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Burger Joint

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 

Hey Guys!


I dont know if I am suppose to be posting this thread here since I am not a Chef! I appologise but I did not know where else to post this. I've been planning on opening up a Fast Food Burger Joint. I've been doing alot of research on the internet/books, having said that I am a man who is very good with numbers and all the paperwork needed to manage a restaurant. I'd be glad if any one of you can share any of your experience with me...

post #2 of 42

You haven't really asked anything.  What information are you seeking?  Specific equipment, configurations, how to hire, etc?

 

Also, are you wanting to start a franchise of a big name chain or an indy shop? 

 

What is your point of differentiation?  I doubt you're going to beat the dollar menu, and price is what most of the burger wars are about these days.  In short, why should I buy your burger over the competition?  Until you can give a firm answer to that question, you should stop planning to open the restaurant.

 

By the way, "the nearest burger joint is 5 miles from my location" is actually good enough of an answer.  Convenience is very important in fast food.  I saw a public document from Jack In The Box (from their site I believe) showing that their target customer will only drive x miles out of the way to get their food.  I think it was 3 miles, but I could be wrong. 

post #3 of 42
Thread Starter 

Well, my main concern is how to project the sales in the initial start up? I mean I have an idea of the surrounding target market and what percentage of that population would come to my restaurant on a daily basis & how many burgers I need to sell to break-even. My Questions are:

 

1. Should I buy meat daily? Should I freeze the patties?

2. How much meat should I buy? Enough for a week? A month?

3. Is a walk in freezer really necessary? I am thinking of only having a walk-in refrigerator.

4. Are the automated two sided grills a nice investment?

 

I agree with your fact about a person driving within a 3 mile radius to buy take out food. I would guess a person would drive further for dine-in purposes. My menu will not beat the dollar menu and my main differentiation point besides the taste would be the different variants of burgers available around the globe.

post #4 of 42

It is almost impossible to project based on no previous location. I would bring in the minimum amount to open. As far as WI Freezer, a reach in may suffice it depends on your volume and how fast you can replenish product. I can tell you that everything yo prebuy and store is costing you money, as its your workable cash simply stored on the shelf. Good Luck to you, give a good product in a clean enviornment at a fair price and you will do ok.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #5 of 42

Last year it was a Pizza & Grill Restaurant, now its a Burger Joint. Your good with numbers and paper work, My opinion is get good with serving/cooking good food and offering excellent customer service then think about opening a Restaurant.....Anyone can count money, it takes talent to make it................ChefBillyB

post #6 of 42

You should ask your suppliers.  Sometimes you only get to have one delivery a week.  In that case you would probably have to get frozen patties.

post #7 of 42

Set yourself apart from your competitors.  Develop a great mix, grind your own meat daily, and hand-form your patties.  Close when you run out of meat.

 

BDL

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post #8 of 42
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone! Is a 36 inch grill good enough? Any one tried those automated two sided grills?

post #9 of 42

A 36" grill is plenty if you're cooking 5 burgers at a time.  a 36" grill is plenty if you're going to have one person tending the grill and he/she can only handle 36" and you're cooking one item only (all the same temp).  If you're going to need multiple cooking zones, then a 36" grill can get small pretty quickly, especially if it's your only cooking station.

 

As for the glamshell style grills (and I've only seen the griddles in a commercial environment), to get good transfer of heat, you have to have good contact between the heat source and the meat.  The only way to accomplish that is to have some "squeeze" on the meat. 

 

If your point of differentiation from the competitors is better food, then you have to make it better.  Shortcuts are how the big chains do it.  They figure out the science behind getting the best results with the fewest variations.  This does not mean the BEST results overall, just the best they can do, given the limitations they're willing to accept.  Heck, McDonald's turns out a pretty decent burger for something that's cooked, held, and nuked to order.  But is it truly the BEST they can do -- of course not.

 

You can't substitute a different patty in place of what McDonald's has now and come up with as good of a burger as you could make with the same patty using better techniques. 

 

Also, you're not going to be able to afford daily meat deliveries unless you do a killer business.  Most food suppliers won't "stop the truck" for less than a certain dollar order.  It may be as little as $250, or $400 plus.  I would also suggest that you may want to actually hold your meat for some period of time after seasoning but before grilling. 

post #10 of 42

Furgi.. In all fairness to you. You are good at numbers and paperwork, stick with that. Based on some of the questions you either are asking or not asking. Example those Automated 2 sided grills you are talking about are called Clamshells and are extremely expensive , I do not believe you have the experience or expertise for running any place from the back of the house scene. Stick to what you do best, numbers and paper. Again Good Luck

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #11 of 42

I think that a good reach-in freezer should be fine for you to start up with and down the road if you see that you are needing more space you can just purchase another reach-in.  At the cafe we started out with one chest freezer and by the time I left we had added a reach-in and  a smaller chest freezer as we needed the space.  What you get for start up in terms of food depends on your menu and the delivery schedule of your suppliers.  If it is weekly delivery then order what you think you will need for at a least two weeks at first because when you're new everyone wants to check out the new place. That could go on for a couple of months as word spreads about your place.   Make sure you're watching the levels of what you use and order accordingly every week.  Depending on where you are located you may be able to purchase your meat directly from a farmer and you will definitely be guaranteed the freshest possible meat and you can use that as a selling point.  I notice a huge difference in meat at home just by comparing what I get at the farmers market to what is available either through foodservice suppliers or the grocery store.  (and interestingly enough the same suppliers supply both restaurants and the grocery stores)

 

As for a grill.. I've never used an automated two sided one so I can't help you there.  Are you looking at a flat top or a charbroiler type of grill?  For me I would think in terms of how many burgers one can keep an eye on at one time and that most likely after the inital buzz of the opening you are going to have one person working the burger grill at any given time.  Food only cooks so fast and you can't send it out raw (or even half raw ), so having a larger grill is not going to help too much except in increasing your gas bill at the end of the month. 

 

Like BDL said, develop a great base mix,  grind your own meat if you can but definitely hand form your patties.  You can IQF them yourself if you want so that you always have them on hand but I rather like the idea of selling out at the end of each day and starting each day with a fresh batch of meat. 

 

Good luck to you with whatever you choose to do.

 

 

 

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post #12 of 42
Thread Starter 

Thanks alot guys! Your ideas and suggestions are preety much on PAR with what I was thinking needs to be done. I've a question for all the Professional Chefs; how does Corporations like Mcdonalds, KFC manage to keep their recipes a secret? Like both have locations all over the world and they use local supplies to produce the same tasting product then how is it possible for the recipes to be a secret?

post #13 of 42

they make everything at the corporate facility and then freeze it and send it out to their grill donkeys to defrost and give to Chef Mike for a minute before serving. You don't really mention where your opening this place, so I'm gonna say that if you have the availability of a local butcher, you should try to utilize that. I think you could market a huge crowd by advertising 1. Fresh meat daily, as you could get it from the butcher in the mornings, and 2. advertise for/ with the butcher. His following will eat your burgers because they know where it came from and he will probably give you a deal for the free advertising.  

post #14 of 42

"Secret recipies" rank up there with Nigerean "invest schemes" and time share condos.  True, Mickey D's invested big bucks and was the first one to invent "meat glue" to make the chix nuggets, but most of the "secrets" are just production techniques and specialized equipment.  Read the labels--ingredients and nutritional value, and you can pretty much guess the "recipie". Mickey D's, for example has a 200 page contract with their meat suppliers as to what exactly goes into a burger and how it should be processed, and the Colonel has the same thing with his chicken.

 

 

Whatchayaneed is a business plan.  You can make a buck by selling $3.00 burgers (made from meat, "mechanically deboned meat", soy protein, and binders) OR you can make a buck by selling $9.00 burgers with "Bragging rights" to local meat suppliers, local bakery, and fresh potatoes cut in-house and fried right there.

 

I really wouldn't sweat about equipment right now.  First a business plan, then finding the funds, then finding a property--invest as much time as possible before signing a lease, then infrastructure, and then finally equipment. 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #15 of 42

I saw the "secret recipe" for KFC discussed on one of the food shows.  They have two companies each mix half the ingredients, then the two are mixed together.  So, in theory, no one knows the ingredients and amounts. 

 

For most products, they have to list the actual ingredients, but for some reason, "spices" are allowed to be listed instead of the actual spices.

post #16 of 42
Thread Starter 

Yeah Lopez Foods in Oklahoma processes Mickey D's burgers. What do you guys think is better though a base mix or adding seasoning to the burgers after? and why are you guys emphasizing so much on hand formed patties?

post #17 of 42

Hand formed patties = homemade burger mix = not the chance of frozen prefab burgers.  Alot of burger joints get their burgers trucked in by a supplier and charge a premium rate for them.  I'm not sure if Lick's is in the US but at first their "homeburgers" were just that.. hand formed burgers made from scratch.. now they are frozen prefab and you can buy them in the supermarket.  Sorry but if I go out to a reastaurant and order a burger and fries for upwards of $12 I want a homemade hand formed burger.. not something that Bob pulled out of a box and pitched onto his grill.  If I want that, there are plenty of mc d's, burger kings, wendy's and harvey's around. 

 

Foodpump is right... before you get into the specifics of equipment etc you need a business plan and with that a menu and a focus.  What is your focus going to be?  How are you going to be different from the other guy?  Is it going to be that you offer a huge variety of seasonings in your burger mixes.. like maybe curry, or Italian or a Greek influence or do you plan to offer chicken and turkey bugers as well?  You can do an amazing homemade vegetable burger using seasonal veggies that will get the vegetarians in your area interested. 

 

KFC and all of the other big chain places have a central plant that processes their stuff for every area they are located in.  That's how chains work.  I'm currently at a chain place and while we do make alot onsite we have a few items trucked in that are  key to the menu and have to be the same at every location.   That's what ya get when you work at a chain.. but I work daytime hours so I'm happy! 

 

Hope this helps

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post #18 of 42

When I suggested doing your own mix, I wasn't referring to seasonings but to meat -- e.g,, 40% chuck / 30% roll / 30% round, and 80% meat / 20% fat.  Getting the right mix is not easy.  If you want to have a butcher grind and deliver, that can be easier or more difficult.  It depends on how lucky you are with both the mix and the butcher.

 

As a rule, don't season the meat until it's ready to go on the grill. 

 

The easiest way to wreck hamburger is to overwork or overwork them.  Hand formed is better than pressed, because pressed hamburgers are too dense.  For a really good burger, you want the meat to be firm enough to hold together as a patty, but otherwise as fluffy as possible. 

 

It all depends on what you want to serve.  If you want your hamburgers to be like everyone else's, make them like everyone else's.  If you want yours to be better, you'll have to make them better.  If you're happy serving pre-formed, frozen patties, with an off the shelf spice blend -- that's up to you, too. 

 

If you don't understand why quality is important -- beyond its ability to make money or set you apart -- I can't explain.

 

BDL

 

  


Edited by boar_d_laze - 9/17/10 at 10:27pm
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post #19 of 42

when you say "fast food" i'm.. guessing you mean low price....if however, your thinking up-scale like Island Burger(NYC) or FIVE GUYS(chain) may i suggest you try FARMLANDS ANGUS frozen patties.....having never used a frozen burger since1970.....i got a case by mistake about 11 years ago.....what got my attention was DO NOT THAW OUT on the box....these were 1/2 # patties...long-short story...been using ever since...a little pricey,about a buck50 a pc.   they will however beat a 1/2# thawed burger in cooking time..really! and juicy!  they sell around here for 6.50-8.50 without fries.....did i mention NO WASTE? ever.  

post #20 of 42

Why fresh hand formed patty. 1. No added water  2 when not compressed patty will be more tender. 3. you can't judge how good meat is when it is frozen either by sight, touch or smell. Even if you hand make the more you work it in your hand the tougher it will get. Danny Meyer(of Union Square Cafe Fame) opened a burger place in Central Park in NY was voted by Zaget as best place in NY. No frozen all hand done. Pure Quality uses beef from 3 sources of cow.for  balance.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #21 of 42
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys! Great info I will keep you all updated with pics and what not. How do you gyus feel about used equipments like grill and fryer? What do you guys think is the best temp for the grill to be at to cook the patty? and do you think holding cabinets are a good idea for patties ?

post #22 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by furqi View Post

... and do you think holding cabinets are a good idea for patties ?


IMHO, NO!

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
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post #23 of 42


How do you guys feel about used equipments like grill and fryer?

Great if it works.

 

What do you guys think is the best temp for the grill to be at to cook the patty?

Depends if it's a char grill or a flat top.  I like char grills hotter.  The actual ideal temperatures will depend on what kind of beef and how thick your patties are.  You're going to have to do some experimenting.  You'll probably like a char-grill at around 400F and a flat top at around 350F.  Ish. 

 

And do you think holding cabinets are a good idea for patties ?

Not if you have a soul.

 

BDL

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post #24 of 42
Thread Starter 


 

 

And do you think holding cabinets are a good idea for patties ?

Not if you have a soul.

 

BDL


LOL! For some of you who have asked the location is in Toronto, Canada and I am thinking of using a Ground Chuck of 80/20. I would only sell well done burgers.
 

post #25 of 42

Again. stick to numbers and paperwork  !!!!

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #26 of 42

A long time ago there was a restaurant near Bloor and Bathurst in TO called Foodworks on Bloor.  They were basically a burger joint, but it was on the upscale side.  This was back before anyone was concerned about ecoli in undercooked ground meat and you could actually order a medium rare burger.  Nowadays burgers have to be well cooked and if anyone is serving less than well cooked burgers I suspect the health inspector will have alot to say about that. 

 

Where are you planning to open in Toronto? 

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post #27 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by furqi View Post


 


LOL! For some of you who have asked the location is in Toronto, Canada and I am thinking of using a Ground Chuck of 80/20. I would only sell well done burgers.
 

If your restaurant is serving "Only well done burgers" I'll order mine Done well instead. Listen to Ed, he will save you 100K the first year alone...........ChefBillyB

post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Buchanan View Post

Again. stick to numbers and paperwork  !!!!


DITTO, DITTO, DITTO...don't do it bro...you are not ready.....maybe go work for someone who is doing this before you jump into that frypan....

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #29 of 42

Furqi,

 

Can you do me a favor and describe your ideal of the hamburger stand you'd like to open? 

 

Limit yourself to food, service and clientele.  Don't worry about volume or any of the money aspects for now.

 

BDL

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post #30 of 42

If he only sells well done burgers , he will sell about 100 before he closes... FOR GOOD

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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