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Various Question about Crepes business, help needed

13900 Views 15 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  pechemignon
Hi Everyone,

We are 2 french expat living in london, we're currently working on new business, I am planning to be a casual trader (only weekend at first) on a market in London and I have severals questions on various subject, I'm opening this business with a friend of mine who is chef, I didn't go to chef school but I have been working in catering for about 5years however none of us have experience on crepes.

We are getting ready to start and last weekend we did a little "simulation" in our garden, just to train ourselves and see how we do, the results wasn't a desaster but it wasn't great enough either, we still need to improve a lot of small but important things

I am hoping that someone experienced will be able to help & advise us ... : 

We currently have 1 crepe griddle Krampouz (CGBIK4AC)

- How do you check that the griddle is at the right temperature ? So far we have been setting it to 5 and I thought that it would always stay at the same temperature but I'm not sure that it really does, is there any tips for this ? I understand that depending on the weather we'll have to keep on adjusting the temperature but I just don't know how we should check.

- Where can we buy the patented spreader (easycrepe) I've only seen the spreader kit which contains it but I don't need the other bits ...  (I did have some difficulties to evenly spread the crepe mix so I was thinking about trying with that as it seems easier)

- What is an acceptable/common length of time to make 1 crepe ? (I feel like we're being too slow for now, we're taking about 5mn/crepe)

- Do we have to purchase a specific fire resistant table cloth or is there something that we can put between the table & the crepe griddle to operate in a safe environment. (as or table cloth is partially made of plastic I'm afraid that it will burn) or is there an health & safety requirement ?

- Our griddle is 40", how big should the ladle be for us to be able to do one crepe with one full ladle ? At the moment we had to put about 1 + 1/2 to have the good amount .. (or maybe is it easier with a jug ? what your opinions ?) 

- How can we keep the Nutella warm & runny so it's easy to spread on the crepe ? (it gets really hard as we work from a market stall.

- As we only have one griddle for now, I was thinking about making a few crepes in advance so we can have a quickest turnaround when/if it gets busy, do you think rewarming them will work ? I did see a lot of creperie doing the same in Paris would I have to turn down the temperature to the minimum to allow the stuffing to get warm without burning the crepe ... ?

- I'm looking for a good&cheap website/place to purchase the few remaining missing pieces of equipment (squeezy bottles, pallet knife, jugs, etc ... )

- On the administrative part, would anyone have some good template that we could use to calculate the cost of 1 day in the market & how much we should sell to cover the cost, 1 to record all our spendings & Benefices so we can easily complete a tax return when needed. More generally I just need a lot of advices on this part, what to keep, what to record, how & when ... ? 

Below is our menu so far (3sweet crepes & 3 savoury), I want to keep it good but as simple as possible for now can you please give me your feedback ? We won't keep the filling hot they will just be stored in containers (gastro) and that's one of the raison why it takes up to 5mn to finish a crepe I want to make sure the filling is piping hot ! any advices on that ? Another problem I have with the tuna crepe is that some of the tomato sauce sometime make it through the crepe and touch the griddle, I do clean it afterward but will that be an issue in regard to the health & safety regulations ? Same question for the fact that I'm using the same griddle to do both sweets & savoury pancakes ... 

I also need to find solution to stop some of the filling from dripping, especially the tuna & the mushrooms (as they're quite moist) ...

Sweet :

Lemon Sugar

Nutella Banana

Jam (Strawberry)

Savoury :

Tuna Bolognaise Mozarella

Egg, Chicken, Emmental, Mushrooms

Emmental, Mozarella, Blue Cheese

Sorry for the long text and the tonnes of questions (I actually have more things to ask but I'll stop there for now !) thanks in advance for your help 
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Thanks Mike I did that research before posting, found a few tips about the Nutella but that's about it ... 
Thanks for your input, negative or not a feedback is always good to take, regarding the videos, I have already seen them all and I even talked to the person who made them as I bought my equipment from Pancake World, I don't think they answer my questions but I'll have another look in case I missed something ... 

Not sure if I'm ready yet but I will be, that's exactly why I'm asking questions ;) 

Thanks again
Here are a few suggestions on some of your questions.
  1. Great thing you tested this out before going public (thanks I will definitely make a few more tests before starting)
  2. As for testing the surface temp of your griddle I suggest an infrared laser there are inexpensive and highly accurate. (Oh really good tip, that will surely help me !)
  3. If you are using this griddle outside is your area heated? If not you will need to heat your area (obviously in the cold months only). I have a similar problem roasting coffee outside the temp of the roaster does not stay consistent in the colder months. Also, keep in mind that each time you introduce product to the surface it will cool the griddle. I would try prepping a crepe and start out by testing the temp of the griddle before, after and then how long it takes to heat back up to that temp. Unfortunately I will not have access to any source of power in the market so this isn't an option ...
  4. You should have your griddle raised on a heat resistant surface preferably a stainless steel for sanitation purposes. (is it something that I have to buy ? if yes how do they call it please ? I had a look on amazon but no luck so far)
  5. For the nutella keeping it warm keep get a small baine marie (steam table) or hot plate and place this in one stainless steel container in another with hot water. Does that make senses? (It does make perfect sense and a bain marie would have been my 1st option but I do not have any mean to heat the water and if possible I didn't want to overload the table as I may be getting a second griddle if things are going good, I've read something about mixing it with a bit of whipped cream I may try that & see how it works ... )
  6. As for pre-making your crepes you should be able to we used to do this for desserts but, you do lose some of the charm of having the crepe prepared in front of you. (I completely agree, this is not my 1st intention I just thought about it in case I can't cope with the rush with 1griddle at the beginning ...)
  7. As for your food cost you MUST figure this out before you even get started. This is a pretty straight forward process of coming up with a recipe and making 10 crepes and costing out the ingredients and coming up with what you need to make a profit. Don't forget overhead (electricity, gas, labor). (My food cost is pretty much done, I do have to add some stuff like the gas but most of it is done, maybe I didn't explain properly what I need I'll do another post about that)
I hope this helps you but I must add this. Your chef should know this, all of it and you should not be opening up this business if you have to find out on an internet forum how to do this. I personally would question whether you have the right chef for the job. They may be someone who knows how to make tasty crepes but what you are looking for is so much more. (My chef is more than great :) I'm just extra cautious, and I'm being a bit of a control freak but I have no doubt regarding her abilities)

Many thanks for your help !

I see your point, I will have some other small things like cakes & sweets on sale on the side so we'll see how it goes :)

Not quite.

Let me put it you another way...

Most commercial crepe griddles are around 15-16" in dia, and let's say you have three of them.

Let's say you sell a savoury crepe, say chicken & mushroom for $9.00, or maybe a dessert crepe for $7.00

You can only do three crepes in a 10 min period, say $27.00

However you could fit 4 burger patties per griddle, say you sold your burger for $7.00

12 burgers @ $7.00 = $84.00

PER ten minute period

Granted, you can jazz your savoury crepe up with a salad or some whizz-bang sauce and increase the cheque average, but you can still only do 3 crepes per 10 minute period.

Do you see where I'm getting at?
Yes I clearly see the limitation ! however I'm hoping that crepes will be more attracting than burgers, and hopefully the cakes etc will make up for it. We have a few more try planned then we'll start so I'll keep y'all posted !
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