A Chefs Challenge
Some time ago my boss/owner gave me a challenge of finding low costing dishes that may not generate high gross profit dollars but are low in food cost in our off season to attract more customers at 13-15 dollar dishes instead of 23-26 dollar dishes. The thought process is more people at lower priced entrées that may be enticed to purchase other ammenuties [alcohol, apps,dessert,etc...] then not as many with high priced entrées. I need help with ideas on what dishes could point me in right direction. I know pricing is different all over but just ideas here. Some background, our place is on the ocean east coast so we hang our hat on seafood but so damn expensive. We can hold about 265 with full bar. Even though we are seafood im leaning towards good classic scratch cooking while not eliminating seafood from menu at all i want to utilize these low cost items in my daily specials. Ideas with protiens, seasonal vegs?
Seafood doesn't have to be expensive. I dont know how far away from the gulf you are, but I find gulf coast fish cheaper and I personally think they taste better.
Sheepshead fish (I found them whole for $1.40 a pound in march)
Think fish that you don't see all the time.
One of the places I worked at used to do a salmon burger. Since we always got whole salmon in and broke them down ourselves, we would scrape the bones clean of meat and use that. Add in a bit of smoked salmon and grind it all up. The patties also had a bit of chopped caper, onion and herbs in it (I think we may have helped bind it with a bit of egg but not sure about that). We served it on a housemade potato dill roll along with a fresh cucumber relish, greens and an herb mayo. Uses up leftovers and was pretty cheap.
Also, don't underestimate the power of pasta. Just about everyone loves pasta and you can create also sorts of both seafood and non-seafood versions. It is a great way to stretch a small amount of protein to keep costs low. Or, as mentioned above, risotto is another way to stretch smaller amounts of protein, and is probably still considered a bit more "upscale" than pasta.
The world is full of cuisines that feature fish "stews" of some sort or another, from classic Boullibase, to Cioppino, to a wealth of curries. These are all great dishes but would require a clientele that is probably a bit more "adventurous."
Also not only do you need an open minded clientele but a professional service staff that can sell.
You may also want to cordinate with the bar and bring in the bottomline with the right wine pairings. Definatly a challange but do able.
Edit. Work with a wine merchant to get an area exclusive on some unknown but excellent low cost wines. Many will do this for a limited time as it can be a win win for everyone involved. For example, we did this when Sterling was fairly unheard of back in 96. We got the cab sav for 8 bucks a bottle(discounted) and ran it as a glass pour for 6.50 a glass. Had a three month deal, we sold hundreds of bottles in those 3 months and when it went on the shelf at the wine shop he had a very popular wine that he could retail for 18 bucks.
Edited by Lagom - 8/14/15 at 1:26am
I would recommend instead of reducing entrees by such a degree that you change the menu to reflect what you want your guest to spend money on. we make the most money on drinks, particularly cocktails. so offer affordable bar snacks, something salty that will entice them to drink more. also you can make your menu look better by offer variety such as a slightly bigger portion for a slightly larger cost that to them doesn't seem like much but reflects very positively on your food cost. Also offer a bundle dish such as a single price for a meal for two. give them an app two entrees and a desert for a price that may not reduce your cost but will offer your guest a deal that will make them happy and willing to come and buy that with the addition of the drinks that will make you money.
How about making tasting special's on a daily basis? Make three or four snack's that go well with whatever you want to sell on the bar, have on tap, etc. Will kill two birds with one stone and are wildly popular with the right crowd, specially if it makes their usual poison taste even better.