Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Great Debate

I'm currently working on the new summer menu. As always, each time I do a new menu, I'm confronted with the same dilemma. Do great food that I can be proud of and satisfy the broad range of customers that we serve. Sure, I'd love to "Kellerize" the menu but afterall this is Racine Wisconsin and I have bills to pay. Not to mention my employees have bills to pay. If we go foo-foo we'd all be out of a job. I'm afraid I have to walk that line between cutting edge and tried and true. One common thread between both approaches is great product. We may not have the poshest menu in S.E. Wisconsin but we don't take a back seat to anyone when it comes to quality. Quality is the essential ingredient in any great restaurant's coffers. Which brings up another dilemma, price. Quality costs money. Even though we have a reputation in town of being expensive our menu prices are well below the top-notch restaurants in Milwaukee, our neighbor to the north. Our portions are also larger. We're putting bigger and better product on the plate but still charging up to $10.00 less than alot of restaurants. Take our ribeye for example. We sell a gorgeous 18oz, bone-in steak, with cheddar mashed potato, vegetable, demi-glace, garlic compound butter and bread and butter for $30. I've recently seen the same steak priced well into the 40s and it was simply steak on a plate with a little au jus.

The economy isn't helping out. Especially around here. This area still has the highest unemployment in the State, gas prices are affecting the dining habits of many local customers, energy costs are rising and it's an election year. (never a good time for restaurants) Not only are my customers feeling it, so are we. With that being said, I have to get this menu done. I have to increase profit margin and not pass all the costs to the customer. I also refuse to serve crap or "fake" product that I see happening all over.

We are also changing the format of the menu as well. It will be printed on legal sized card stock with our logo watermarked on it. We will also mount the menu on a leather bound menu backer. It makes it easier to handle, read, store and change.

I hope to be done this week.