Dealing with owners who know nothing about restaurants and menues

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by minichefzim, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. minichefzim


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    Professional Chef
    Hi Guys,

    As a few of you know, I am now running a kitchen that serves two restaurants, one, a casual, poolside lunch spot, the other a fine dining restaurant.

    We have just had our opening for the lunch restaurant, and it has worked out great, the owners love my new menu, and so are our customers.

    I am now focusing on the fine dining dinner menu. I have created a good menu, and the owners thinks its good, just need to implement it.

    So my problem now is, she keeps changing the fracking menu, the wording and layouts, kinda looks like a child wrote it,

    "Fantastic" "Delightful" and "A Delicious"  everywhere!

    And the layout, I am trying to explain that as a chef, I am taught how to write a menu, the do's and don'ts. But they always know better.

    And now I am told that they want to combine the menu, to make it one, for both the fine dining and the casual lunch spot.

    How do i explain that you can't serve open sandwiches and wraps at night in a fine dining restaurant, or serve fine dining dishes on a deck by the pool. Also, they want to keep all the steaks, so my sirloin that is on the lunch menu, with fries and side salad, will be on the menu with the dinner sirloin, with whiskey-balsamic, braised root veg, and potato galette, and the basket bar snacks on a fine dining menu!

    How do i explain to them?

    They have been on board with all of my other ideas and recommendations about the hotel, but when it comes down to what i do best?

    Anyone have this problem?

    Thanks for hearing me out.
  2. raibeaux


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    Give them a labor projection.
  3. brandon odell

    brandon odell

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    Maybe you should suggest they get another opinion. For whatever reason, they aren't taking the advice of the person they hired to write the menus, maybe you should suggest they talk to someone else who is an expert for a second opinion before making a decision themselves.

    I do understand wanting to rewrite descriptions to improve them. Chefs aren't known for their eloquent speech. I can even see involving an experienced menu designer to consult on the layout. Chefs don't specialize in graphic design. I can't see how they imagine any benefit to combining menus. That one aspect lets me know they certainly don't have the descriptive writing or graphic design background to second guess the chef on any of it. If they did, they would know enough about menus and restaurants to realize they are getting ready to cannibalize their fine dining sales and hurt the identity of both concepts, likely hurting the sales of both.

    Lots of restaurant consultants and chef consultants give free consultations. There are also restaurant owner discussion forums like and  where restaurant owners can talk to other owners, chefs, consultants and industry professionals who have witnessed or experienced whatever it is they are thinking of doing.

    Ideally, they would just listen to you since that is what they hired you to do. Its tough to convince someone who is gambling their own money to trust you completely.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
  4. burntmitts82


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    Line Cook
    Maybe have them over to the fine dining restaurant for a tasting of the new menu, really talk it up but don't tell them specifically whats going to be on the menu.. Make them think they are about to embark on michelin star-level culinary adventure. Maybe even have them bring some friends. Then, when they are all seated at the table, the anticiption for this lovely menu building, you bring out the first course and it' open faced sandwich! This might help drive point home.
  5. foodpump


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    Professional Pastry Chef
    The one thing owners will understand is money. The other thing you have to do is never tell them anything, but ask questions to get their two brain cells rubbing off each other and making sparks.

    Q) What would the average guest cheque for a two-top be  if we combine the lunch menu and the dinner menu? Is it enough to pay for the evening service staff?

    Q) Can we sell booze, and if so how much, with open face sandwiches in the evening?

    Q) How much money could we save on menu printing and menu cover costs if the lunch menu were just a plain photocopy of today's specials and maybe weekly features?

    Q) Do customers who pay for and enjoy rare done sirloins with whiskey balsamic reductions really use the word "A-delicious" to describe their menu choices?

    Q) Did you know that in terms of menu lay-out "real estate",  that the central portion of the right hand page is far more valuable than the lower left hand corner of the left page?

    Q) How much of a hassle will it be to change menu prices on only the lunch or the dinner menu as opposed to the whole thing?

    Q) Do we have enough menus to cover the bar and the dining room, or should we print off more at --X $ a pop?

    Remember, a  good diplomat can tell you to go to he77 in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.  Best way to do this is to ask questions......
    soesje and kaiquekuisine like this.