Help needed small starting menu for restaurant

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MeatanPotatoes
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2007/01/17 23:50:46 (permalink)

Help needed small starting menu for restaurant

Any menu suggestions for a starting restaurant would be greatly appreciated.

In the kitchen I have a walkin cooler, a 6ft grill and a small amount of other non cooking/cooling items.

I am looking for the cheapest way of doing this with equipment and labor while serving breakfast lunch and dinner.

Thanks All.
#1

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    UncleVic
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/18 00:21:45 (permalink)
    Are you serious?
    Anyone with the luxury of having a kitchen and storage at their fingertips normally has a menu in mind.
    What kind of chow ya looking at serving? If you want some quick and easy food, do tacos and burros. If you want really good food, figure on some pan fried goodies (Like Perch and fries with a decent side).
    #2
    6star
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/18 01:11:41 (permalink)
    I see from the online Yellow Pages you have about 20 restaurants in your town, about 6 of them national chains. I would suggest that you determine what "category" or "type" of food is not being offered or not well covered by other restaurants and try offering some of that.

    Another way you could develop a menu is decide what dish you think you can cook better than anyone else, or a recipe for a dish that is better than what anyone else in town is serving, and start with that (great-great-grandma's recipe that has been handed down and Aunt Lucy's dish that is the favorite of the whole family at get-togethers, for example).
    #3
    kland01s
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/18 06:59:42 (permalink)
    Why not just start out as a breakfast/lunch place with the emphasis on breakfast. We have more than our share of national chains here but the indie breakfast places seem to always be crowded and have waits.
    #4
    Jimeats
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/18 07:13:37 (permalink)
    You haven't even opened yet and you've already made a big mistake. Looking for the cheapest way of doing this.

    As a small start up with limited resources I would start with just breakfast and lunch and build from there. You would also have to be a cut above the rest. Even breakfast these days are not what they use to be, too many dietary concerns, it's become a weekend event.
    I don't have a clue about the demographics of you area, but thats something that has to be looked at closely. Good luck. Chow Jim
    #5
    doggydaddy
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/18 07:57:26 (permalink)


    The cheapest way to do things with no idea of a menu are a very bad combination. There are enough cheap and clueless bosses out there. Why join the ranks? I am not going to bring up the old joke about how to make a small fortune in this business as you will learn the punchline.

    What is the real cooking area like? You write about a grill. Do you mean flat-top griddle? What other burners do you have? Ovens? What exactly are your non-cooking and especially cooling spaces like? You mention a walk-in cooler. Can you afford to buy sanitary plastic storage containers?

    Can you cook? Even if you plan to hire someone to do that job, you better know how to do it in case s/he fails to show up. What is your restaurant experience?

    mark

    #6
    texgrill
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/18 08:25:04 (permalink)
    I agree with Jim and Kland. In your griddle/grill place it will be best to specialize in the "the best breakfast deal in Town".

    Give the best prices and large servings and the crowds will come.

    The key is your prices have to be kept low and you want volume sales.

    Keep the menu very simple. There is a place here in Houston that follows this formula and has been successful for over 20 years.
    Its called Franks Grill - here's some reviews -
    http://www.b4-u-eat.com/houston/restaurants/reviews/rsv1887.asp

    Ronnie
    #7
    bassrocker4u2
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/18 09:29:33 (permalink)
    a whole lotta holes in your info. we can fire ideas at you, but they would be totally useless. now if you like,, pay me airfare, and time, and i will came out and professionaly analyze your situation. this should take about a week, minimum. some places take months or even years to develope properly, from the ideas to the themes, to the methods of operations, and the special recipes. it aint simple or easy and should not be taken lightly. this is the part that will make or break you.
    mike
    #8
    MeatanPotatoes
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/18 13:35:05 (permalink)
    I am thinking of starting with just a breakfast and lunch that is a good idea thanks (most of that can be done on the flat grill). I am only looking at the cheapest alternative because the previous Lessee stole all the equipment and vandalized the building in the process. I need to open as soon as possible so that I can help the employees that are paycheck to paycheck. I want to serve good food and I have good cooks but when I mention cheap I am talking a small menu to get going with the least amount of equipment (not bad food!) I will work into a larger menu as I generate income.

    This restaurant has been here many years and has always done well. It mostly caters to older people and familys. It is like a small town cafe with eggs, hasbrowns etc. for breakfast and burgers, sanwiches for lunch. I have a few good employees that have been here for years that can help with ideas but I thought I would check with you guys also, Thanks. EDIT: I dont even have a stove, I will be looking into that asap, no dishes, pots and pans only a walkin cooler and a 6ft flat grill.
    #9
    V960
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/18 15:04:25 (permalink)
    AND you have a payroll to meet...

    Good luck and just go simple stuff. Use butter and not oil, real eggs not cartoned, quality cheese and real cream for the coffee.
    #10
    6star
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/18 15:29:20 (permalink)
    If you wanted to add something special to accompany your burgers, etc., you could grill various vegetables (sliced tomatoes, sliced potatoes, bell pepper slices, onion slices, eggplant slices, sliced squash, etc.) on your flat-top grill after seasoning or marinating them, and you could even offer all these grilled veggies as a vegetarian meal.
    #11
    MeatanPotatoes
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/18 18:55:37 (permalink)
    Thankyou V and 6 both good ideas. Since my menu will be small in the begining I think quality will help.
    #12
    dreamzpainter
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/18 20:19:58 (permalink)
    The basics for brkfast are fairly inexpensive, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham and fresh prepared potatos. Carried into lunch with egg salad, BLT's and ham steak with fries, add some lunchmeats and good juicey burgers. Perhaps chili and a soup of the day. You already have the makings for a chef's or house salad so add a special dressing along with the usual ones.

    Poll your employees, the ones who where there before, see what sold well and ask customers what they recommend
    #13
    bassrocker4u2
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/19 10:09:38 (permalink)
    i am sitting here picturing an empty building, with a cooler, and a flat top grill. gee, what can you do???/ well, there is no where to store line foods, so you will have to open that cooler a hundred times an hour. how long before it craps out on you? maybe a month, if you are lucky. look! you simply have to get more stuff. you got to have line equipment. toasters, small refridgerators, and freezers, steam tables, milk machines, sandwich tables, prep areas, tons of smallwares. without this stuff, you might as well not even try. so, are you still sticking with "i only have a cooler and a flat top"? or do you have some of the basic smallwares...
    how about some pictures, that would be very helpful. hey you could do just very simple stuff, but more basic info required......
    #14
    MeatanPotatoes
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/19 11:31:16 (permalink)
    I am aware I will need more equipment. I will just have to start with the basics. I am hoping I can do this with a stove, a fryer a couple freezers and frdges, a hot and cold table and smallwares. I am cleaning and painting now so at a later date I will post some before and after pics. It looks like Dirty Jobs. I actually remodeled it a couple years back but you would never know it. After the things I saw at night and lack of cleanliness I never ate here again. At least with everything gone it will be much easier cleaning :)

    This situation is on the verge of going criminal but I can't just sit and wait for our stuff back. After all is said and done I will post the story behind all this, it boggles peoples minds, but right now I will clean, paint, and begin purchasing the necessities. Oh yea thanks for the good imput Dreamz. The employees are a HUGE help so far they want this to work to. Dressing those burgers sounds good and also I think omlets would be another one I could add that would work with what you said. Also biscuits and gravy is always a must.

    The sad thing is there are maybe 50 cars a day driving up and leaving. In a small town that is alot due to small town rumors I expected everyone to know.

    If the previous lessee does not bring the equipment back he will be facing Theft By Deception and Fraudulant Means, and also Vandalism. At 83 years of age I would think it would be in his best interest to bring the items back rather then sitting in a prison cell with Bubba. So I am crossing my fingers. Thanks everyone.
    #15
    bassrocker4u2
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/20 09:28:08 (permalink)
    after reading your new list of items, its sounding more and more like you have everything you need. a whole lot can be done with that. not sure whats missing.
    waffle irons are free, if you agree tobuy certain brand of mix.....fyi ask your food service rep
    #16
    bassrocker4u2
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/20 09:31:24 (permalink)
    after reading your new list of items, its sounding more and more like you have everything you need. a whole lot can be done with that. not sure whats missing.
    waffle irons are free, if you agree to buy certain brand of mix.....fyi ask your food service rep. some of your items can be quickly obtained thru a company like u.s. food, on a lease/purchase plan. something to look in to.
    on thing you should have alreadydone.... post a huge banner outside, stating your intentions with all these folks who are turning away rigt now. maybe have someome talk to them with info, that will help your reopening....
    #17
    MeatanPotatoes
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/20 13:19:30 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by bassrocker4u2

    after reading your new list of items, its sounding more and more like you have everything you need. a whole lot can be done with that. not sure whats missing.
    waffle irons are free, if you agree to buy certain brand of mix.....fyi ask your food service rep. some of your items can be quickly obtained thru a company like u.s. food, on a lease/purchase plan. something to look in to.
    on thing you should have alreadydone.... post a huge banner outside, stating your intentions with all these folks who are turning away rigt now. maybe have someome talk to them with info, that will help your reopening....
    Thanks, I am putting some large signs up front today the list that I just mentioned are the things I will have to purchase. All I have is a couple stainless tables, a leased dishwasher the grill and a walkin cooler but I have found a place I can get the rest very cheap (used) dont want to lease because we might get the original stuff back, and yea I was wondering about the waffle iron my employees had conflicting answers on that one, thanks.
    #18
    MeatanPotatoes
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/20 13:43:35 (permalink)
    Here is my favorite but my worst nightmare, I have already spent a couple hours on it cant you tell? Oh yea there is a mouse hole near the gas lines with a mixture of insulation and grease. EDIT: if you really want to get grossed out click the link for larger image.

    #19
    bassrocker4u2
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/21 08:00:19 (permalink)
    just one question....... where do we sent the condolence flowers????

    man, what a pic!
    #20
    Adjudicator
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/21 08:25:17 (permalink)


    OMG! That's going to take steam cleaning. Hope you have floor drains. Just out of curiosity, was the building @ one time a chain restaurant?
    #21
    edwmax
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/21 09:47:54 (permalink)
    I just done renovation drawings for a restaurant in north Florida,the
    previous owner just locked up and walked away. Food was still in the prep
    tables, frig and freezers. Greese was still in the friers. That looks
    like a pic from this store. Man, the smell of year old sour milk will can almost make you loose your lunch.
    #22
    Adjudicator
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/21 10:21:44 (permalink)
    Check your email edwmax.
    #23
    MeatanPotatoes
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/21 13:10:56 (permalink)
    Thanks for the enlargement Adjudicator I am still trying to learn how to do that. It was never a chain restuarant. I am trying to save all the doe I can so I have been using chemicals and a commercial pressure washer. Not many floor drains so I have been spraying a little and using a shopvac (hard on the back). Yesterday I got inside the walkin cooler done and some of the office. Today I hope to have the office done and painted. I will tackle the grill area in pic later after I get good at this but I already know I will have to replace the outlets.

    This whole thing is very hard. I have to do all the labor, paperwork, legal investigating, deal with employees, etc. I even have another job that I still do a litle but have put on the back burner, however this ship WILL sail.
    #24
    Foodbme
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/21 13:51:58 (permalink)
    MY Suggestion---------Don't quit your day job!!! NEVER, I repeat NEVER, get in a business that you know nothing about. Take it from someone who lost EVERYTHING on a great business he knew nothing about. The FIRST YEAR Mortality rate in the restaurant business is 98%.

    LOTTSA LUCK!!
    #25
    Sonny Funzio
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/21 17:33:55 (permalink)
    Wow ... if that photo is indicative of the rest of your restaurant, unless your restaurant is out in some holler in the hills of a County with no health department (and poss a building dept), you could be in for some nasty surprises when the inspector shows up ... be prepared to spend.

    To that end, *make sure* you find out what they are going to require of you before making equipment purchases ...

    Some warnings re: this ... about a third of the way down the page in this post:
    http://www.roadfood.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=16009

    That aside - a couple very general ideas as far as the menu ...

    First, if your location had a dedicated clientele, and your restaurant will not be that much different than the previous, make sure you understand what they liked about the previous establishment. Why were they there?
    If there's any good-will to be had ... no sense in throwing away any ready-made patrons.

    Find something that will bring people in ... something to use as a "loss leader" that will get peoples attention.
    You might consider something along the lines of serving the biggest portions of french fries (etc)in town for a really reasonable price ... (food cost on potatoes is cheap).
    Similarly, once you get going, if breakfasts are slow (or on certain days), have a really killer breakfast deal ... if lunch is slow, have a really great lunch deal ... ie. patch up the slack times. ... and plaster it in your front window in huge letters as advertisement!

    The other thing is you might consider on an otherwise limited menu is having a special.
    A true "special" (as in "special of the day") is ideally one that you serve because you obtained it at an unusually good cost ... This allows you to serve it with a slightly better margin than other menu items without pricing it any higher (for what it is) than the rest of the menu. It's win-win, variety for your menu and help with cost.
    This less costly food item could be because you went down to the farmers market at closing and got a great deal ... or the item was cheap because it was temporarily "in season" ... or a supplier had a special price on it.
    It gives your menu variety while supporting your overall margin.








    #26
    Sonny Funzio
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/21 17:35:45 (permalink)
    this scrolling back and forth is killin me ... what's the chance that we might put that giant photo behind a thumbnail or a link or somethin?
    #27
    MeatanPotatoes
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    RE: Help needed small starting menu for restaurant 2007/01/21 23:52:06 (permalink)
    Thanks Sonny. I know the building inpsector and he is cool, I also have knowledge in building codes so no prob there, but the health inspector is another thing. After all the work is done I think he will be pleased, but I will check into the equipment issue you mention. Thanks.
    #28
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