Is this concept unfailable?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by Chef Lowery, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. Chef Lowery

    Chef Lowery

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Head chef
    Is this concept unfailable? I have a "dream' opportunity on my hands. Ive been offered and accepted the head chef position at the icehouse bar. It will now be bar and grill! Im tasked with the beginnings. No staff just me. Untrained bar service crew. We already have a customer base and are doing catering and events. The money is already there to be made. This cant fail. I have to cover my bases and make sure this is successful. It is my dream. Any advice guys? As a culinary professional I've vowed to stay teachable, a characteristic that i feel has helped bring me where i am. I'm open to any positive input, and appreciate it. Thank you.
     
  2. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

    Messages:
    357
    Likes Received:
    195
    Exp:
    Retired Owner/Operator
    Hi Chef Lowery and welcome to CT. :)

    Nothing in this business is unfailable. Having said that, without any specific details about your business, its hard to give any advice.
     
    pete likes this.
  3. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,301
    Likes Received:
    879
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I agree, without more information its hard to give advice, but with what you have said so far, I'd say that this place is far from unfailable. Only you in the kitchen right now? Untrained bar staff? Sounds like a lot of work to make the place successful and there is a ton of work to do to lower the risk. But even then there are a million outside factors that can cause your place to fail. Not to be a downer, but you need to look at this realistically. Claiming, at the onset that this place is "unfailable" is going to hurt you. You need to constantly be on the lookout for how it can fail and do everything in power to fix those problems. The sad statistic is that over 70% of all restaurants fail so realize that you are fighting an uphill battle. One a positive note, that battle can be won, but it will take a ton of work and vigilance.
     
    Chef Lowery and flipflopgirl like this.
  4. Chef Lowery

    Chef Lowery

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Head chef
    I understand that anything is possible here. The fact that i already have a customer base that will be eating there on a regular basis is seemingly the "unfailable" concept i was referring too. The specific issues im having currently are numerous. Including untrained staff for food service, menu planning, sourcing ingredients, organizational. Basically I've got to start slow, limited, simple, menu to start the staff off with. I dont have any additional help in the kitchen and that is burdensome as well. I just wanted to see what you guys out here thought, like i previously said, im always open to criticism and advice.
     
  5. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

    Messages:
    357
    Likes Received:
    195
    Exp:
    Retired Owner/Operator
    Its a great start to already have a clientele base. However, everything you just described can very easily destroy that base, especially untrained wait staff. Hence, nothing is unfailable.

    So, what I would suggest is beginning by getting the broad strokes taken care of first by order of priority. If it were me, I would start with food sourcing, menu planning and staff training, in that order. I would not open my doors until #1 and #2 were taken care of. Staff training can be taken care of on the job, if necessary. Ideally, however, I would want at least one or two experienced people in the FOH keeping an eye on it and training the inexperienced staff. That means you may have to make some hard decisions with respect to your wait staff in order to get one or two people with experience working for you.

    Come up with a small, easily made but good menu that you can execute alone until you get some people in the BOH. Do not go crazy trying to come up fancy menu items. That comes later. Finding experienced kitchen help should be the next order of business. Once you get your sea legs so to speak, then, you can start gradually expanding the menu and doing "your thing."

    The main focus here is be exceptionally realistic. Don't overstep your capabilities and keep it simple.

    You are most likely going to be operating under these conditions for a year, maybe more, depending on how you operate. So, be patient. The worst and most common mistake I see new owners/managers do is over estimate where they are in the development process and over extend themselves.

    Good luck. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
    Chef Lowery likes this.
  6. Chef Lowery

    Chef Lowery

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Head chef
    Fantastic! Thank you so much for that. I will totally heed your advice. I cant wait to be capable of doing some more complex dishes but for now you are correct. Simple yet perfect is the way to start. I really do appreciate your time and thought in this response. Much respect. Thank you
     
  7. gddolan

    gddolan

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    3
    Exp:
    retired restaurant manager/kitchen manager
    I agree completely with virgil about the broadstrokes first. I was tasked with a ground up start 20 years ago and had I been able to work in that order the genesis would have been much less painful. If you look first at food sourcing and menu planning based on what your current facility and staff of one can handle, paired with the experience you have from whatever catering and event work you're doing, you can start with a foundation that's executable within your means without having to rely to heavily on untested personnel during the learning curve. Better a small menu that introduces your new service without ever disappointing than getting fancy too early and losing customers due to subpar throughput. The menu will dictate the level of staff experience you need to support the operation at startup. Front of house staff is very easy to acquire, but it's not always easy to match the available bodies to your vision of how the customer interaction experience will proceed. You will be well served having someone you can rely who has the tie and expertise to monitor the flow at the front of house for you while your responsibilities keep you running the line. Be on the same page with someone who can give you feedback about how the front of the house is managing/presenting/attending to the culinary needs of the operation as they develop, and address expansions to the menu gradual as you perfect your process.
     
  8. Chef Lowery

    Chef Lowery

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Head chef
    I am extraordinarily appreciative of the helpful input I've received in this forum. I thank you for your input and will carefully consider everything you have suggested, especially since you've been through all these obstacles before. Hopefully and prayerfully a few months down the road I'll be posting a thread about our success and potential menu specials. Thanks again, especially for your time, and thought.
     
  9. capecodchef

    capecodchef

    Messages:
    274
    Likes Received:
    42
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Avoid signing any personal guarantees . Devil's in the details on the business side. On the hospitality side, surround yourself with good people front and back. You can't train bad people to become good people, but you can train good people to become great workers and team members. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
    Chef Lowery likes this.
  10. chefsing

    chefsing

    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    17
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Nothing in life is guaranteed, and if you have to ask the question then yes- there are circumstances that could make it fail. There can be many ups and downs and bruises in a new venture. If you stick with working hard and staying open minded and look and solve problems before they occur then you will find your success. Good luck on your adventure,
     
    Chef Lowery and capecodchef like this.
  11. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,453
    Likes Received:
    409
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    Food service re bar and grills is fairly simple depending on how laid back the place is.
    I advise figuring out which of those waitstaff is most on the ball and teach that person first then task them with whipping the rest into shape.
    That takes care of the FOH easy peasey.....

    mimi
     
    Chef Lowery likes this.
  12. Chef Lowery

    Chef Lowery

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Exp:
    Head chef
    Thank you for your positive feedback.