Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tactics aka Menu

I heard from some military general that tactics are wonderful but it's logistics that wins wars. I have the same philosophy when it comes to menus. If you can't serve the menu properly you've lost the war. I see many menus while dining out or surfing the net. Some sound incredibly good. It's also not uncommon to see those same restaurants out of business within a year. I've noticed the shi-shi menu craze really geared up in recent years with the celebrity chef craze. It seems more chefs are interested in showing off how great they are rather than concentrating on what this business is really about. Being successful, making money, keeping the employees employed and making a livable wage. If you can do all that AND show off you are ahead of the game.

I have spent a good portion of my career dealing with logistics. If you can't realistically serve that fancy menu what good does it do you? If you can't get that exotic ingredient it won't impress anyone. If the chef is the only one skilled enough to implement the menu then you're going to crash and burn sooner or later.

As a result my "style" is keep it simple, serve a quality product, accent it in a positive manner and don't screw it up. The "don't screw it up" part is all about restraint and logistics. I think you'll find that most places with similar philosophies do pretty well. You may not find corn fungus on the menu but the odds are the customers will appreciate it.


Anonymous said...

What is your key to keeping the good employees?

Scott said...

The dining room staff is motivated by money and decent hours. If they do their job both are provided.

The kitchen is motivated by a team spirit,decent wage,consistent rules and not taking advantage of any of them. I like to think of myself as a father figure. I may be hard on them but I take care of my boys. I don't employ slackers.

I love those guys.

kaffeenjunkie said...

"I may be hard on them but I take care of my boys. I don't employ slackers."

Amen to that!
I got one of my guys, who has been with us since he second month we opened, a set of knives. We presented them to him at our yrly party. I thought the guy was gonna cry.

I agree with your approach to serving food. We will sometimes sit and watch the flavor of the month chef on food network. One thing we often say is try to get that out of a kitchen and do a hundred covers in an hour!

You also have to appeal to your customers tastebuds. I cannot serve wheat grass and tofu and make money in this meat and potatoes town.

Love your blog Scott
Merry Christmas!