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A question to all chefs out there!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Just like to start with, all help is appreciated and look forward to talking with you all!

Basically, I am a business development manager, I have been working in marketing and management for a number of years. I currently live in a town in the UK which is still quite traditional. There are a few major retail shops etc. It is still a quirky little place that has shops that are quite unique, which to be honest I don't know how they survive.

At the moment, theres a new hotel opening which is great for the local business. However they are not serving breakfast or any sort of resturant type place. There are places to let outside, which they want private cafe's and resturants to open up. I am very interested in opening a small cafe up. However, to keep with the standards and the unique quirky town, I decided I need something a bit more than just a cafe.

As I am a enthusiast in food, I spend a lot of time cooking. My most favourite thing to make and the most easiest food to make in the morning... Pancakes!

I am interesting to make a pancake house! I have got great ways to promote this and after currently doing a recent survey in town, a pancake house would be fantastic. The people love the idea of nice cheap quick food but quality is what I am looking for! Obviously we will do more then just pancakes (fry ups, bacon rolls etc). However, pancakes will be the selling point.

Now I have interest from investors willing to put money into this, but I need to make a business plan. Now to do this, I need to get as much research as possible. Mainly in regards to money and financing. Now I am obviously looking for a chef to work there, I won't be cooking myself.

Questions I really need answering from chefs are:

How many pancakes should a chef be able to make per hour?

 

What is the best process for a mass batch of pancakes? (Can pancake batter last? Can pancake batter be made by the gallons?)

 

How much gram of flour and milk is used for pancakes? (I normally do 3 tablespoon to 1 egg...?)

 

Business wise..

 

What sort of insurance will I need for the kitchen? (Does public liability cover potential food poisoning law suits? Hope to not get any...) What regulations and certificates will I need to register my kitchen to use? Is there any sort of food regulations certificates I will need to register for?

 

 

Can I just say that I am only right at the start of this, never opened a kitchen before, so this is new to me. However, I will thoroughly do this research before I continue.


 


Edited by Meg Clarkson - 10/28/11 at 4:18am
post #2 of 16

Oh boy, you have a lot of work ahead of you.

 

Most places here have a liability insuranance of 2 million CDN$, plus the regular contents/fire/robbery.

 

Pancakes per hour?  What size? How large a griddle is being used?

 

Many, many recipies for pancakes, some yeast risen, some with buttermilk.  If you're going to charge a decent price don't use a commericial prodcut.  Now is the time to start experimenting, make them at home until your family threatens to leave....

 

You can and should do waffles too, similiar batter, higher sales price.

 

You will have to study what your local municipality will want in terms of infrastructure.  You will in all likelyhood need a ventilation system and fire supression system, a grease trap/interceptor, handsinks, washroooms, not to mention regular equipment like refrigeration, griddles, work tables, etc.

 

I don't know what kind of regulations are needed to open a restaurant in the U.K., in N.A. all you need is money and to pass the health inspection and city inspection.

 

A pancake/breakfast place usually does very well, it is a good concept.

 

Hope this helps

...."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 #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice.

Just started looking at various recipies. Im thinking of a large pancakes of this size http://imworld.aufeminin.com/manage/bloc/D20110304/how-to-make-pancakes-121502_L.jpg

and small american pancakes like http://akosiisko.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/pancakes-reality.jpg

Basically I need to work out how much would it cost per pancake, and how many of these can I make per hour.

Thank you for the idea of waffles. That sounds great. I will look into that. How many waffles can be made in an hour.

I basically need to know how much money can I be earning per hour. The cafe realistically need to be earning £70-£80 per hour.

I will look what regulations there are for the UK.


Thanks again!



 

post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Clarkson View Post

... The cafe realistically need to be earning £70-£80 per hour.

Translates to USD112-USD130 or Euro 80-Euro 90

 

Is that gross or net?

 

How many hours/day, two, three, eight? There is a BIG difference! Don't forget the prep and cleanup hours. It is far better to figure the gross, and net, on a per day basis.

Say you are selling what, 8 hours per day, your labor costs will be for 10-12 hours, food costs will be per serving, and overhead will be per month.

 

 

For me, there are three components: food costs, labor, and overhead, that need to be considered. Food costs and labor are fairly straight forward, overhead not so straightforward.

 

What does your Chef or BOH manager say? 

 

You need your Chef to develop the menu and cost it out, that will give you the food and BOH labor costs and a good indication of the FOH labor requirements.

 

Add on the rent(mortgage), insurance, license(s), utilities, equipment lease (or amortized purchase), and 20% for forgotten items and that will give you your overhead costs.

 

Set your menu prices and quantities and see if the market will support your prices.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all this! Really appreciate it.

£70-£80 is gross profit. This will cover wages, rent, dividends, Insurance, bills etc.

Food I have no idea of the price yet, as I am yet to work out how much it will cost for ingredients. Thanks for the idea of getting the chef to do it. At the moment I have no chef as I am just researching if this is worth it. My brother however is a professional chef, so I can get some help from him.

 

Because of the cafe being open outside a hotel (that doesn't serve breakfast). I will be the major breakfast server for them. This means I will be open from 8am but won't shut till 7pm (for anyone wanting something for dinner or just a cup of tea). So 11 hour day except sunday which will be 9am-4pm which is 7 hours. Really I need £750 per day, Except sundays, which I will be looking for around £400, A weekly intake of around £4,500 to £5000 gross.

Also to highlight, we will serve fry ups aswell, just were using pancakes as a USP (who doesn't like pancakes) also it suits well with the quirky town. I'm hoping on average a person will spend between £3-£5 (around 14-24 people per hour).

 

I am yet to complete some market research in my town, finding out what sort of prices people will pay for pancakes!

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Clarkson View Post


£70-£80 is gross profit. This will cover wages, rent, dividends, Insurance, bills etc.
 

Clarification please, gross profit (gross sales less cost of food) or gross sales?

 

Quote:

Because of the cafe being open outside a hotel (that doesn't serve breakfast). I will be the major breakfast server for them. This means I will be open from 8am but won't shut till 7pm (for anyone wanting something for dinner or just a cup of tea). So 11 hour day except sunday which will be 9am-4pm which is 7 hours. Really I need £750 per day, Except sundays, which I will be looking for around £400, A weekly intake of around £4,500 to £5000 gross.


Also to highlight, we will serve fry ups aswell, just were using pancakes as a USP (who doesn't like pancakes) also it suits well with the quirky town. I'm hoping on average a person will spend between £3-£5 (around 14-24 people per hour).

 

I am yet to complete some market research in my town, finding out what sort of prices people will pay for pancakes!

Well, my first thought is that you will not have customers continuously for 11 hours. Though the last time I was in the UK, aside from transiting through Heathrow, was 1958, I presume meal times are somewhat similar to the US, Breakfast 8 am-10 am (though I'd probably open earlier, say 6:30-7 am), Lunch 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, Tea 3 pm to 4:00 pm, Dinner 6 pm to 9 pm. So, you might have 8 hours of sales total at the outside, more likely, I'm guessing 6 hours as tea and dinner are liable to be light. That means you need to average £95 to £125 per sales hour for £750/day. Using your target £3-5 per person, you're looking at an average of 25 to 30 persons per sales hour.

 

Statistically, successful restaurants keep their labor costs in the neighborhood of 30% of sales. If your gross sales target is correct, £750, that give you £225 per day for labor. Using the above hours, 8 am to 9 pm = 13 hours, and assuming no split shifts, you have to keep labor costs under £17.3 per hour, including payroll benefits and burdens. I've no idea what wage rates are but I'm guessing that might cover what, two people?

 

Before going much farther, I think you'd better talk with your brother, nail down a menu, and come up with a realistic potential sales estimate based on your market research and recognize that there is a big difference between sales hours and labor hours, probably on the order of 1:2 respectively.

 

Food costs for pancakes/waffles should be low enough that you might squeeze some more labor money but I wouldn't count on it.

 

BTW, with the right kitchen setup, one cook can probably handle 30-60 pancake orders per hour, waffles, depending on equipment, 15-30.

 

I know you're just at the feasibility stage, however, I strongly encourage you to to lower your sales projections and up your estimated costs, if it still makes sense, go for it!

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks alot Pete!

 

I mean gross profit. I need £70-£80 (on average) per hour, to make around £750 per day. Then minus food cost and labour.

I will describe my line of thinking.

£4,500 per week + 4 Weeks a month = £18,000

 

Now running this as a family business, I have worked out that really, 8k will go towards wages per month. This will be on the basis of most of the family working an 8 hour shift.

The evenings, when it might start winding down, I am going to employ a couple school leavers, who I can pay minimum wage (£5 per hour) to just do 3 hours in the evening. 

However, I might figure these costs on the basis of 30% like you said.

 

Regards to times, I thought that I won't always get the amount I need. Although, like you said, my main times will be breakfast and hopefully getting the hotel stayers (100-150) which is around 50% of the hotel, at my £3-£5, I'm looking at £300-£500 in the morning. Lunch will be quite big hit aswell. Inbetween maybe just mums and old pensioners looking for a cup of tea somewhere. The only other thing is evenings when people need something to eat and don't want to spend loads of money at a resturant.

Also we will have promotions and that to attract customers. Also people on business trips, might rather come and use the cafe's wifi and have a cup of tea rather than sitting in their boring hotel room. Also we have ideas in doing milkshakes and smoothies, so school kids will love to come in after school to get one.

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

Oh and can I add, we are also going to offer a take away service for pancakes. If people need to get somewhere, they can order a tea or coffee with a pancake to go.

post #9 of 16

You mentioned there are several places to rent in the area for other restaurants and cafés. Don't forget to take into account that you will probably have to share the hotel customers with several competitors, hence making 300-500 pounds every morning could turn out to be a bit optimistic. Just my 2 cents.

post #10 of 16

You are taking on quite a bit for someone withno restaurant experience . Marketing indeed is part of a restaurant make up but then so are a lot of other factors. As far as your statement of "nice cheap quality food"  There is no such thing. If you buy cheap food, you wind up with a cheap final product, you get what you pay for.. Want to make money and develop your business. Charge a fair price, give a better end product then anyone else.and kill them with service which cost little. I am not going to tell you a lot of things, Pete has covered many of the things I would tell you. Breakfast traditionally here in the states is the most profitable meal. My suggestion would be start with breakfast and a limited lunch meny . When you get all the kinks of that all ironed out then you should open for dinner. Take out is a must as that is gravy. Go about this at a slow pace and learn  from the daily operation. Remember you have a boss even though you are the owner. The boss is the front door.   Good Luck to you and keep it high quality yet simple. Also hireing  all family could wind up being  big problems  and headaches..

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 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by colombochute View Post

You mentioned there are several places to rent in the area for other restaurants and cafés. Don't forget to take into account that you will probably have to share the hotel customers with several competitors, hence making 300-500 pounds every morning could turn out to be a bit optimistic. Just my 2 cents.

 

Thanks for the input. Yeah there are several places in the main town, but outside of hotel there are 2 places to let. They have just been built and is attached to the hotel, one is bigger than the other which I presume would be more of a resturant/bar. I am an optimistic, however I am aware that this could not happen, It's just a guide line that in the morning I can potentially be earning half my day wage. I do keep reiterating the point that this is a quirky town, and this type of cafe would probably do well for where it is. So not only will hotel stayers come, but members of public will come and get something before work etc. Plus if I'm established as a breakfast bar/cafe, I am hoping when a resturant opens next door, they won't want to compete with me on breakfast. However, what do you think I should be getting in the morning?

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

You are taking on quite a bit for someone withno restaurant experience . Marketing indeed is part of a restaurant make up but then so are a lot of other factors. As far as your statement of "nice cheap quality food"  There is no such thing. If you buy cheap food, you wind up with a cheap final product, you get what you pay for.. Want to make money and develop your business. Charge a fair price, give a better end product then anyone else.and kill them with service which cost little. I am not going to tell you a lot of things, Pete has covered many of the things I would tell you. Breakfast traditionally here in the states is the most profitable meal. My suggestion would be start with breakfast and a limited lunch meny . When you get all the kinks of that all ironed out then you should open for dinner. Take out is a must as that is gravy. Go about this at a slow pace and learn  from the daily operation. Remember you have a boss even though you are the owner. The boss is the front door.   Good Luck to you and keep it high quality yet simple. Also hireing  all family could wind up being  big problems  and headaches..


Thanks chefedb! I know I'm taking on a big task, this is what I love doing though. I take business that I don't know and learn it which is what I am trying to do now! Nice cheap quality food... What I meant is, I would be doing quality food like you basically said. However, I will be cheaper than everywhere else because your buying a pancake. I mean how much is a pancake really. Not like your buying a three course meal. Thankyou for your idea of a lunch menu etc. I will definately look into that. Sound advice about the family staff, I am only employing my brother, and then 2 members out of the family of my business partner. Other than that, mainly school leavers.

 

post #12 of 16
Quote:

Originally Posted by Meg Clarkson View Post

... So not only will hotel stayers come, but members of public will come and get something before work etc.

If you are targeting that trade, you'd better plan on opening for service at least an hour, if not an hour and a half, before the normal workday starts. Add on to that at least another hour for prep. So, if the normal workday starts at 8 am, you should open for service by 7 am, or even better, 6-6:30 am, that means the kitchen crew should be up and running by 5-5:30 am. Your local trade will be over by 7:45, except for some "grab 'n go", and your hotel trade will probably drop off by 9 am.

 

When setting your breakfast menu, make sure to include some options besides pancakes/waffles, some, especially tourists, will probably want an "English Breakfast" while others will probably want some type of breakfast meat, i.e. bacon, sausage, etc., which requires some prep, as well as, probably, eggs. You might consider offering a Continental Breakfast as well, you know, rolls, pastries, jam.

 

From 9 am to about 11:30, your sales will be next to nil, an occasional coffee/tea, maybe a Continental or two. Kitchen crew will be cleaning up and prepping for lunch.

 

Depending on the typical "lunch hour", probably 75% of your lunch trade will occur within a single hour with the remaining 25% split for the half hour before and after, otherwise, you're back to tea/coffee and maybe finger sandwiches.

 

To start with, I'd plan on closing the doors around 3-4 pm, maybe slightly earlier. With a two hour cleanup, that still makes a 12-14 hour day, probably necessitating two shifts, definitely split shifts for FOH.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #13 of 16

Another item to consider is a gimmick one that no one else has Like a Panwich  2 maple flavored pancakes with ham or bacon in between that can be eaten like a sandwich .

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...

Reply

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 #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Clarkson View Post

 

Thanks for the input. Yeah there are several places in the main town, but outside of hotel there are 2 places to let. They have just been built and is attached to the hotel, one is bigger than the other which I presume would be more of a resturant/bar. I am an optimistic, however I am aware that this could not happen, It's just a guide line that in the morning I can potentially be earning half my day wage. I do keep reiterating the point that this is a quirky town, and this type of cafe would probably do well for where it is. So not only will hotel stayers come, but members of public will come and get something before work etc. Plus if I'm established as a breakfast bar/cafe, I am hoping when a resturant opens next door, they won't want to compete with me on breakfast. However, what do you think I should be getting in the morning?

 


Always difficult to make this kind of assumptions. A good way to go around this problem would be for you to built 3 different scenarios in which the variable would be the number of customers, and derive a different Profit and loss analysis for each of these scenario. One of these scenarios would be your "base case" (the one you believe is the most likely), another one your "best case", and the last one your "worst case". This way, you will get an idea of how much your profitability could vary with the number of customers and of how risky is your project.

post #15 of 16

Colombochute has a great point!

 

Sometimes called a sensitivity analysis. Ypu might want to take a look at a SWOT Analysis as well

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

All these suggestions have been great. A typical working cafe is 8am-5:30pm. I will probably start with this and then work up to staying open a bit later things go well.

I have already looked at the risks and still undergoing some of the risk assesments when it comes to financing.

 

I will probably complete a SWOT analysis. I have done these on many occasions.

Let me just give you some more information and let me know what you think. The town I live in, is the most up market town of the whole county. House prices are the highest etc. Well, when I had a kind of focus group. A lot of the response was "I love pancakes, I would definately come." Some where saying they would come more than once a week. Which is a great response, but it made sense when people said they would pay £3-£3.50 on average for a pancake. If it is the rich place of the county, people wouldn't mind paying the cash.

 

£3 is more than I anticipated for a pancake to be honest. I can now look at selling food at a higer sale price then I originally thought. So now, £3 + drink (£1-£2) = £4-£5. This means I might be looking at £4-£6 per person. Inbetween breakfast and lunch, Hopefully, I will get a regular amount of customers for tea's and coffee's. Plus saturday would be a great day for sales. So I might be able to profit more on saturday for any days, I may have lost.

Potentially this works. However, theres a long way before I can start like you said.

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