~ Cooking at "The Lodge"

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wheregreggeats.com
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2012/05/26 19:26:40 (permalink)

~ Cooking at "The Lodge"

~ I've always kind of wanted to cook for a living ... kind of a deal where you cook, but you get to interact with the customers.
~ So, I've come across an Elks/Moose kind of a place in a valid location (open to the public) ... they have a commercial kitchen ... not one I've had designed (maybe 20 burners) and a do-dad that replicates a flattop on maybe 8 burners and full commercial ventilation.
~ No deep fryer ... thingy that you'd put cheese, onions, tomatoes in, every pot and pan you'd imagine ... and a huge commercial refrigerator.
~ I'm thinking chili dogs (ala coneys) and burgers (ala Staniches) ... my co-conspirator is thinking meatloaf, turkey, etc.
~ The overhead at the place is zero ... I'd have to make a deal that makes sense.   I'm thinking we could offer phenomenal lunches quick for a real low price.
~ Any thoughts ???
 
 
 
#1

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    Foodbme
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/05/27 04:17:17 (permalink)
    IS the place in active operation now?
    Any Sales History available?
    Would you pay them on a % of sales basis?
    What are the hours of operation?
    Is it currently HD Inspected and allowed to operate?
    Any "Grandfather" issues with the HD?
    Would this be your "Day Job"?
    How would you and the owner handle the accounting between Food & Bar?
    Sounds like it's conducive to a Sports Bar Menu? 
    Gotta do Killer Soups & Chili in cold months
    How hard would it be to add a Deep Fryer?
    Lack of a deep fryer limits options like Friday Nite Fish Fries and Fried Appetizers like Mozz sticks, frys and Wings.
    In that type of place fried foods are at least 50% of the business. 
    post edited by Foodbme - 2012/05/27 04:25:32
    #2
    Fried Pie Lady
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/05/27 11:38:30 (permalink)
    Were you planning to sell what you made there at the Lodge or just use their kitchen and sell the product at an outside location, i.e. at events or farmer's markets?
    #3
    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/05/27 18:24:48 (permalink)
    No mobile food allowed in this area !!!
    The kitchen is totally up to code ... the licenses are intact ...
    Deal is for me to bring to the table.
    Everything would get rung up.
    No sales history ... used only for banquets ... nobody remembers any attempt at daily (or any day or two of the week) food service.
    They open at noon currently but are licensed for 8:00am - 1:00am ... I'm only thinking lunch.
     
     
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    pnwchef
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/05/27 19:14:12 (permalink)
    Hi Greg, I think your idea of Coney dog and Burgers is a good idea, bar food. Think think a fryer would be a nice addition to the kitchen and would help with your bar food menu. The reason I'm saying bar food is, no waste, everything is cooked to order. Once you get into the place you could expand the menu and maybe offer a killer daily special. Most of the lodge kitchen were set up for lodge functions. As you could see with the amount of burners they have in the kitchen their focus was on catering to large groups of people........pnwc
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    Foodbme
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/05/27 19:35:50 (permalink)
    Hang out there a couple of days and see when there's people there. That's the hours you should be open. Don't pre-judge.
    #6
    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/05/27 19:44:09 (permalink)
    We were thinking home fries for the time being.
    Especially at the prices we think we can offer it may go over ok.
    #7
    Foodbme
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    Foodbme
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    chefbuba
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/05/27 21:43:57 (permalink)
    I'm in a very small town, the moose & eagle's both do a good lunch trade and dinner several nights a week.
    #10
    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/08 08:26:29 (permalink)
    chefbuba

    I'm in a very small town, the moose & eagle's both do a good lunch trade and dinner several nights a week.

    What do they serve and for how much ???
    #11
    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/08 08:31:52 (permalink)
    Day One ...
    Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy.  ($6.50) ... we sold 15.
    Food cost = 100%
    I actually think the portions were a bit too big.  I can still do dramatically "thick cuts" of meatloaf if the loaf is longer and a bit skinnier.
    Making gravy with nothing to start with except optimism was probably a bit of a downfall.  (I found a good name-brand broth for 99cents a box.)
    Fun though.
     
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    chefbuba
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/08 10:40:16 (permalink)
    wheregreggeats.com

    chefbuba

    I'm in a very small town, the moose & eagle's both do a good lunch trade and dinner several nights a week.

    What do they serve and for how much ???

    The moose does taco Tuesday, $2 for a nasty hard or soft shell taco w/ ground beef.....cheese, lettuce, tomato, canned salsa, etc. Burger lunch once a week, don't know what else they do for lunch.
     Friday dinners, usually about $8....frozen CFS, bbq chicken, roast pork, broasted chicken, prime rib on special occasions,,,,,all of it sub par for my taste buds, but there are alot of retirees around here that find it very good.
     
    Don't know what the eagle does, but the parking lot is always full.
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    CCinNJ
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/09 13:32:28 (permalink)
    The best way to search is by lodge type (Elk Moose Masonic KoC) daily lunch. It will pop up a few menus along with prices.

    Here's a few examples...

    http://www.elks.org/Share...811e69395842521f3d5628

    http://www.bismanelks.com/dining-room/lunch/

    If you are serving large portions....it's good to always have to-go containers and bags. Especially at $6.50 for a lunch that may be catering to a good percentage of seniors. Wink wink.

    If it's possible to get some items at the $5 price point (serving great food and having fun) that would be a good thing. Sometimes that is the magic number for lunch...in the eyes of some.

    Is the venue only for members and their guests...or open to the general public?


    If the Lodge has a website ask them to include you. Contact the local cable service for free advertising on their community events channel. Spread the word.

    Flyers at the local Supermarket Senior center etc.

    Good luck! Gotta get that food cost down so you don't start losing money... or a partner... or the fun of it.
    post edited by CCinNJ - 2012/06/09 13:48:33
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    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/09 14:09:45 (permalink)
    Good advice ... it is kind of fun learnin' up.
    1 or 2 items per day ... different each day ... instant service is important with a lot of factory workers with unbelievable short lunch hours.
    Thursday/Friday with Saturday specials to sell out ... that is where the margin seems to be.
    #15
    CCinNJ
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/09 14:19:25 (permalink)
    Don't forget the colleges. Who knows when the kids last had a great meal.

    If you ever see a Burg'r Tend'r in your travels at a good price...boy you would do really well with steamed cheeseburgers in your area keeping costs down....and talk about fun. That is a whole bunch of fun. That's why it's so hard to find those little suckers used!!

    http://steamcheeseburgerchest.com/
    post edited by CCinNJ - 2012/06/09 14:24:06
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    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/09 15:05:22 (permalink)
    I'm thinking ...
    Meatloaf (worked great)
    Lasagne (might be pricey)
    1/2 lb spicy or sweet sausage with peppers and onions
    Chili
    Turkey dinner
    ... all INSTANT serve.
    Other ideas ???
     
     
    #17
    CCinNJ
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/09 15:32:18 (permalink)
    Sausage stuffed peppers with the works.

    Stuffed cabbage

    Avoid eggplant

    If you do turkey lunch dinner (and have leftovers) a can of cranberry sauce the next day...Thankgiving sandwiches...while supplies last!!

    New England Boiled Lunch
    post edited by CCinNJ - 2012/06/09 15:49:21
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    Foodbme
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/09 15:57:58 (permalink)
    Pasta Dishes = Lower food costs.
    Spaghetti
    Pasta Salad
    Mac & Cheese
    Beef & Mac
    Chicken pot pie
    Grilled Cheese
    Soups in colder weather = Lower food costs
    post edited by Foodbme - 2012/06/09 16:03:09
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    CCinNJ
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/09 16:28:56 (permalink)
    Egg salad to match next day NE Boiled Lunch Hash...while supplies last.

    The thing about many basic pasta dishes...they really should be made to order...don't carry over for tomorrow (that's loss)...and are not a business builder to attract a new base. Ohhh...Spaghetti day at the Lodge. Eh. Maybe leave that to the fundraisers.
    post edited by CCinNJ - 2012/06/09 16:43:31
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    CCinNJ
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/09 18:15:23 (permalink)
    Frito Pie!

    Traditional or...

    http://newyork.grubstreet...frito-pie-roundup.html

    Fun ready-to-go the cost is reasonable....and perfect the day after with chili...whiles supplies last.

    Those types of items can always be option #2 at the lower price point (and it's gravy for you).

    post edited by CCinNJ - 2012/06/09 18:33:54
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    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/12 11:48:28 (permalink)
    This week.  Friday only.  Turkey dinners or open faced turkey sandwiches.  $6.50
     
     
    #22
    CCinNJ
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/12 12:06:06 (permalink)
    I think doing 15 covers for Lunch on Day 1 was excellent! Good luck on Friday!
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    MetroplexJim
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/13 11:26:45 (permalink)
    1)  Before you are tempted to buy anything new - like a deep fat fryer - know that perfetly servicable used restaurant equipment typically sells for a dime on the dollar from a dealer/broker.  Or, landlords of failed enterprises will let you have it "free" just to get it off their premises.
     
    2)  What are you doing for beverages?  Fountain?  Bottles only?  How hard would it be to get a beer & wine licence?
     
    Nothing builds your gross profit like french fries, fountain Coke, & draft beer.
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    CCinNJ
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/13 11:45:51 (permalink)
    Making good decisions to build a pantry of dry goods is really important...to keep the costs down. Variety is the spice of life but commonality in goods keeps cost low. Running out to pick this or that up...can really add up in nickel and dimes... to dollars as you go.. That's the spice factor.
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    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/15 17:22:00 (permalink)
    Ok ... day 3 ... I'm a quick learner ...
    I learned:  In this game you have to get everything right ... I can see it is a game that can be won, BUT, you have to get everything right.
     ~ (A) buying product right
     ~ (B) getting operations right
     ~ (C) getting the marketing right ... (selling everything)
    Today's blunder: Offering open faced turkey sandwiches without giving thought beforehand to the possibility that finding a turkey to buy (this time of the year) was a challenge.
    We wound up with two over-sized pigeon-sized "fresh" ...  "organic" turkeys at the supermarket.
    So, on (A), I give myself a c-minus, on (B), an a-plus and on (C) ... who knows? in that we really only got about 15 servings out of the two birds.
    We'll make the obligatory turkey stock and freeze it for another day (waste not).
    (The guy at Barksdale's gave me advice once that I will never forget ... "It ain't grease until it hits the floor ... until then, it's an ingredient!")
    Three days at this and my apprenticeship has cost nothing but my time.
    Clear lesson ... find what is the best value ... feature that ... one special a day at lunch and strive to always sell out ... first come first served and be certain to NEVER feature a dud.
    So far we've served between 50 and 60 lunches and have scraped only two pieces of bread and about eight green beans off plates that came out from customers.  (We did have a complaint about portion size today, they asked us to go a little easy.  That was from a retired couple who has been here two Fridays in a row.)
    #26
    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/15 17:25:12 (permalink)
    MetroplexJim

    1)  Before you are tempted to buy anything new - like a deep fat fryer - know that perfectly serviceable used restaurant equipment typically sells for a dime on the dollar from a dealer/broker.  Or, landlords of failed enterprises will let you have it "free" just to get it off their premises.

    2)  What are you doing for beverages?  Fountain?  Bottles only?  How hard would it be to get a beer & wine license?

    Nothing builds your gross profit like french fries, fountain Coke, & draft beer.

    The "lodge" sells full liquor ... so that is not an area for us ... in fact, it is the reason we can get in there for essentially ZERO overhead.
    #27
    Foodbme
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/15 17:45:10 (permalink)
    You mentioned a retired couple. You might want to consider a "Silver Eagles" Day. Pick a slow day and feature a special for Seniors. You can use smaller portions since they don't eat as much as younger people.
    Believe me, if you give them a deal, the word will spread faster than Wildfire. Those old coots are networked baby! 
    #28
    CCinNJ
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    Re:~ Cooking at "The Lodge" 2012/06/15 18:07:28 (permalink)
    Your area is very rich in Diners. If you are a regular where you feel comfortable enough to strike up a conversation about what when and from what suppliers as far as their specials offered by the season.

    They will be buying in volume to the point it would only take a phone call to a supplier to help a Brother out on a small order at a good price.
    #29
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