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Your advice- possible start up- be kind please- kitchen virgin-with big ideas....

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I apologize in advance for knowing NOTHING...however, my partner and I are considering starting a small... seasonal....bar-grill. GREAT location, on the water. Zoned commercial....currently rental house.....outdoor seating on deck, with boat access, docks....walking distance to small resort town in midwest. IF we developed a menu that was one even a monkey could do....and IF we could get it done using an outdoor grill, and a steamer...would we still be forced to have a commercial kitchen per say? with ventilation systems ...etc? If we served simple bar type food items...example....steamed shrimp,things that could be made in a steamer..... or on an outdoor grill.... do you believe we could come up with an attractive menu and avoid huge start up costs? Any and all thoughts will be greatly appreciated

post #2 of 18

Step one: Contact your local fire department for ventilation requirements

 

Step two: Contact your local health department for health & safety requirements

 

Step three: Contact your local building/planning department for restaurants in a commercial zone requirements (not all commercial zones are the same)

 

Step four: Contact your local business licensing authority for business license(s)

 

Step five: Contact your sales tax authority, generally the State, to get your resellers permit

 

Steo six: Contact the nearest mental health facility to arrange for an immediate evaluation and potential commitment crazy.gif because even contemplating something on this order raises questions laser.gifas to your mental stability!
 

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
Reply
post #3 of 18

Why not start with step six and forget about the rest thumb.gif !

Every smoker quits smoking sooner or later!

Only the smart ones are doing it while they are still alive.

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Every smoker quits smoking sooner or later!

Only the smart ones are doing it while they are still alive.

Reply
post #4 of 18

I REALLY hate to rain on people's parades, but I feel I would be doing you a disservice if I didn't at least warn you that the restaurant/bar industry is totally different from other types of businesses and unless you open up knowing exactly what you are doing, the odds of you being able to keep the doors open are not good at all.   Its a great industry, but you need to get someone on your team that knows the ins and outs of the business if you really plan to do this.

 

 

Best of luck!

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank You for the response... we appreciate it very much. Yes...we have made some inquiries regarding some of the permits, license, etc. We have been in touch with an attorney to help us sort through some of that, and to help guide us through the process involved  in applying for a license, etc

 

We agree we may need to take a closer look at our mental health, however.... we are fully aware that we are crazy, this is just further evidence to confirm the obvious. .LOL we also believe you must be a bit crazy to be in the business, so this may actually be a plus!

 

 We are very aware of how big of a challenge it will be to run a successful bar and grill. We know we will never have a day off, will be sleep deprived, and will face new challenges everyday....we certainly won't get bored! LOL

 

Exactly why we are trying to put something in place that is simple....we are working on the popular  K.I.S.S plan . (keep it simple stupid) Trying to develop a menu that will be almost fool proof, trying to make the room for error margin as small as possible....working with a grill...outside, we hope to get away with very little big commercial kitchen equipment.....we wish to have a steamer...hey!  we  see the walmart employees can steam lobster and crab to perfection.....press the correct button on the steamer and all is well it appears...we figure with a little guidance we too can get it right! LOL maybe.....  any further insight you may wish to share would certanly be appreciated...Thank You again      

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank You for the reply. Yes, we agree with you.... and know our limitations. We intend to hire an expert to help with the kitchen design and set up. It is a bit early to do at this point, we are negotiating on the property currently. As soon as we have that secured, we will hire the expert to assist us . Of course we want to have as much info as possible before we do hire a professional consultant, at least enough to help us express to him/her what we hope to accomplish. We  hope we may be able to hire culinary students, as this will be a seasonal operation. We are considering providing housing for our future kitchen staff...perhaps a resort town, and living on the beach for a few months may be attractive to some  students....Again...any feedback you have will be appreciated and considered. Thank You Again  

post #7 of 18

OK, if you are cooking outdoors, you may be able to avoid the hood and ventilation requirements, depending on your local fire department regulations. As that is probably the single major investment, I'd get this cleared up as quickly as possible.

 

The next major cost is, IMHO, your plumbing and sinks, from what I've learned from our local health inspectors, you will need:

  • a three (3) compartment ware washing sink with a floor sink connection to the drain
  • a hand wash sink within easy reach of every food prep or cooking station
  • a restroom separate from the kitchen with hand washing facilities
  • a mop sink outside of the kitchen area

 

You will probably want, if not required, a food prep sink with a floor sink

 

All the plumbing should be in an enclosed area with a seamless floor and walls, again, you health inspector can provide these requirements.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by maybe View Post

....we wish to have a steamer...hey!  we  see the walmart employees can steam lobster and crab to perfection.....press the correct button on the steamer and all is well it appears...

Inspiration from Walmart?  Oy Vey.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maybe View Post

 

 We are very aware of how big of a challenge it will be to run a successful bar and grill. We know we will never have a day off, will be sleep deprived, and will face new challenges everyday....we certainly won't get bored! LOL

That's if you do it right.  

 

Some things to consider:

  • Are customers going to want to pay good money for food cooked on an outdoor grill, just like the one they have at home?  There could be a perception issue there.  I'm getting a real strong "social" vibe on the whole thing.  Meaning, if you were wealthy and owned this house, it would be great for entertaining - but not necessarily good for a revenue-generating business.
  • Cooking can be pretty simple - especially with the right menu design.  Running ANY foodservice operation has so many details details details, it's impossible for it to be classified as simple.  You will run into problems, guaranteed, and without being an experienced professional who has dealt with similar situations and challenges, you're setting yourselves up for a good short run.  And then...likely failure.
  • Have you figured out the basic financials?  Average ticket, number of covers needed, etc etc etc.  Where are people eating now?  Why should they eat your food instead?
  • Have you considered that you're not crazy at all, just ignorant of what this idea of yours really means?

 

 

Listen, I honestly hope you prove me wrong.  It's possible this would be a success.  But, are you mind be so mind-screwed already that you love the concept so much that you're going to move forwards regardless of what anyone has to say?

Ask yourself and your partner this: "What information would we have to learn to walk away from this idea?"

Answer that, in multiple parts.  Then go searching for that information. Search hard.  If you find it, don't try to justify it and reason around it and move ahead anyways.  That would be acting irrationally.  But if you honestly look for that information and you don't find it, then your chances are probably on the plus side.

post #9 of 18

I'll try to be careful...

 

You refer to yourself as a "Kitchen Virgin".

What you're trying to do is become an overnight pornstar in a field that's usually...incremental in nature.  You're at the equivalent of "2nd Base", having cooked yourself and eaten in restaurants - and seen some cooking shows on TV.  Maybe even browsed around on the internet.

And now you want to skip all the way to..um...pitching (or catching!) a 9-inning game and taking on a minimum of 27 batters?  

There are soooo many analogies to be used, but not many safe for this family-friendly site.  I'll let you all go wherever your minds take you.

But I will share this....In both "fields" so much can go so wrong in so many ways.

post #10 of 18

I wish you good luck. You could get lucky and the location will sell the place. Please keep in mind  90% of places fail, and even if owners know the business.. Also its the wrong economic enviorment to attempt  at this point. Lease the place then sub lease it to someone if you can.

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...

Reply
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank You! This information is very helpful and I really appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge with us.

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank You! We are aware of the high failure rate.....exactly why we are trying to gather as much information as possible, and doing everything we can possibly do to avoid failure. Location is HUGE...and honestly a large part of the desire to move forward.....with caution...... visible, and walking distance to every tourist hot spot in this small resort town. Currently there is not ANY place on the waterfront . Public Beach just feet away.....a walk across the parking lot.....a popular boardwalk takes you past the location, visible from a large marina, a LOT of boat activity, adjacent to a boat launch area, as well as a kyak rental shop. We are putting a lot of stock in the location. It is also surrounded by rental properties, condo's and cottages , as well as motels, all in walking distance. They currently have no place to go to watch the sunset, or enjoy a cool beverage before or after boat trip, day at beach, etc.... 

 

A lease is not possible at this time, though think that is an excellent idea.  Thank You for taking the time to share your thoughts, they are appreciated.    

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank You! Excellent homework you have assigned,  it will be taken very seriously , and is greatly appreciated. I would like to respond to some of your concerns, though it will take me a bit of time to respond to some of your post, since I need to go do the research, and intend to do so. 

 

Social Vibe.....you are correct, very perceptive. We do wish to create a social atmosphere for people to relax and enjoy the view. It is in a high foot traffic area, as well as a lot of boating activity, public beach,popular boardwalk running past the location, a lot of social activity going on all around it. We wish to create a fun friendly atmosphere where people will like to gather to grab a bite and a drink or two,. enjoy the sunshine or the sunset... I believe it is an excellent location to generate revenue, and also fills a need not currently being met in the area..

 

I believe people on vacation, on a boat, at the beach will very much enjoy grilled food, it keeps our kitchen cost down significantly, and I believe a good burger on the grill is an excellent option while hanging out in that location. Because of the central location, I also believe the smell of the grill will certainly help to attract people. The majority of people are tourists, summer cottage rentals, etc.....I am not sure about you......but a day on the beach, the boat, or a brisk walk on the boardwalk usually increases my desire for some food and a drink! If I can see it and smell it...... I certainly want it! If I can eat it in a setting that allows me to view the beach and boats, PERFECT!  I do not see the grill as a problem at all, much the opposite actually.

 

I do understand foodservice is full of challenges, I do understand the concept of the smallest details, making the largest difference. I am not a total stranger to the business, as I have worked in more than one, starting at age 14 as a dishwasher. I eventually graduated to server, banquet manager, and finally dining room manager  That was many years ago. My experience however is front house. I did increase sales sifgnificantly with some training and upselling techniques I put in place for the staff. I am confident in my abilities in that area. I have a great working relationship with a master chef I have worked with over the years. I hope to hire him in a consultive role to help with kitchen design, and menu, as well as help with kitchen staff.  

 

I do NOT have many of the basic financials I need at this time... I do not yet have a menu, do not know average ticket, though I can tell you I am trying to design a menu that will fit the location, and be simple. I do not want to employ a master chef. I will use local product , fresh caught salmon and whitefish is readily available, a local organic farm raises beef, I also have a local connection for fresh vegetables and herbs. I wish to stick to the K.I.S.S plan as I mentioned in an earlier post. I also wish to offer some healthy choices, as well as a few vegetarian options. Nothing complex, hope to do some nice small plates, and try to design a menu that removes the possibility for error as much as possible. A menu I could put out if I had to do so. Not fine dining..... maybe aspire to that at some point, for now, fresh local ingredients, with a lot of eye appeal, and tasteful, easy to get out. Maybe upscale bar food would best describe it, heavy on the fish and  some seafood.

 

Where they are eating now?...... a pizza joint, and a couple of small diners, where everything is fried.... and very disappointing, with untrained servers, and unpleasant atmosphere. They are not located on the water. There are two fine dining establishments in the area, though a bit of a drive and not located on or near the water. I believe they would eat my food because it will be fresh, it will have great eye appeal,and it will be served in a great atmosphere, by a  professional server. At this point I do not know what the seating capacity would be,  we are currently negotiating the purchase of the property. I am finding it difficult to project what my start up cost would be.....this is a start from scratch property that needs to be converted... and I struggle with where to start.....

 

I did very much appreciate your reminder of not being so in love with the idea...that I operate on an emotional level , instead of an intelectual business thought process. I must admit, I felt a twinge of guilt..... To be honest.... I am pretty in love with the idea, and feel passionate about the location and possibilities. I intend to go spend some time on doing exactly what you suggested. My partner is a numbers guy.....has owned  a small successful  business for many years...he helps keep things on track if I get to caught up with emotional thoughts. I do know this is not easy, this is not all unicorns and rainbows. It is more like blood, sweat and tears. it is a short term plan.., create it, work hard, make mistakes and learn form them, hopefully not large costly mkistakes, and then....SELL IT!    Honestly.....if I did not have some emotional, passion to do this, I doubt I could be very good at it....

 

Thank You Again!                

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank You, I am not much of a baseball fan....as for my ability in a kitchen.....I doubt I am on 2nd base....would have trouble getting to 1st base....though....that is usually done by the players if I am not mistaken? The team has a manager and a coach or two, they are wise enough to recruit good players, as they dont intend to run the bases, or catch, or pitch.....just manage and coach the correct players that can get the job done. That is also my intent....Thank You for the creative input, I enjoyed reading it and appreciate it.

post #15 of 18

Maybe, I don’t think that your basic questions get answered, did it? 

I think that once you and your partners work out the details of this venture,

Maybe, you’ve got a shot. 

BWDIK, I’m just a retired housewife, who travels to small resort towns, and stays in condo-type places on the water front, who loves simple-good-food, who Maybe likes to socialize with other like minded people be they tourist or locals, who Maybe pulls up in my rental boat with the days catch and Maybe wants to have someone else clean it and cook it for me, because Maybe I don’t have a grill onboard, and Maybe you’d have some tasty side dishes that I would also purchase and consume on your beautiful deck overlooking the waterway, not to mention that Maybe myself, as well as my guests that came with me are a little thirsty and a cocktail, oh and a snack while we wait.

But this old lady does ramble…

Maybe you and your partners have a gold mine idea that’s ripe for the picking?  Maybe knowing all that everyone else has brought up, a menu that even a monkey could pull of is like you said, K.I.S.S.!! 

Local, fresh, seasonal, you-catch-we-cook-it

(so long as it’s steamed or grilled, which isn’t terrible), some easy sides, and a cold drink. 

Maybe, that sounds great to me.

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

Reply

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

Reply
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank You !!! You obviously , not maybe.....have a clear picture of my vision, and of what I hope to create. I don't think it will be an easy task, though I do believe it could be very rewarding and pay off in the end. I also look  forward to meeting a lot of people who share your attitude, and  hope to exceed, not meet expectations! Thank you for the encouraging reply! Happy fishing!        

post #17 of 18

Do not tell people you are, as you say Virgins, as they will try and take advantage of you. Hire your help carefully, do a good background check all you need is one crook to wipe you out.  Your partner and yourself should have clear definition of who does what . Should be 1 front of house and one back of house. People on vacation tend to spend more and your beach location would certainly promote this. Have Draft cold beer so you can't get accused of littering beach with beer cans. Try and stay green as this is the generation to do that. Push your liquor sales and a drink of the day. Gimmick  an alarm clock that goes off sometime in the day that if customer is there when it goes off gets another drink free or 50% off. Merchandissing and promotion. Also remember word of mouth advertising cost almost nothing

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...

Reply
post #18 of 18

you missed it hon, it was a play on words ... ;)

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

Reply

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

Reply
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