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Everything posted by kitchenbabe

  1. In answer, no the restaurant does not pay if the reservation was cancelled-however, as an operator, I can tell you-the restaurant in the end is not saving that much-they only pay $1 per cover in addition to the monthly fee...if they're cancelling reservations in the system to save money, they have bigger problems. If you contact OpenTable when you get an email, you can tell them you showed up and you still get your diner points-happened to me once by accident. Other than that, I totally believe in OT as an operator-it allows you to market your restaurant (they have endless opportunities for special events and holidays), most cities also offer bonus points to diners if they reserve in off-peak times (early in the week, early evening, etc...) You can also set up your OT account so that diners can post reviews of your restaurant on the OT site- but they have to have reserved a table and shown up for the reservation, which minimizes the BS idiots that you sometimes see on CitySearch, Yelp, etc... You do have to build the cost of the equip and cover fees into your operating budget, but it's such a small line item that it's definitely worth it-a restaurant doing $2.8M/yr only paid $250 a month as an example...
  2. Very simple-show up early, put your head down, shut the f up and work cleanly and quietly-think about your questions before you ask them, and do plenty of reading in your off time-Kitchen Confidential, French Laundry Cookbook, anything by chefs about their work habits...
  3. I agree with all of you-as a restaurant manager, I make it a habit to include (atleast the ladies') restrooms on my "laps" around the restaurant as I check on guests, staff, kitchen, etc...I always make sure there's atleast one guy on the FOH staff with me so there are no "gender issues" although I'm not afraid to politely knock on the men's room door if necessary. If the restroom is dirty, it's a detail that proves the management is not paying attention-not to the restaurant, not to their guests. It's always a big deal for me when I go out...I even like to see the little clipboards on the door with the checklists-I tend to take a peek and see if they're current-and yes, I use them where I work as well... they always say "location, location, location" but after those quotes there's always "restrooms, restrooms, restrooms"...
  4. We use Geoff for a monthly service, he comes once a week for about $25-$30/wk, and he also will sharpen the ever important robo-coupe blades for a small fee-he's also certified to work on the equally-as-ever-important Beurre mixer, which he's done for us as well. There's no "dropping off" involved, when he comes he has his machine in his truck and does it on-site-he's the only one I'll trust with my Henckels Santoku (aside from myself, of course...). I hand my knives over to him, move on to "non-knife" prep and then resume when I get them back 20 min later.
  5. The Real Chow Baby in Atlanta, GA
  6. I've used RMS for Windows This was at a national chain, and it was great. It interacted with our MICROS POS system, and we were able to transmit sales, labor, inventory totals, EVERYTHING to our home office every Monday and have our P&L back by the second week of the following period for in-house reconciliation. Right now, I'm at a single unit restaurant, and for inventory we just use excel spreadsheets and plug in our sales numbers from our POS system (Aloha). Because we're a small company, we don't have the capital to go in for Chef Tech or anything, although it's a goal. I will also say that the tech support for MICROS and RMS was by far and away the best I've seen as well. If you're in the market for a system, definitely figure out what exactly you want it to do (there are some amazing packages out there), and how much you're willing to spend. There are also packages where you can even plug in your schedule and it'll cost it out, give you projections vs. budget vs. actual, and not allow staff to clock in too early or out too late (to avoid people "riding the clock")
  7. Mostly local celebs at our joint-- Andre 3000 Dominique Wilkins Ludacris And once I moved from the BOH to General Mgr, we had Wayman Tisdale and Li'l Bow Wow come through a few times.
  8. As a restaurant manager myself, I believe the restaurant has done enough and if the owner/manager is dipomatic enough, will be able to inform the patron that every measure was taken to prevent or remedy the situation from the beginning, but that they declined (coat check, first offer of dry cleaning, etc). If the guest still feels slighted, that is their perogative (sp?), there's not much you can do. I would NEVER offer to replace the coat-either pay for the cleaning, or offer gift certificates of up to half the cost of the coat-there are limits. There's a concept called "due diligence" that not many people understand these days-that's what the restaurant has done. Another suggestion (after the fact) would have been once the guest placed their coat on the chair and it was obvious something may happen, have the manager go by and offer to check the coat "I just want to offer you our coat-check service once again. This is a very nice coat and I'd hate for soemthing to happen to it while it's on the back of your chair" or some such.
  9. Your best bet is to tour the campuses and find out about the entire cirriculum-do you want to go just to be professional cook? Do you want to run a kitchen? Do you want to open your own restaurant? Do you want to work in the industry at all, and what do you want to do? The first decision you need to make is what you want to do with your career. All of these schools (as well as so many more, Art Institutes, Le Cordon Bleu, etc) have extensive programs, and some (if not most) include ACF credentials as part of the tuition and program. Once you decide what you want to do, start pumping the admissions reps and any acquaintances (as well as us...) for information on how these programs prepare people for what they want. I'm a grad of Art Institute of Atlanta (2004), and my goal was simple-make myself more valuable with a degree on top of my 10 years of experience I already had. I was able to get a culinary education, a college degree acredited nationally, as well as ACF credentials. It was expensive, but worth it. The problem was, I was in school with a bunch of "kids" who thought there would be a talent agent from the Food Network waiting outside the graduation auditorium with a contract with their name on it--complete waste for these people. You get out what you put in, and you need to know what you want out of it first. But for my money, AI was a great experience if you have a campus nearby.
  10. I agree-I don't trust SE Cutlery-we used them at my restaurant for the first year we were open and I had nothing but trouble with those guys-the knives never stayed sharp, and we did VERY HEAVY vegetable prep. Geoff Edges is your man-that's who we're using now, and he does sharpening on-site (he even does our personal knives and the ever-important Robo-Coupe blades). He and his son do great work.
  11. For great local food, he definitely called it: The Vortex, Highland Tap, Fat Matt's, all of those are greats and definitely some of my favorites--if you go to "The Tap" (as hubby and I call it), say hi to Mary, Markie and Scottie at the bar-best Martinis in the city! Other greats are American Roadhouse on North Highland, La Tavola Trattoria on Virginia (two doors down from Tap), Fontaine's (next door), and say hi to Elizabeth at Taco Mac across the street---(can you tell I live in the Highlands??) Great food in this city--Quattro on the Park on Piedmont has great paninis and homemade gelato-nice way to enjoy a post-meal stroll through the park.
  12. At the risk of sounding like a Lean Cuisine commercial: Last night I had half of a VERY LARGE piece of tiramasu from a local bakery. The place is Southern Sweets in Decatur. Those of you from Atlanta may have heard of it...if you haven't, shame on you! This woman (Nancy Cole) is doing god's work. Her Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse is amazing and the Georgia Pecan Tart is ridiculously decadent. She's been listed in Atlanta Magazine several times. I serve her desserts at my restaurant (alas, we're too small to have our own pastry kitchen), and we all love them. The entire waitstaff has been in there to eat by now. I would've photographed it, but my camera's been on the fritz for the last couple months and I don't have time to shop for a new one right now. The tiramasu was great....the cake was light, and the coffee flavor was perfect w/o being too strong. Great stuff
  13. You're right...those people do exist here...that's why we're here. However, I see his point. As a woman and a professional cook, on the outset I should be offended....but I'm not. Here in the states the numbers of female culinary professionals is growing...as is the culture of cuisine among home cooks. But it is sad that so many people, men and women, are out for that quick fix...a simple meal out of the microwave, but it can't have calories, or fat, (or, god forbid, carbs ) or even flavor. It's a bit disheartening. If he's only reporting on what he's seeing, then no one can fault him. We're a society of people in a hurry and have begun placing these demands on women. We have to wear so many hats, that the toque gets left hanging on the wall. So the only thing I can say to the women that are squawking about what he's seeing and saying about it, put the toque back on and prove him wrong!!!
  14. well, Atlanta is a huge city with a bazillion restaurants...I feel like I've worked at half of them. But here are a few of my nominations... The Buttermilk Fried Chicken at South City Kitchen on Crescent Avenue...brined in buttermilk, it's incredibly tender and the breading is perfectly spiced. the bourbon gravy is a great touch Fried Oysters at Ray's on the River...when they're in season, there's nothing like it. They fry up nice and plump, thanx again to buttermilk (it's a wonderful thing, ain't it??) and for an interesting guilty treat, there's fried pickles at the Foxfire Grill in Snowshoe Mtn, WV...it was a first time experience last summer. Most of my favorites involve seafood in the Savannah area....Fish and Chips at Fannies on the Strand on a Friday night, for instance...we go down there once a year and it's nice to walk to dinner barefooted.
  15. I had the pleasure of reading a proof copy of Steven Shaw (aka Fat Guy)'s new book "Turning the Tables"...in fact I'm still reading it. It's essentially a guide for the unitiated (and a refresher for vets) on how to insure service when you go out to eat. Having spent almost 12 years in this crazy biz, I can honestly say that for myself, there weren't a whole lot of new revelations (except the section on sushi bar etiquette...well done!) But, after reading just two or three chapters, I've come to a conclusion: While "Kitchen Confidential" (aka my personal bible) should be required reading for anyone considering foodservice as a career or going to culinary school, "Turning the Tables" should be required reading for anyone who ever plans on dining outside the home in any capacity, particularly if they've never worked in a restaurant, and in some cases, even then. Recommend it to your friends and neighbors! Make our jobs easier!!!
  16. I agree with water in lieu of eggs for fluffy scrambles... My favorite is the fritatta...oh, glorious creation of Italian leftovers. I like mushrooms, mozz, tomatoes and herbs in mine, maybe a bit of pancetta for some oommphh.... The eggs in Europe are beautiful....I took my first trip to Europe last year, and actually took a picture of whole eggs in a bowl b4 they were put into a fabulous Bussolai cookie dough... as for counting the ways, I believe there are 101...one of the first things I learned in culinary school is that in the traditional chef's toque, there are 101 pleats...one to represent every method of preparation for eggs.
  17. That sounds about right...I used to work at a southern restaurant here in ATL that featured classic southern food. We had a dish that was shrimp and scallops over stone ground grits...the chef was from Baltimore, but one of the owners hailed from Charleston. Enjoy your recipe...it's a great dish.
  18. Unfortunately, I had the same opinion about Foxfire Grille last summer. After dinner, my husband and I went to the Bistro there for a nightcap, and were impressed with the menu when we looked at it out of curiousity... A bit more upscale, a quieter atmosphere. It was too late to try anything out of the kitchen, but if you're looking for a more upscale meal, give it a try. We didn't venture much out of the village, so I'm not sure about the other restaurants on the mountain. The Junction that's near the ski lifts puts out a good breakfast, and the coffee is decent...they also serve a local brew (Black Mountain, I think is the name), it's a mom and pop brewery in the state that only distributes to a very few restaurants, it was really good with a plate of wings for a midafternoon bite. In any case, enjoy your trip...my cousin is chief of security, so stay out of trouble!!
  19. I used the onion soup recipe at school (with the variation of adding white beans...it was on the menu, I had no choice). I deglazed with sherry and balsamic. Since it had to simmer longer because of the beans, the flavor was incredible! We served it with braised savoy cabbage, and a petit buttermilk thyme biscuit. Our instructor didn't want us using established recipes (we're supposed to be focusing on technique), but I had bought the book the weekend before and couldn't wait to try it out... I've since made duck confit (don't know what I'm going to do with the meat yet) as well. I'm not sure where WS gets their recipes, or if they test them. But I know all the recipes in this book work. I put a lot of stock in someone who tests their recipes before putting them out there...been the victim of untested recipes too many times.
  20. Best Martini: Highland Tap in Virginia Highlands. Best Margarita: Sala in Va-Hi Best Beer selection: Vortex Midtown/Lil 5 That wraps it up...For wine, I'd say Eno on 5th or South City Kitchen on Crescent.
  21. Bread, Bread, Glorious Bread.... I love fresh challah, 6-strand braid with a bit of butter (guess what I'm doing tomorrow??) Fresh baguette with chopped mushrooms, sliced romas and shredded mozz for some bruschetta Cinnamon bagel with a schmear of real butter and a recent discovery, Yucca Bread from Latin America. BTW, s'kat, that timpano was beautiful! was it difficult to make? I saw Big Night 2 or 3 times, and I always hold my breath when they take it out of the oven and begin serving it.
  22. Thanx for a great interview! I catch the show about every other week and I've always been curious about "the Food Guy". It was also enjoyable reading about him interviewing other chefs. I understand what he means about even people with resources don't always understand food. I work for a catering company here in Atlanta, and I heard a co-worker today talking about how he did a fruit and cheese display for a VIP event that Usher was attending, and he said he didn't even look at it, just sent the chef out to the Waffle House for scrambles egg whites! Sometimes you just never know...
  23. I agree with most of you here.... I think upselling is a good thing when it enhances the customer's experience. It lets the customer know that the salesperson (whether it be a server or retail clerk) is aware of what the customer is looking for. But you HAVE TO KNOW YOUR PRODUCT. I've been in restaurant and retail for a number of years, and while I am by no means an expert, I have seen alot of different companies and their approach to upselling. It works in theory. If I have a guest come into my restaurant and sit in my section, for example. He/she starts off by ordering a glass of Chardonnay. As I take them through our daily features (another point here...be descriptive), they decide on our Prime NY Strip. Now. Here I have a choice. I can run down our list of Chardonnays, and suggest our newest label, OR I can ask them since they are ordering a steak, if they'd like to try our newest Cabernet label. OK, the Cab is a little more expensive than the Chardonnay they picked out, so yes my check avg and tip percenage is a little higher. But, I've also listened to my guest, and I know my menu well enough to know that this my be the better wine choice. My guest is appreciative, and therefore I may have created a relationship not only between the restaurant and this person, but created a regular for myself, someone who trusts me and will dine with me everytime he comes in. THAT'S upselling. You create not only more sales, but also the relationship with the guest. There's nothing deceptive. I run a business. I want to make money. He wants to spend money. He's willing to spend a little extra to have "the perfect meal". I know how to guide him to make those choices. You have to read your guest and know your product. It's not rocket science, just human relations.
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