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Pop Up Brunch Advice

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hello all,


I am currently working as a line cook while building towards becoming a sous/chef/owner of a restaurant.  I have recently been offered the opportunity to run a Sunday brunch at a new restaurant owned and managed by an aquaintance of mine.  This is an opportunity for me to create a menu, be in charge of inventory(ordering, storage, utilization of product), staffing, execution of service and all of the other things that a chef has to do. 


I am mostly looking for advice on the business end of this type of arrangement.  Should I work as an independent contractor from the restaurant owner or company?  Should I get a DBA (doing business as, basically the easiest to attain certification to run a business), or enter into some other type of contract with him and his restaurant.  They are basically giving me their space on Sunday to serve brunch from 10:30-3.  I am responsible for planning and executing the menu, hiring staff, all the things I mentioned above.


I'd love to hear from anyone who has ever done a pop up restaurant and how they hammered out the contract details.  This particular job can be indefinite, if it is successful it could be an ongoing, every sunday thing. 


With that in mind I've contemplated starting out as an independent contractor for a trial period of 2 months, during which I would be payed a nominal fee of $100/wk for my services, while myself and the owner would split sales with me getting 80/20 on food and 20/80 on bar, and him getting the reverse.  It should be mentioned at this point that I will be ordering product from his vendors when possible, on a separate order (or at least itemize one delivery so that we both get what we need on separate bills) and paying the overhead on the food that I hope to sell.  He will effectively be paying the overhead on booze so I feel that this type of percentage agreement is reasonable. 


After the 2 month trial period I would strive to incorporate myself or at least get a DBA and take over complete operations every sunday, effectively running my business in his space and paying him either a percentage of sales or a flat fee for the use of his space.


Any feedback is appreciated, as are amazing brunch dishes.  I have some fun stuff planned already but I'm interested to hear from people about the best home fries they ever had or made, or tips for running brunch service effectively.  (I'm already going to the store for chargers for hollandaise, whipped cream and whatever else I want to put in them)


Thanks for reading my rant,



post #2 of 6

It is his place not yours. You don't know what king of business it is going to do , nor how many covers to prep for. . You are paying for food, therefore no gamble for him . He pays liquor(Liquor does not go bad  Get paid for your time on an hourly basis, he can keep the profit(If any)   Keep in mind if place and brunch click, he could say goodbye to you and do it himself after you built it up.


""Could be ongoing, every Sunday thing""?  One small word here to remember    IF  . We are in a sluggish economy right now.

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...


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...

post #3 of 6

I can't speak to the business arrangement. What ever you are both happy with is a good one. The key is that you have open communication at all times and can adjust things as you both discover what works or doesn't. 

As for brunch, I did that successfully for many years so I'll throw out a couple of suggestions. 

Quality is very important in everything. Good bread for toast, fresh vegetables and fruits, scratch made sauces, good coffee, etc. 

Pan omelets are better than grill omelets. If you have a salamander you can puff them. 

Make sure you serve eggs the way the customer ordered them. No matter how busy it may get, if the eggs do not come out correctly, throw them out and do them right. No matter how you dress up the plate, the eggs are the first thing the customer will judge. A poached egg should have a fully cooked white, runny yolk. Golf balls served only on request. 

Bacon should be crispy or wiggly. Crispy does not mean burnt. Wiggly does not mean raw. 

Blanch potatoes ahead of time, brown and crisp on grill with seasonings. Brown and crispy, not dried out, are home fries. Boiled potatoes that are not browned with crisp edges are not home fries. 

Toast should look like toast, not warm bread. 

Order of operations-Drop toast, get meats and fillings going, start eggs last. 

Dinner rules apply. Warm plates, mise en place complete, care in presentation, hot is hot, cold is cold, wipe the plates, fast and efficient.

All details are as important in breakfast as they are in dinner. 

post #4 of 6

i would say chef ed is right on this one, run!

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies.  I appreciate the feedback.  I am meeting with the owner again tomorrow and I did a recipe test with my cook today (it will be a 2 man operation, maybe putting a dishwasher on if it gets busy).  We tested a home fry recipe, bacon and poached eggs.  The bacon and eggs were perfect in my opinion but the potatoes needed to be crispier.  We'll be working with a 6 burner stove and 2 fryer baskets, and I have 2 small electric griddles that I should be able to set up as well.  I tried doing the home fries like french fries.  Cut into medium dice, blanched in 300 degree fryer, picked up in a 350 fryer to crisp then added to the pan quickly with onions and veg.  Didn't come out super crispy, if I stay with the fryer idea I might try dredging them in seasoned wondra. 


I agree that attention to detail is very important, I am approaching this as an opportunity to plan a menu that takes normal brunch items and does everything the right way from scratch.  I'm thinking about doing fresh english muffins, I saw a CIA youtube video where they are just cooked on a griddle.  Also I've done hollandaise based sauces in a nitrous charged cannister and I love the results, and it holds for a few hours, long enough for service I think.


Right now I mostly need to get the menu down, I have an incomplete rough draft, it's already getting fairly large for a 2 man team to prep in their spare time and to only execute once a week.  Shelf life of product and mise is going to be a big concern and I will need to prep perfectly so I don't run out of things but don't have a lot left over that will become waste.

post #6 of 6


A potato cooked in the deep fryer is a french fry. Those are not home fries. I know that a lot of cooks do it but it is just wrong. A properly cooked homefry is a boiled potatoe browned on the grill. 

I like them with diced onion, Salt, white pepper and granulated garlic. Do not use black pepper as it will make the home fries bitter the longer they cook on the grill. 

If you do not have a large griddle to do the home fries on and you have to use the fryer, just do not call them home fries. Doing home fries correctly takes time. Cooks put them in the deep fryer because it is easier than timing them through service so there is always a steady supply of properly cooked ones. For real home fries, the deep fryer is a hack move.

You might also look into pre cut home fries. they generally come in six pound bags, six per case and cost the same as from scratch. No prep, easy to prepare and you season them as you like. I used to do fresh potatoes and pre cut ones mixed.

If you add peppers, those are typically called o'brien potatoes. 

You don't say where you are but on the west coast hash browns are popular. On the east coast they like home fries. But it's fun to mix them up once in a while. 

I'd work in a dishwasher as soon as possible. Cooking and washing dishes at the same time is a pain in the ass. Been there too often. 

We tried making english and crumpets from scratch. Too time consuming for what you are doing. There is a crumpet shop in Seattle that makes them fresh. Looks easy but that is all they do. Not so good while making other dishes. 

To save you some work and prep, try some unusual dishes, like kippers and eggs, spam and eggs, smoked oysters and eggs.  All come in tins, last forever, require no prep and are generally small enough for only one or two servings per tin. Throw in some quick mustard sauce or something similar with two eggs with a garnish and you have a brunch special. You may or may not get alot of orders but these will round out the menu without a lot of extra work. 

You get the idea. Good luck. 

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