Inside a Culinary Chef Grand Opening
Opening a restaurant is always dream made reality for culinary chefs, and especially for the visionsaries behind the scenes. The general public may only know of new restaurant openings through the newspaper or gossip from friends, however, they are rarely never to realize how much planning and work it takes to open a restaurant. Here are some insights about the process of opening a restaurant.
Partnership: Building Business Relationships
There is typically more than one proprietor when opening a restaurant; they may be silent or involved in many of the operations. As a culinary chef, opening a restaurant, you have to decide on the type of partnership that best suits your and needs as a chef. You and your partners should each bring a unique quality to the table, to share equity in restaurants built.
The Vision: Shaping Your Restaurant
Before opening a restaurant, someone has a vision for a particular space, style and design of food. The restaurant is a unique market place that ties in the 'arts' with artistic high-end cuisine. Although, initially the vision may be vague, but with brainstorming between partners you will be able to find the exact theme and status you are looking for.
The Space: Merging Vision and Design
For instance, if your restaurant is going to be high profile, you need a very unique space. Finding the perfect space for opening your restaurant will bring out the inner business in all of you. Take time to plan and research before deciding on your prime location.
In addition to the restaurant seating, a good idea is set aside a banquet room. This can give your restaurant a competitive edge while maintaining a high-end class value. Banquet space for private events provides a high profit margin as well, which allows your restaurant to be diverse, upscale and having the ability to host large parties. Aesthetically, including partitions in your restaurant adds more flexibility and room for your patrons. I've seen restaurants where the designers incorporated a mezzanine level to help keep the vision of 'the arts' in balance. It's all about bringing the vision with the space with the execution of your concept!
The Menu: Every Restaurant's Foundation
The menu is both the easiest and most difficult part of opening a restaurant. Although, the first menu is never the one that make the grand opening, as a chef you must never let your ego stand in the way of creativity. A draft menu allows you to focus on several areas:
o Kitchen setup. Design the kitchen and plan how many stations you need to execute the menu.
o Labor. Lets you to predict the labor costs, number of employees, and staffing.
o Food costs. Helps estimate general food costs.
o China. Allows you to focus on the particular pieces for each dish. The typical restaurant has approximately 5 pieces.
o Table turn. Anticipate what an average dinner will be based on how many dishes are to be served.
o Fixed Costs.
o Salary for labor; typically management
o Variable Costs. You also have to plan for variable costs, which require more flexibility. Once the restaurant is open and running, these numbers become more stable
o Hourly labor
o Payroll taxes
Public Relations: Build a Buzz
Even though your opening restaurant is mainly chef driving, you want to play off the 'arts' and how people flock to trends. Ultimately people will be coming to your restaurant for the cuisine but it does not hurt to build a little hype along the way. Start a blog online, it's fast easy and FREE. You can include topic trends such as:
o Creative team insights
o Insights on the test kitchen
o Exposure to the creative processes
o Interview with the designer and or chef
o Photos and video feeds
Be ready to give the media answers to as many questions as possible. Have a Media Kit ready, prepared and featured online. I hope that this general overview of just some of the creative process that goes into opening a restaurant helps you a bit. It takes a whole lot more than just being a good chef to open a restaurant. It takes time, patience, passion and teamwork to accomplishing the dream of opening a restaurant. Most importantly, opening a restaurant or some also means running a business, both most run smoothly together to be successful.