Help with job title and description for startup?

5,551
991
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Money.
How much would this business gross in the first year? From this figure subtract overhead and the owner’s cut, and how much is leftover for salaries?
 
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Joined Feb 24, 2017
Wish it were that easy to say. This is a pilot project within a very large organization that is NOT in foodservice. It will be a new "business unit" for them. We are inventing this wheel.
 
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Joined Feb 24, 2017
I'm going in the other direction: advising what it will take/cost to staff/run it, what is *very conservatively* likely to happen w/sales based on their menu and target markets, with the marketing efforts they're realistically willing to put forth and a very slow phase-in/shakedown cruise, and let's figure out how the shortfall will be covered. I do not sugarcoat.
 
4,283
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
I wrote this yesterday and deleted because I thought I was being a bit meanspirited. But are you sure that there is really a market for this kind of cafe with this kind of strategy?

In my area we have had for decades small cafes in medical and other professional office buildings. Most serve breakfast and lunch... soup, sandwich, smoothie drinks, and snacks. Almost all are mom-and-pop operations, with the interesting commonality that it is generally a middle-aged Asian couple who work their fingers to the bone just to make a living. No staff; no fancy advisory group; no nothing except the sweat off their brows. It always looks like a low-volume, low-revenue operation to me and I have no idea how they can make a living. Most shut down when COVID hit. Few seem to be reopening, at least yet.

As a consultant I understand that you want to help them realize their dream but I'm struggling to see how the concept will succeed given the described scenario.

It's good that you don't sugar coat...
 
4,283
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
P.S. I could be completely wrong about the twist you are offering of healthy eats. There is a health food restaurant in my area the has been in continuous operation since the 1970s. I really hate the taste of their food yet eat there annually… and annually predict that they will shut down. I may underestimate that market segment.
 
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Joined Feb 24, 2017
No worries, I feel a kind spirit with some frank challenges, and I'm GRATEFUL.

To me, the difference here is that it is not contracted, but owned in-house. That's part of my role: help them learn how to fold this in as a business unit, how to make it as financially responsible and viable as it can be, and if it cannot, figure out how to make up the cost to the extent that they value the investment in the concept.

In my professional opinion (I worked many years in university settings and directly with clinical teams on program development) it is an excellent time to dig into food as medicine. Success will require an integrated educational approach, and a spirit of collaboration AS WELL AS these hard business truths.
 
5,551
991
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Wish it were that easy to say. This is a pilot project within a very large organization that is NOT in foodservice. It will be a new "business unit" for them. We are inventing this wheel.
Ah... Now my experiences have been dealing with hydrochloride acid— my “term of endearment” for bank managers/financial lenders. And I have been successful, I’ve gotten lending and subsequent lines of credit for two businesses. Either I had a good business proposal- which included projected gross sales as well as projected costs— or, and this could be true, the lenders just liked me. What ever the case, if I had no estimate of gross sales, there’s no way I could negotiate a lease, purchase equipment, or, in your case, hire staff.

New wheel or old, you need money to make it spin around. How much money determines the design of the newly invented wheel.
 
3,318
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Joined May 5, 2010
Managers use big words to describe nothing more than everybody working together to make it happen.
In life there will always be those who hang on the coat tails of others and take the credit where no credit is due.
In order for your project to work, you're going to need a lot more incentive to bring in those skilled laborers that can make your business fly.
Food is and always will be subjective, so in order for your business plan to work, you're going to need cooks that can and managers who do. It is tough.
 
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Joined Aug 22, 2021
Yeah, and that’s only part of what’s in my head/on my notepad!

Thanks for reading.

It’s a cafe within a healthcare center (maybe 200 f/t staff once fully open) that also includes a fitness center component. So a very mixed clientele. Client is committed to fresh food/focus on nutrition, a varied approach (“all foods fit”), so everything from wraps, soups, salads that pack well, to a deli case full of tasty prepared foods, and baked goods, small hot and cold serving lines. A little of everything until we see what sticks.

I’m developing the menu to begin, and handing it off to someone who will develop it as they go.

Someone has to manage it as a business unit, tweak the operations and document everything: these folks are not foodservice people and they want to “hand the keys over”. So if the first/biggest hire as leader has this responsibility, I want it to be a chef. But in the beginning, they’ll need to have eyes on everything, advocate for what’s needed at next phases.

It does sound like an owner, and in a way it is, but with a safety net. There are only a few people who’d want to/be able to do this well, and for them, it’ll be the coolest job EVER.

Good pay (still working on that) great benefits.
"Coolest job evah", yeah sure ok, it's four if not five jobs all rolled into one.

Whoever has those abilities, if they have their head screwed on will be happy to startup your business for you (with you), but they will want to be equal partner and that means profit split and contributing seed capital too.

I don't want to be Debbie downer, but I suspect this going to be a case of champagne taste, lemonade money.
 
5,551
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Umm... just a note to anyone who wants some to re-invent the wheel:

A wheel is not a stand-alone object like a piece of art or jewelry.

In order for a wheel to be useful it HAS to be “ fully integrated”
with the following systems
-axles and bearings
- braking system
-steering system
-propulsion system
-suspension system

So, when re-inventing the wheel, ensure that said wheel is fully compatible with the above mentioned systems.
 
203
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Joined Nov 27, 2012
Still no concrete facts yet though. We can start with basic things though.

  1. the restaurant total sqm. How much for the back of the house? How big will the dinner space be?
  2. What kind of budget do you have for equipment?
  3. How many seats total? How many covers per service are you guys projecting?
  4. What kind of $ average per seat are you projecting?
  5. What kind of profits are the owners expecting out of this? Can they live with no profits for the first 6 months and a strong chance of having to inject more money into the project? What if its 1 year?(sounds like you are just trying stuff so this will 100%happen, million dollar question right here)
  6. What kind of food cost are you looking for? What kind of percentages are we looking at with rent, payroll, overhead, drink cost, taxes, etc etc etc.
How about we start with those?
 
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Joined Feb 24, 2017
Umm... just a note to anyone who wants some to re-invent the wheel:

A wheel is not a stand-alone object like a piece of art or jewelry.

In order for a wheel to be useful it HAS to be “ fully integrated”
with the following systems
-axles and bearings
- braking system
-steering system
-propulsion system
-suspension system

So, when re-inventing the wheel, ensure that said wheel is fully compatible with the above mentioned systems.
Word.
 
25
17
Joined Feb 24, 2017
Still no concrete facts yet though. We can start with basic things though.

  1. the restaurant total sqm. How much for the back of the house? How big will the dinner space be?
  2. What kind of budget do you have for equipment?
  3. How many seats total? How many covers per service are you guys projecting?
  4. What kind of $ average per seat are you projecting?
  5. What kind of profits are the owners expecting out of this? Can they live with no profits for the first 6 months and a strong chance of having to inject more money into the project? What if its 1 year?(sounds like you are just trying stuff so this will 100%happen, million dollar question right here)
  6. What kind of food cost are you looking for? What kind of percentages are we looking at with rent, payroll, overhead, drink cost, taxes, etc etc etc.
How about we start with those?
-- the restaurant total sqm. How much for the back of the house? How big will the dinner space be?
+/- 2400 sf total (roughly 50% boh, 25% Teaching Kitchen, 25% front-facing cafe space (counter service, small hot- and cold-lines, deli case, grab and go).

-- What kind of budget do you have for equipment?
Already done, waiting on health department approval to build. It is a fantastic kitchen, not gilt, but built to work, fully functioning for this scale, plus capacity for more later.


-- How many seats total? How many covers per service are you guys projecting?
Pinning that down now. There are many target markets, balancing anticipated income mix is tricky. It’s cafe service, so no seating per se, but across the hall is atrium-like open seating for the building, with tables and chairs for meeting and eating. There is also across the hall a medium-sized multipurpose/event space.


-- What kind of $ average per seat are you projecting?
Working on menu/pricing/check averages. Food and bev costs will be a challenge, no cash fountains like (ha) fountain drinks or Fritos. What can take their place? Focus on fresh, focus on scratch. Cook what’s available, what’s cheap today. Next October, every blessed thing on the menu will have a dang sweet potato in it. I love my margins on bean dishes, grain dishes and meat-stretchers: the realities of food budgets and nutrition is part of the mission.
Disposables likely “green”, figuring out how they want to pay for that.

-- What kind of profits are the owners expecting out of this? Can they live with no profits for the first 6 months and a strong chance of having to inject more money into the project? What if its 1 year?(sounds like you are just trying stuff so this will 100%happen, million dollar question right here)
They realize it’s an investment that will cost money in the roller skates and scooter phases. Projections reflect reality. I don’t sell rose-colored glasses: I’m known as “the bubble popper”.


-- What kind of food cost are you looking for? What kind of percentages are we looking at with rent, payroll, overhead, drink cost, taxes, etc etc etc.
Food cost is high, labor high, leveling a bit later w/sales volume. Paying good wages plus good benefits. Strong focus on costing and continual menu engineering is an absolute must in this startup recruitment. And continual communication about how and where mission and bottom line merge and diverge.
 
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Joined Feb 24, 2017
If I'm not "thinking outside the tray" it's because I'm only using the info you provided. I currently work in a hospital and we already do all the things you've described. Your setting/environment may be different but the concept isn't.
chefwriter, is your kitchen independently managed? Are you able to change the menu/recipes from day-to-day, or are your feeding patients and need set cycle menus (or both)? What % of your customers are patients/staff/outside folks?
 
5,551
991
Joined Oct 10, 2005
2400 sqft, Well, that’s somewhere to start.

-Is this existing restaurant space?
- If not, how much infrastructure needs to be built? I.e power upgrades, gas lines, ventilation system and ductwork, plumbing, and of course a grease trap. Oh, and fire supression, possibly washrooms for staff should health dept require
-Learning kitchen? Shouldn’t that be phase 2?

If you have no menu, you can’t calculate average guest cheque, if you don’t have an average guest cheque, you can’t calculate projected gross sales. Of course with no menu, you can’t plan your equipment purchases, and without an equipment list, you can’t plan any infrastructure upgrades, modifications, or installs, and without knowing what your infrastructure needs are, you can’t negotiate a lease......
 
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Joined Feb 24, 2017
All the space is designed, equipment purchased, permits all but issued. It's not my first rodeo : ) It will support whatever is done and then some, for many years.

Teaching kitchen is the thing the client is most excited about, and already "selling". Not much to it once it's built out, there are folks who will manage the calendar and collaborations.
 
5,551
991
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Hang on a minute, do you have the infrastructure to support the equipment? You have permits pending, what kind of permits? Have you already signed a lease and don’t have key people in place or even an inkling of what you want to sell and for how much?

“Teaching kitchen” is a whole other game. Curriculum? Accreditation? Accredited instructors? Insurance? Post employment? Does the local health dept. permit students work to be sold to the public?
 
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Joined Feb 24, 2017
Yes, yes. The building stuff is all taken care of. Had to be. The org has had the dream for years, I came on when the design and building had to get on a fast track, long story. It's part of a larger building, same "owners".

Menu is 99% done, good idea of the COGS for all.

It is the leadership part I'm working on, because we have the strictures of working within an organization that doesn't do this business normally. That's why I'm trying to find the right wording, sort it into the right categories for startup staffing. And be clear about the responsibilities (what are "startup" things, road-building, vs. ongoing operational needs).

Teaching kitchen does not have to be permitted: totally separate, no food for sale. Health department all on board, I've satisfied all their requirements for all the spaces.
 
203
58
Joined Nov 27, 2012
-- the restaurant total sqm. How much for the back of the house? How big will the dinner space be?
+/- 2400 sf total (roughly 50% boh, 25% Teaching Kitchen, 25% front-facing cafe space (counter service, small hot- and cold-lines, deli case, grab and go).

-- What kind of budget do you have for equipment?
Already done, waiting on health department approval to build. It is a fantastic kitchen, not gilt, but built to work, fully functioning for this scale, plus capacity for more later.


-- How many seats total? How many covers per service are you guys projecting?
Pinning that down now. There are many target markets, balancing anticipated income mix is tricky. It’s cafe service, so no seating per se, but across the hall is atrium-like open seating for the building, with tables and chairs for meeting and eating. There is also across the hall a medium-sized multipurpose/event space.


-- What kind of $ average per seat are you projecting?
Working on menu/pricing/check averages. Food and bev costs will be a challenge, no cash fountains like (ha) fountain drinks or Fritos. What can take their place? Focus on fresh, focus on scratch. Cook what’s available, what’s cheap today. Next October, every blessed thing on the menu will have a dang sweet potato in it. I love my margins on bean dishes, grain dishes and meat-stretchers: the realities of food budgets and nutrition is part of the mission.
Disposables likely “green”, figuring out how they want to pay for that.

-- What kind of profits are the owners expecting out of this? Can they live with no profits for the first 6 months and a strong chance of having to inject more money into the project? What if its 1 year?(sounds like you are just trying stuff so this will 100%happen, million dollar question right here)
They realize it’s an investment that will cost money in the roller skates and scooter phases. Projections reflect reality. I don’t sell rose-colored glasses: I’m known as “the bubble popper”.


-- What kind of food cost are you looking for? What kind of percentages are we looking at with rent, payroll, overhead, drink cost, taxes, etc etc etc.
Food cost is high, labor high, leveling a bit later w/sales volume. Paying good wages plus good benefits. Strong focus on costing and continual menu engineering is an absolute must in this startup recruitment. And continual communication about how and where mission and bottom line merge and diverge.
hey man. Again I don't wanna be mean but this post has the same issue as before.

It's huge and basically you told me 2 specific things. The place is 2400sqf and you are know as the bubble popper.
hard to give any advice without more info mate.

But 50% BOH
a lot for just a cafe but I guess the catering is factored in.
How much of this is storage for food? how much is an actual kitchen? are you gonna go hard on the catering side of things? Specialized equipment? will the cafe(25% including a counter) justify such big space used for BOH?

25% teaching kitchen
how much is this gonna be used? sounds like a lot of space that won't be generating revenue 24/7 I would rather have more seats for the main business tbh.

25% cafe

it won't be all seating area. how big will the counter be? you'll need tons of space for those smoothies and baked good that you have for sure. cutlery, register, etc, etc. There is not that much space left after all that you have what, maybe 30seats? will they be the main revenue generator? how much grab and go are you expecting? 50% what about the other times? any chance to have bar for after-hours(even less space for seating) or will the cafe generate enough revenue during the day to justify closing by 8pm or so daily?

As for the rest it sounds like a lot of fluff on how cool things will be.
Very little meat to sink our teeth into.

I realize you came to us looking for help on how to write a job description and we are very far away from that.
But since this is an everything kinda job you need to have alllllllllll the details crystal clear to make an accurate job description. And that's why we are here now.
 
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Joined Feb 24, 2017
Not worried about "mean", I appreciate the challenges and hope that somebody else working on concept can learn from all this accumulated wisdom down the line. And I'm not sharing anything a person couldn't see for themselves on a tour.

But 50% BOH
Design ship has sailed, construction begins. Fully functioning/high functioning/nothing specialized, just solid for every future purpose I can envision (from broad experience). Includes all food and other storage, tiny office, dish, storage for FOH (for stocking grab/go, etc.). FOH has some f/f and dry storage for smoothie and coffee stuff as well, and a "merch" wall. When I'm able to say more I'm happy to share pics.

25% teaching kitchen
A draft calendar is already full, and folks are starting to line up to use it for future teaching, both in person and online. It will be fully managed (with help from an adjacent department) and an integral tool of the larger concept. Can also be used for special events/catering.

25% cafe

Yeah, no bar : ) I WISH!

It is a smallish counter, hot and cold line, merchandiser. Focusing on a mix of:
  • grab/go
  • takeout (all the way out, or to adjacent seating) hot and cold food/smoothie/coffee/deli foods/baked goods (starting small, adding products as we learn)
  • in-house catering for building (with right of first refusal)
  • on-site events catering (staff and outsiders)
  • family meal/pre-order takeout options (plan to focus hard on this)
  • a couple of other things I can't talk about yet
There's plenty of seating in the "gallery" across from cafe, as well as outside dining space (most of the year, where we are) and a multipurpose room for catering.

This is all super helpful, glad you're having fun shooting it full of holes, truly I am!
 
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