Build out and Egg service for local bagel shop - need input

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by Jimmai, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. Jimmai

    Jimmai

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    Hey guys, I just got recruited to help with the build out and menu development for a local bagel shop here in Louisville, KY. They've been around for around 20 years and are known for making the only boil and bake bagels in town; they're moving in to a new space and looking to expand the menu, so they've acquired me for the job.

    A little about myself: I'm relatively new to the commercial kitchen game (about 3 years in), but have found it to be strength of mine. I've worked and managed the kitchen for a local burger joint, started my own mobile food service, and built out/ managed the kitchen for a local coffee shop.

    I've found my niche in coffee shop- esque food programs and will be transitioning into the local bagel shop developing their food and coffee program.

    Everything is bar/ counter service right now at the bagel shop, but we will be looking to extend the menu to more plated items outside of bagels, all the while maintaining as little back of house duties as possible.

    My question is related to eggs: we are doing whatever we can do keep all service up front, which means front of house sells bagels, coffee, and all other menu items. They've avoided doing eggs because they worry about managing them in what will be surely high volume for front of house employees untrained for kitchen duties.

    My first inclination is to have a 24" flat top up front and train employees to make eggs, limiting egg variations to scramble and over easy. I think there is some resistance to this idea because it phases front of house employees into more of a line cook role, rather than just slicing bagels and dishing out cream cheese.

    The owner proposes that we bake off eggs in the back and holding up front in a warming drawer. I personally don't like the look of employees simply pulling eggs out of a drawer for their sandwich, but this may be the best solution outside of expecting front of house employees to perform line cook duties.

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. linecookliz

    linecookliz

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    At work we have a Lyonnasie salad. Service can get hectic so the chef has me poach a certain amount of eggs that day. I shock them in cold ice water for 5 minutes, and put them on a pan with paper towels. They keep for several days and whenever someone orders the salad I just pop the egg in simmering water on the hot plate at the station, and it is done in a minute or two (depending on how hot the water is). I would think this technique would work for the over easies. The kitchen is opened and none of the customers seem to mind we pre-cook them.
     
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  3. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    Shortest answer- Quiche is slice and serve.

    But trying to hold almost any egg based product at serving temp, ends up with quality and food safety issues...
    Including having eggs in a warming drawer!

    Longer answer-

    If they want to expand the menu, someone is going to have to cook!
    Someone will also need to do the prep work. Now you have a new set of ingredients to mange.
    What egg products can you make with the tools and equipment that is already there?

    Talk to the bakers in back, maybe they could develop a sort of bagel boat with a well, to hold an egg or egg mixture, take that through to a par bake, then add your egg/egg filling to finish in an oven.

    But, you would still need someone in back to do the finishing bake!

    Just bring in frozen items for front of house to heat up in a microwave, or someone in back has to cook.



    Good luck on this challenge!
     
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  4. Jimmai

    Jimmai

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    Thanks for the input, guys. I agree with you, sgmchef; someone is just going to have to cook. I think i've been coming to that determination. They've hired me for this occasion and I just need to put my foot down and make the call.

    I already have plans to have the eggy bread boat on the menu- exactly as you've outline! The issue is that bagel breakfast sandwiches will need to be an inclusion in this new location. We're just gonna have to cook!
     
  5. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    Just had another idea.

    Mixing scrambled eggs into a spicy, sausage gravy. Pour it on top of anything, or in a cup to dip your bagel?

    Still need a cook, unless you buy both of these frozen in bags. Yuck.

    Fresh is king. The profit margin on eggs is still pretty good. Hire a cook...
     
  6. someday

    someday

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    You can't have it both ways. You won't be able to train counter people to cook eggs to order. You just won't...they'll either screw it up, won't care or won't be able to do it.

    Putting pre-cooked eggs in a drawer is a disgusting idea, and your owner should be ashamed for even proposing it.

    You either have to hire some cooks to do it, or scrap the idea. I say scrap the idea...if the business model has been working for 20 plus years, why screw with it now?

    If you and the ownership want to have a la carte items, you need to have a cook. No other way to do it...you could microwave it like McDonald's but then what's the point?
     
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  7. Jimmai

    Jimmai

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    Thanks for the feedback and affirmation, guys. I agree with everyone's thoughts on the warming drawer. It's just not even worth the 20 seconds we might be able to shave off a ticket.

    I suspected it would be an impossible feat, but ibjust wanted to check here tobsee if anyone had any success pulling something like that off. They're just gonna have to adapt to having a back of house operating during service.
     
  8. foodpump

    foodpump

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    You're not going to fit a lot of eggs on a 24" griddle, and it's not ideal to scramble eggs on a flat top either. You'll be paying a whole lot of money for infrastructure (ventilation system, fire suppression system, gas line) regardless of the size of flat top you put in.

    If it were me, I'd put the griddle behind glass right up next to the display case, have a cook f/t there smiling and nodding and putting on a bit of a show for the customers.
     
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  9. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    I've seen many operations that offer an egg item for a breakfast sandwich option. When people order the egg sandwich they have to wait much longer and stand off to the side. From what you say it looks like your set up pretty good with a variety of cold options that are applied to the bagel. Most pre-made options aren't the best way of doing it unless your egg sandwich are a small part of the operation. I think you need to know or predict how many of these you will sell and how big of a menu item this will be. In many cases you need to be "all in" or not bother. If your "all in" then set up a small breakfast cooking area to accomplish a larger breakfast menu. If your "all in" you can move to a larger menu that offers Eggs sandwiches with a good Dry aged Virginia Backed Ham & egg, Kentucky smoked bacon & Eggs, Farm fresh Sage Sausage & Egg sandwich. These are only a few you could offer. Like I said, if your going to do it, you need to do it right. Quality food just doesn't happen, it's planned.
    I've had many breakfast operations that needed fast serve that put me in a position to pre-make and hold in slider warmers for self-service. These sold real well and they were a bit better than the quality you would expect from this kind of operation. No matter how hard I try there is no match for fresh and hot right off the grill food. You need to decide how important this is to the success of the morning menu.
    I also feel the egg has come a long way in many ways. If you happen to have a Food Show coming to your area try to attend. They have many pre-made items that may work for your operation. some of the items are pre-made omelets, pre-made egg patties for breakfast sandwiches. In many cases you will see things like this on breakfast buffets in Hotels that offer free breakfast. They have also had "Eggs in a bag" for years that could be held in a warmers. There are a lot of options, but, not all are a quality approach to what you may want.......ChefBillyB
     
  10. allanmcpherson

    allanmcpherson

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    This is a situation made for low temp / sous vide applications. Best bang for your buck in terms of equipment costs, relative ease in training and if you use circulators over standing water baths gives you much more flexibility in your set up.
     
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  11. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Allan, would you put a Sous Vide operation managed by some 18 to 24 year olds. I would worry about food safety with Sous Vide eggs. I could see it " Dude, you want a Sous Vide egg bagel with your Pumpkin Latte" ........I would would worry about Sous Vide eggs in the wrong hands.
     
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  12. foodpump

    foodpump

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    How long does it take to s.v. an egg? How long does it take to re thermalize( heat up) an egg in a pouch?
     
  13. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Oh, forgot. How much is the cost of a vacuum bag and labour to get that egg in a pouch, compared to the cost of an egg?

    Don't get me wrong sous vide has its place in the kitchen, absolutely best for large cuts of meat, great for small expensive cuts of meat, but for an 18 cent egg, is it really the best option?
     
  14. allanmcpherson

    allanmcpherson

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    I wouldn't have any real problem with that at all, especially for a specific use like we are talking about. If they have clear procedures and can figure out how to use a timer it wouldnt be any kind of problem. We trust kids to use deep friers and broilers, this would be way less of a concern.
     
  15. allanmcpherson

    allanmcpherson

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    Between 45 min and an hour, I personally go two hours. Retherm 5-7 min from the fridge. And, of course you can stay ahead by a few orders at peak times. For a "scramble" style in a bag, if packed thin, even less.
     
  16. allanmcpherson

    allanmcpherson

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    Well, there would be no need to vac bag anything. BPH free zippies would be used for scrambles, if you went that way, so about 4-6 cents. Otherwise, just use the shell. Labour to prep is nominal for in the shell, and pretty slight for a scramble, comparable to properly maintaining a flattop.

    For an egg, absolutely. For hundreds of eggs everyday without a "line", its the best deal you are going to get. Short of third party products, which I have no clue about, tbh.
     
  17. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    You can do scrambled, you cannot do over easy. That's a failure waiting to happen.

    What you can do however is liquid egg that's already pasteurized. Portion into silicon molds and use the turbochef. That would give you at least eggs for an egg sandwich and quality a bit better than a precooked egg that's chilled and reheated.
     
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  18. capecodchef

    capecodchef

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    Jeez guys, all this talk of sous vide, or adding a grill. Why make it so complicated? Get a couple of two burner induction cooktops and some 8" nonstick pans and use fresh AA eggs cooked to order. For breakfast sandwiches you only need scrambled and over hards. You should be able to train any kid to do either of those.
     
  19. fatcook

    fatcook

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    Does it have to be eggs? A bagel place near us (house made) offers 4 types of cream cheese, tomatoes, spinach, and salmon (w/capers) for their bagel options. All easy to assemble while keeping the line clear for other breakfast items.

    Otherwise, I agree with SGMChef and others (and your later post) someone is going to have to cook.
     
  20. rick alan

    rick alan

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    All right don't shoot me for budding in here, haven't heard them mentioned so just curious if all this addition warrants croissants also? Boy nothing much beats eggs on a croissant, however you do them.