Chefs like Eméril and Paula Deen are now the faces of branded retail chef products. Wolfgang Puck has his name on dish sets as well, and Taco Bell co-Branded with Doritos to make the popular Doritos-flavored taco shells. For budding chefs, who have yet to make a name for themselves, chef products will not succeed based on name alone. But, in regards to restaurant brands, is it worth it for more modest businesses to pursue branded retail food product lines? The answer depends on the business’s goals, interests, and funds or investors.
Going Big in Food Branding
Selling branded retail food products in supermarkets is not as simple as it sounds. Businesses will need to make sure they have all the proper licenses for operating a food manufacturing business, as well as ensure they are aware of all the food safety regulations related to preparing and packaging retail food. Though homemade food such as artisan bread and homemade sauces are great additions to a restaurant, restaurant brands of retail food will be subject to a lot more regulation and requirements. In addition, supermarkets will usually only buy from suppliers that have the ability to keep up with their demand. This means that a business must be prepared to invest in equipment to facilitate large quantities of production. For some restaurant brands, projecting an appearance of offering homemade food is extremely important. However, even retail food marketed as homemade sauces or artisan bread will
Casual venues can significantly increase restaurant traffic by making the venue exciting for customers every day. Offering daily deals will keep customers thinking about the venue and make it worth their while to choose to dine at the venue, rather than somewhere else. Whether a venue chooses to hold a “daily deal month”during the slow season, or simply offers a different deal each day of the week, the restaurant deals will have customers flowing in and, when done right, will increase restaurant profit.
Which Restaurant Deals are Worth Offering?
Restaurant deals should offer customers a bargain, while still leaving room for restaurant profit. For venues offering weekly deals, discounts should be focused on making the most of the ingredients available and limiting food waste. For example, fresh fish is often not available on Sunday and Mondays. However, if a venue does not use up their fish from the previous week, it will go to waste, which means lost restaurant profit. Offering (cooked!) fish dishes as happy hour specials or as part of restaurant deals, on Sundays and/or Mondays, can help increase restaurant business and restaurant profit by bringing in customers and making sure to minimize food waste. Other daily restaurant deals can include a daily flavor of soup, buy one get one free on soft drinks, desserts, or appetizers, and “children eat free on Wednesdays,” for example. Restaurant deals should offer customers a bargain, but make sure that restaurant profit is maintained as well.
Restaurant Marketing for Your Daily Deals
Restaurant marketing of daily deals can be done in a number of ways. Tabletop advertising (on the menu or using table tents) will help current customers know about the restaurant deals. Social media advertising can also be used, announcing the special deals of the day and reaching out to customers
Restaurants are often plagued with an inevitable, rotating cycle of slow business versus high restaurant traffic. Business owners search for ways to balance these periods to help ensure adequate restaurant profit at all times. Event catering is a great way to start. It has a major advantage of allowing business owners to choose when to take on events, increasing restaurant profit and workload, while exposing guests of the event to the culinary skills of the kitchen staff, thereby providing restaurant marketing. However, at times of high restaurant traffic, even catering can make running a restaurant and catering service simultaneously a very hectic task. By staying organized businesses can manage wearing both hats.
Catering Ideas for Restaurants
Many of the event-throwers who will choose a restaurant as their catering service will be drawn to the idea by their observation of the restaurant’s menu and staff’s culinary skills. Therefore, some of the same dishes should be offered on both the restaurant menu and the catering menu. However, as with all event catering, style of plating and event type will have to be taken into consideration. If the event is a Bar Mitzvah or a sweet sixteen, for example, dishes that will appeal to young, amateur palates should be offered, whereas
A “chef ‘s table” meal combines the ideas of open-kitchen restaurants and the tasting menu. A “chef’s table” meal allows parties to dine in the restaurant kitchen, being served a chef menu that should flaunt the culinary skills of the restaurant employees, while meeting the chef. A tasting menu is a great way to build a reputation, but having the meal take place in the restaurant kitchen, similar to open kitchen restaurants, demands that kitchen staff know how to cook with finesse and impeccable cleanliness, while being sociable. Guests of chef’s table meals will pay a higher price for being able to see the commercial kitchen appliances being operated, learn about a day in the life of a chef, and speak with the restaurant employees. Chef’s table meals can be a great way to boost business during off-peak hours, but important factors must be considered to make them successful.
Restaurant Kitchen Layout
For chef’s table meals to take place comfortably, they must be accounted for in the restaurant kitchen layout. The commercial kitchen appliances must be as attractive and high-quality as possible, and be extremely well-maintained. However, they must also be able to fit into the restaurant kitchen, while still allowing room for a table, for chef’s table meals to occur. Therefore, the restaurant kitchen layout must be planned to meet these requirements and accommodate guests comfortably at a table or at the kitchen
Technology is starting to play a large part in food preparation in a commercial kitchen. From convection ovens with steaming options, to in-kitchen smokers, technologies are being developed that help boost the level of a commercial kitchen. Part of the fun of working as a cook or chef is learning how to prepare new dishes, use a variety of equipment, and be exposed to new ideas. The cutting edge home and commercial kitchen equipment below will expand the possibilities and convenience of preparing dishes in a commercial kitchen, raising the culinary level of the business and keeping work interesting for kitchen staff.
The Thermomix is an all-around kitchen gadget that can weigh, chop, mix, blend, grate, grind and knead, while heating or steaming ingredients and specific temperatures. The multifunction appliance allows for foolproof preparation of greatly feared dishes such as Hollandaise sauce and lemon curd. Though the price often prevents it from being found
High-end venues are constantly on the lookout for ways to implement unusual flavor combinations. Flavored ice cubes are a great way to do this inexpensively and creatively. Unusual food can raise the food-costs for a venue, but unusual flavor combinations, such as those that can be achieved with spices and herbs and flavored ice cubes, can instantly make a restaurant seem more gourmet. The wise use of spices and herbs is a winning strategy for elevating culinary level in every item served in a venue. Putting traditional ice trays to use in creating flavored ice cubes, with the help of spices and herbs, is an easy and cost-efficient alternative to the commercial ice maker, which will elevate a restaurants culinary level.
Why Infused Ice Cubes are Cool
Thought ice cube trays were obsolete in today’s age of ice machines and ice-by-the-bag? Think again. The demand for unusual food in restaurants is putting ice cube trays back on the restaurant equipment list. Flavored ice cubes are convenient for more than just making a water pitcher exciting, they can be added to all sorts of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to spruce them up, and can be made in specific flavors to prevent the watering down of certain drinks. For example, customers will be thrilled to receive coffee flavored ice cubes in their cold coffee, keeping the temperature cool without watering down the taste with standard ice cubes. Typical soda water or white wine can be transformed using unusual flavor combinations with herb ice cubes or other flavored ice cubes. Though a commercial ice maker is ideal for preparing large quantities of ice, for restaurants who can afford to invest more time in individual customers, flavored ice cubes can improve existing beverages and to create new ones using unusual flavor combinations.
Tips for Preparing Infused Ice Cubes
Preparing flavored ice cubes requires using juice or infused water as a base. Juices with strong flavor and color, such as pomegranate or cherry juice, will be the most effective at creating a “wow” effect. Coffee, orange juice and tea can be used as base liquids for ice cubes to be served in their
Restaurant design makes a huge impact on how a restaurant functions. When considering how to build a restaurant, businesses may want to consider hiring restaurant consultants to help ensure they do not leave out any key elements, and successfully maximize their space. Restaurant employees’ jobs are affected by the restaurant floor plan of both the restaurant kitchen and the front of the house. However, research shows that the front of the house restaurant floor plan has a big impact on how customers feel and how much they spend in a venue. Different venues have different concepts that will work best with a certain type of restaurant floor plan. By considering the restaurant employees, laws, and target customers, business owners can be decide how to build a restaurant.
Basic Restaurant Floor Plan Considerations
Certain factors must be taken into consideration by all business owners when considering how to build a restaurant. The common components of a front of the house restaurant floor plan include having a strategically placed hostess station, comfortable seating areas for
Restaurant managers and business owners can sometimes be at the mercy of restaurant critics. Pampering a diner simply because he/she will be writing a restaurant review can be a great source of aggravation for a business. The costs of the on-the-house dishes and pains of having to watch your every move, in order to impress, is far from pleasant. Though excellent, far-reaching restaurant reviews, especially those by a respected restaurant critic or on social media sites, may help draw new customers to a business, a negative review can deter potential customers. Sometimes, the restaurant critic does not have a particularly notable reputation, making doting upon them lead to fruitless results in the future, since their opinion will not necessarily affect readers and potential diners.
Whether or not a business respects a restaurant critic, cares about gaining a Michelin star, or feels the need to impress, it is never a positive thing to have a negative restaurant review. The first step to ensuring a restaurant critic has a positive dining experience at a venue is to identify the restaurant critic. Waiter training should include notifying the restaurant managers about any “unique” diner that does not look “typical.” Sometimes a restaurant critic will dine alone, which can be an alert to restaurant managers to bump up customer service or request that the restaurant staff pay extra attention to the diner. Restaurant staff should always exhibit top customer service skills and ensure that they have a clean uniform and mannerism. However, these customer service skills should be improved a notch if it is suspected that a restaurant critic is dining in the venue. Though sometimes a restaurant critic is not particularly prestigious among the public, making doting upon them and giving them freebies a hassle, upping the chances of receiving a good write-up, as opposed to a negative restaurant review, can make the extra effort pay off. When it comes to
Keeping a commercial kitchen efficient and able to withstand the pressure of service requires keeping on top of many different components and gracefully blending responsibilities of all restaurant staff. A restaurant manager should be constantly aware of how the kitchen is running and any issues that may arise. He/she should also observe the synchronization of all the different aspects of a restaurant kitchen in order to ensure that it can run as efficiently as possible.
Drafting a List of the Basics
Lists can be a great way to keep organization. The following is a list of basic lists that can create order in kitchen logistics:
- A list of all the factors that must be considered. This list will differ slightly from venue to venue. However, in order to prevent shortcomings in service and disorganization in logistics, basic aspects of running a restaurant must be taken into account in every venue.
Restaurant start-up costs are inflated hugely by the cost of a commercial kitchen. Commercial kitchen equipment, though crucial in starting a restaurant business, can also prevent many potential businesses from opening. Shouldering the cost of commercial kitchen equipment can be eased with a few existing options, making it possible to build an award-worthy commercial kitchen even under $30,000. By downsizing and planning what to purchase and how to structure it to be as multi-purpose as possible, those starting a restaurant business can make the most of small kitchen spaces and/or small budgets.
Lease to Own and Financing
Lease-to-own programs are similar to financing in that they allow the burden of cost of a commercial kitchen to be spread out over an extended period of time. This option decreases the initial financial weight when starting a restaurant business and, instead, allows some of the profits of an existing business to be applied towards helping pay for the restaurant start-up costs. Financing options are a very similar alternative. By looking into the options commercial kitchen equipment suppliers offer and doing the necessary research, a business can decide whether financing and lease-to-own programs are right for them.
Used Commercial Kitchen Equipment
Buying used commercial kitchen equipment is a great way to cut down on costs; however, it can also be risky. Some commercial kitchen equipment such as ice machines and deep fryers tend to last for shorter periods and must be cleaned and maintained