Hello. Looking to pay someone for advise.

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by millstream, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. millstream

    millstream

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    Hello.

    I am the owner of a 40 room hotel located in Coudersport,Pa.  We are planning a 30 room expansion which we will be starting in the next few weeks.  Along with the additional rooms, we are looking to serve food cafeteria style.  Our hotel has and will continue to cater to natural gas workers.  

    I am looking to talk with someone who has successfully operated a small cafeteria.  Some of my ideas are below:

    1:  we need to prepare at most 90 meals per day.  We only offer one meal per day and everyone gets the same thing: (today we have stuffed chicken breasts, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, pie or cake and drink)
    2: I want the dinners to be plated and ready at 5 pm and held in something to keep warm
    3:  this kitchen also has to serve at most 90 breakfasts: eggs, bacon, pancakes (nothing fancy)
    4: we need to pack at most 90 lunches per day, all lunches are cold.

    I am looking for someone I can hire to guide us as to what equipment we need.  We are not going to be open to the public, we won't be serving 5 star meals, but we will serve good quality food at cost.  Our core business is the hotel rooms so we are not looking to make anything over and above our cost on our food.

    I hope to connect with someone that can steer us in the right direction.  As the title says, I am not looking for something for nothing.  I intend to pay someone for their help.

    Any information would be great!

    Thank you- Scott Buchsen
     
  2. bughut

    bughut

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    Hi Scott, and welcome to the forum,

    Im sure there will be plenty of advice from the members.I would like to wish you the best of luck with your new venture.I would imagine its a huge financial and emotional investment and getting it right first time is so important.

    Keep in touch and enjoy the site
     
  3. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Hello Scott. I'm moving your request to the Professional Chefs' forum, where your audience will be larger.

    Good luck with your operation.
    Mezzaluna
     
  4. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    Hi Scott . I can answer many of your questions and concerns. I take it by what you said these are mostly men and they have good appetites. That means a lot of starches and breads. Cafeteria style means steamtables. Food has to be handled special ways to keep stable and eye appealing in steam tables. Food at cost?? Do you want to make $ on food or is it absorbed in your room selling price??
    Is there competition nearby or do you have captive clientel?
     
  5. theob

    theob

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    In regards to #1, the meals. If you want them all plated and ready to go simultaniously, a "hot truck" is probably your best bet. I'd have to do the math, but I expect 90 plates with plate covers can fit in a single relatively large hot truck. To be totally sure you'd have to measure the volume of your plates and compare it with the interior size of the hot truck.

    They are wonderful pieces of equipment because of their temperature stability, and their size. Great for breakfasts as well, if you have hotel pans of your bacon, saussages, etc. cooked and placed in them.

    I'm failing to find an example via search engines. I don't think I know the formal name for this piece of equipment. I'm sure Ed or someone will know specifically.
     
  6. greg

    greg

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    There are several names for that piece. Hot box, hot cart and banquet cart are some. Example below:
    [​IMG]
     
  7. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    We call them BTWs  banquet transport wagons . They are used in many hospital settings to deliver meals. I prefer buying 2 smaller wrather then 1 large. The large are extremely heavy and you really need 2 people to move and when it goes out of service you have nothig. With the 2 smaller if 1 goes out you have the other and its easier to manauver. Also there are times you wont have 90 dinners.. They are by no means cheap your talking big investment here..
     
  8. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    aka Queen Mary's......
     
  9. theages

    theages

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    I believe they are Carter Hofman carts.  I have used them before and they are great.  I agree with Ed, 2 smaller ones is better than 1 large one.  If you decide to get one large then try to purchase one extra warmer.  It is super easy to put in and take out.  That way you have a back-up heat source.

    Also, when you say you'll sell it at food at cost, does this also include labor?  Or only the cost of the food?  Be sure to factor the cost of the food, the labor, and utilities into your budget (I'm sure you considered this, I'm just stating the obvious). 

    To try to serve 90 pre-plated dinners to hotel guests all at once could be a very difficult proposition unless you can control when they eat.  Do they all eat at exactly the same time?  Or is service over several hours?  You'll need a way to manage the food so it remains in a quality state if service is over several hours (this would mean batch cooking the meals).

    To plate 90 dinners all at once you either need a lot of hands (not neccessarily expert hands, just bodies with one chef directing them), or you need equipment such as the Alto Sham combi oven http://www.alto-shaam.com/product_detail.asp?productnumber=236  .  With this unit you can pre-plate the dinners the night before on special racks.  Then when dinner time arrives you simply roll the carts into the ovens and cook.  Finish by adding the sauce & garnish at plate-up.  This set-up is expensive but can help save on the labor.  It does take a knowledgeable chef to use this equipment since some things do not re-therm very well, while others work great.