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Two entrees - four people


Mussina
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I can't believe some of the responses I'm reading here. Seems a lot of people have no idea what it is to be in the service industry.

If the restaurant is in such bad shape and so poorly run that every customer must order an entree, then I forsee bad times for that place. I cannot fathom any scenario in which I would try (in any way) to make a GUEST in my restaurant somehow feel cheap or lowly for odering what they want.

If I feel like going to a favorite joint of mine someday just in the mood for a salad, or an app, I want to be treated fairly and the same as if I just ordered everything on the menu. That's just good service. Basic service. God damn rule number one of service.

Nobody knows other's situation. Every good restaurantuer knows it will even out in the end. You'll have a table that will triple the PPA for every one that cuts it in half.

Some of you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

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In many operations I have been involved in the last 10 years it's prudent business practice to "INSIST" every customer during peak meal times order a entree. We always state this clearly on our menu's and on some occasions customers will leave after reading the menu. It really a matter of economics considering amount of seats, turnover, criteria of check averages needed to meet operating expenses.

Many restaurants can not afford to balance or average customer sales during the few hours of optimum meal seatings since overhead is so expensive. Rentals are often based upon a minimum of sales against a percentage of gross that can exceed 10%, adding on utilities, insurance, including liquor liability, accounting, legal, licensing and additional payroll expenses exceeding 25% of payroll costs it becomes a matter of survival.

100 seat restaurant with customers ordering at will equals $1300.00 sales

100 seat restaurant with minimum entree $16.95 equals $1650.00 sales.

If only 60 customers order entrees it can mean a bankrupt restaurant.

Places that operate on the small plate concept are generally calculating sales thru impulse eating to exceed individual entree prices, since there are not that many yet operating this has been a industry norm. It is effective for Asian restaurants since tables order multiple entrees, appetizers and soups, even when ordering considering taking home foods not consumed during the meal. In the western/european style places the small plates portion sizes encourage customers to try more dishes then they are able to finish plus are regularly enjoyed with a higher percentage of alcoholic beverages.

Many operators choose to waive this requirement for regular or repeat patrons they realize becomes a important part of your business stability.

When your located in a tourist, walk in or similar type of location it allows you to be more selective of you customer base. Almost every place I set this type of business example for developed a very solid repeat customer base, with many eating as often as 1 to 2 times weekly, year round for lunch or dinner.

I'm curious how many eGulleters are aware of how high rents per square foot have become in many metropolitan locations.

Recent NYC rents are well in excess of $20,000.00 per month for places seating about 100 customers add, common area charges, refuse and all the other miscellaneous expenses plus about a 10% minimum based upon the rent requires sales over $250,000.00 gross monthly or $8,333.33 daily for 30 days average per month. If tenant does exceed the minimum gross figure they will rarely be issued a new lease.

If the serve 200 meals a day every customers served cost almost $42.00 each just sitting down. Take into consideration the cost of food, payroll, depreciation, amortization, advertising, and other expenses incurred how would you resolve the customers who want to graze or only eat appetizers or salads or just come in for desserts.

Every restaurant expects to make a profit. It's true that rents aren't always applicable, I'm aware of places that pay less then a $1,000.00 per month and still charge high prices because of popularity or being well established. Every operator must make decisions that sometimes aren't always the best.

Look at Fast Food or Chain operations who are willing to close locations that aren't profitable very quickly absorbing the costs into their overhead. This is not applicable to the entrepreneur who is putting everything they have into their business.

Irwin

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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Some of you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Yeah, we are bad people. We have this strange idea in our head that a restaurant is a business, not a soup kitchen. Oh wait, it's a hospitality business. I guess we should just give all the food and drink away. Nothing is more inhospitable than presenting a bill to our valued guests.... :huh:

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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No one can truly succeed in life when they look at even the worst customers as plainly a stream of income vs. expense. I see BOH complaining when the FOH hasn't done their job, frankly. FOH has the onus to be uber nice to EVERYONE, in the kitchen and on the floor, and to smooth out frictions. Cooks should be allowed to cook! GMs and servers should be allowed to serve and manage!

Anyone with sour grapes about giving service should work smart, and carefully hire the proper FOH to buffer their negative attitudes about service. Look at how easily the GM or server could and DID put the service issue to rights... I say, be what you are! Are you a chef? Cook! Are you interested in giving people the best service in a restaurant? Be FOH. No one can be all things... set yourself up for success and happiness by doing what you do best, and delegating the rest properly. Then we won't have so many of these unhappy threads, and we can get back to enjoying our interests in all things culinary. Let's all remain friendly and compassionate, and not attack people over this issue. Everyone has their own outlook, and these differing outlooks are all valid, based on our own personalities. The success happens when we are each working in the proper place, and we are all working as a team.

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Everyone has their own outlook, and these differing outlooks are all valid, based on our own personalities.

Well that's simply absurd.

I agree with the overall point that a smooth-running restaurant has well-delineated roles for both FOH and BOH. But, restaurant owners (like the ones who started this thread)...have to care about both in ensuring the bottom line....(I think this is where chef-owners often run into problems).

Edited by Nathan (log)
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Some of you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Yeah, we are bad people. We have this strange idea in our head that a restaurant is a business, not a soup kitchen. Oh wait, it's a hospitality business. I guess we should just give all the food and drink away. Nothing is more inhospitable than presenting a bill to our valued guests.... :huh:

Yeah, cause that's what I said. Thank you for putting the words in my mouth :rolleyes:

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Everyone has their own outlook, and these differing outlooks are all valid, based on our own personalities.

Well that's simply absurd.

I agree with the overall point that a smooth-running restaurant has well-delineated roles for both FOH and BOH. But, restaurant owners (like the ones who started this thread)...have to care about both in ensuring the bottom line....(I think this is where chef-owners often run into problems).

as a chef/owner, i am curious how you would continue your statement and explain how chef/owners run into problems ensuring the bottom line...

Edited by andrewB (log)
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Everyone has their own outlook, and these differing outlooks are all valid, based on our own personalities.

Well that's simply absurd.

I agree with the overall point that a smooth-running restaurant has well-delineated roles for both FOH and BOH. But, restaurant owners (like the ones who started this thread)...have to care about both in ensuring the bottom line....(I think this is where chef-owners often run into problems).

as a chef/owner, i am curious how you would continue your statement and explain how chef/owners run into problems ensuring the bottom line...

I think some chef/owners know the BOH but not the FOH...if the owner/manager is always siding with the BOH in conflicts with FOH...that can cause turnover and other issues with FOH service in the long run. obviously some chef/owners pull it off quite well...others fail...it's a lot of hats to wear for one person. doesn't mean that it can't be done.

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There seem to be two separate but related issues at hand in this thread. The first dealing with two people sharing a main course and the second of four people asking that four courses be divided "four ways".

As stated earlier, I am not at all opposed to sharing main courses, nor am I opposed to a surcharge for this privilege. When it comes to the "four way split" however I cannot help but think of the challenge to any chef of splitting the following four portions:

(1) Bouef bourguignon with potato puree

(2) Coq au Vin with root vegtables

(3) Raviolis filled with ricotta cheese in a butter and Parmesan sauce

(4) Fillets of sea bass with a pumpkin puree

Any chef who can divide those into four, combine each quarer on the same plate and maintaining any semblance of order would be deserving of (a) knighthood (b) sainthood and © a Nobel prize.

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They ought to keep some of those school cafeteria plates (molded plastic divided into sections) on hand "just in case!" :rolleyes:

"There is nothing like a good tomato sandwich now and then."

-Harriet M. Welsch

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks everyone for all the responses. As always it is interesting to get reactions from every perspective. As an update, we haven't made any changes to our policies (but it felt good to vent!)

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I think that anything you do that shows the same good manners you would expect your guests to have, is permissible.

What is surprising to me here, is that there are people in the restaurant business who seem to expect the customers to behave according to a certain standard, but aren't sure they want to maintain a good standard of behavior themselves. Did your mother never teach you that the treatment you give others is simply a reflection of who you are, and not one of what you think others deserve? No? Shame on her.

This really is very simple. If the restaurant cannot afford for people to split dishes the way these people do, then figure out a policy to cover the situation and implement it. Period. I see nothing wrong with giving them expedited service -- as long as it's good service -- in order to turn the table that much faster. If you need to implement a policy of a fee for shared entres, then do it.

Not only do you not have any way of knowing why these couples do this, you also don't know what they're saying about you to the outside world. I suspect they're doing it because they can't eat a full entree each, and they hate to waste food. And if you're gracious, accommodating, and non-judgmental, they may be sending a lot of business your way. If you're rude to them, keep in mind that not only will they likely badmouth you to your friends, but the people at the adjoining tables will observe your behavior also.

I like the recommendation of the early-bird special, the bar special, or the off-night special. But whatever you do, do it with class and graciousness, or close the doors. You're in the hospitality business, for God's sake.

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