the extent the present application discloses a method, a system of apparatuses configured to implement the method are within the scope of the present invention. [0022] It should be understood, of course, that the foregoing relates to exemplary embodiments of the invention and that modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the following claims.

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