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The Revolution (new restaurant concept)


AaronM
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I believe AaronM may have gotten the impression from Schwa's website that there was a "punk rock attitude". I was pointing out that may be misleading. While Schwa's concept is very different then most they remain professional and I noticed no such attitude. I didn't want him to get the impression it was like "Hey dude, want to smoke a bowl" type of environment. :laugh:

Robert R

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I'm assuming you would make a good profit at $100/head, but you will probably scare off a lot of potential repeat customers at that price point. You want to run a restaurant, not a cooking school, right? If you cut the price back to where you do just a little more than break even, but create a buzz, the word of mouth will spread.

definitely consider this. you could charge less but take the difference and apply it to your marketing budget. that way you are still paying yourself but promoting the restaurant and depending on your state's tax laws might be able to save some money on taxes.

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What I mean by the "punk rock attitude" is that they do their thing and don't really care what anyone has to say about it.

I guess I'm unclear as to whether "do their thing" applies to on the job or off. I'm delighted to hit a place that hires dedicated and competent people who bring a little color and personality to their work. More than delighted. On the other hand, I have no idea why anybody would want to spend their money in a restaurant where the people whom they are paying to make their night an enjoyable one are more interested in "their thing" than in your dinner.

Interestingly, one of the better known and -- in my limited experience -- most talented sommelieres in DC, someone who sufficiently transcends "attitude" (is there any word that more fully implies empty posturing than "attitude?"?) to actually have played in aband or two. I had only met Andy a couple of times before theWashington Post blew his cover, and so I never noticed the ink creeping out from beneath his French cuffs, among other signs that he was not your father's sommeliere. But the great thing about Andy, in addition to an excellent and -- occasionally -- delightfully random -- palate? No fuckin' attitude. Just wants you to have a good time. I love that when I'm spending my money and time on dinner.

Edited by Busboy (log)

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I have yet to get my notes together on the meal schwa in toto, but I can comment on this attitude thing now.

schwa's attitude is hard to pin down. Everyone kinda barrels around the dining room in a mood that ranges from scruffily affable to dismissive and annoyed. Trying to chat with people about the food, for example, was a real crap-shoot, perhaps because the guys had to get back into the kitchen to get out another course. Whatever the reason, it was disconcerting to be able to talk in detail about how one dish was prepared and then be literally ignored when we asked a similar question next course. (Having said that, perhaps the server didn't hear us over the Rage Against the Machine that was turned up to 11.)

It's as if the place read Danny Meyer's Setting the Table and decided to do the exact opposite of everything he says. Me, I'd go back again, but that's because the intensity and quality of the food offsets the issues with service and ambiance -- for me. I shrugged it off when I got sauce spilled on me and the server didn't seem to notice or care; we kinda laughed along when, just as we were snagging an initial bite of another course, two guys swooped in to take away our plates and drop them on another table.

Seems to me that that sort of "attitude" is only going to work in a community in which such lack of basic hospitality will be read as the wacked genius of a brilliant chef whose food Must Be Eaten, and not simply as aggressive rudeness, punk rock or otherwise. Here in Providence, for example, schwa wouldn't last a year.

So one question is, can your place tap into or build two clienteles: those who want the attitude because you're the It Chef and they want to bask in your Pierre Marco White 'tude, and those who put up with your PMW 'tude because your food is light years beyond anything they can get there?

Another question is, given how easy it is to provide casual American service -- most US restaurants get away with murder, after all -- why wouldn't you want to cultivate a third clientele, those who can enjoy a relatively relaxed yet hospitable environment while giving you money to eat your food? I mean, why not ease up on the 'tude and have a more successful business? What do you lose by not spilling sauce on your customers?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I think you guys are overinvested in an offhand comment I made.

I don't think I'm super amazing, and I don't tolerate rudeness (from the staff, or the customers).

Having some swagger doesn't mean treating people poorly.

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I think you guys are overinvested in an offhand comment I made.

I don't think I'm super amazing, and I don't tolerate rudeness (from the staff, or the customers).

Having some swagger doesn't mean treating people poorly.

Fair enough, then.

I love the concept, in case that got lost in the exchange, btw.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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What Charles said -- but, to be clear, there are many I've talked to who believe firmly in attitude above all, even if you don't, and we're discussing the concept as a whole. Hell, the NYT did a whole piece on this subject recently.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I participated in the "Customer is Not Always Right" thread we had here - my thoughts on it are in there.

In a nutshell: I believe the customer is not always right and that their every whim should not be catered to, but within reason we should accommodate someone if possible.

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In other news regarding this: I served a cheese plate (manchego, romano, speck, dried cherries, olive oil and grilled bread) to someone the other day at my current thing. We got to talking after I came back to check on him and he said he thought I was really talented. Turns out he's super rich and was throwing this big party where they're cooking a whole flayed cow over fire, he said all the chefs from the nice places around here were coming and he wanted to introduce me to them. We talked about this concept I have and he said we should put in a specific chef's hand, and that he could help me do that.

The next night one of the GMs from a place here called High Cotton came by. I gave her a couple off menu things that she adored and was super supportive of the concept, told me she'd help me get a proposal together whenever I'm ready.

Good things happening.

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Curious about a few things...

What sets this restaurant apart from the hundreds/thousands of other upscale/casual/bistro type places that exist? There are thousands of places that use fine dining techniques in a casual setting. What is different about your place? What makes it special? You are going to sous vide strip steaks instead of filet?

Are you strictly talking about a technique/ingredient driven restaurant at a lower price point? Is the uniqueness of your idea its location, in that you will be the only restaurant doing what you are doing in your area?

Who is your target market? Since your price point is lower, are all your customers going to want to commit to a 5 course tasting menu? Will this limit your business on a weeknight? You may hit target for price point, but are people going to be willing to sit at your restaurant for 2 hours on a Tuesday when they have work/school the next day and a babysitter at home?

Your idea sounds interesting...I'm really playing devil's advocate. Good luck.

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Curious about a few things...

What sets this restaurant apart from the hundreds/thousands of other upscale/casual/bistro type places that exist? There are thousands of places that use fine dining techniques in a casual setting. What is different about your place? What makes it special? You are going to sous vide strip steaks instead of filet?

What'll set us apart from any other restaurant is creativity. I find eating out anywhere without a large price tag to be fairly boring - not because of the price, but because it seems to me that no one's doing anything interesting with food at a lower price point. Especially in my area. There's quite literally one restaurant in Greenville that even uses something as basic as sous vide.

Are you strictly talking about a technique/ingredient driven restaurant at a lower price point? Is the uniqueness of your idea its location, in that you will be the only restaurant doing what you are doing in your area?

I'm talking about a restaurant actively engaged in breaking new ground in the food world. We'll be alone in our market with the concept. My cooks will have 30 minutes at the beginning of their day to work on dishes - once a week, on a rotating basis, a cook will have to present a dish to the rest of the staff. Our plating and flavors will be constantly evolving. We can never repeat a dish once it's gone from the menu. If you're not actively creating and honing your craft, you do not belong in this kitchen. This relates to the cooks-as-servers idea as well. If the person serving you your food cooked it (possibly created it!) they would be more likely to produce better product - and be more interested in the guest's enjoyment.

Who is your target market? Since your price point is lower, are all your customers going to want to commit to a 5 course tasting menu? Will this limit your business on a weeknight? You may hit target for price point, but are people going to be willing to sit at your restaurant for 2 hours on a Tuesday when they have work/school the next day and a babysitter at home?

My target market is anyone legitimately interested in food. This restaurant will certainly not be for everyone, but would welcome all. You won't have to put on a jacket, or pretend to have a knowledge of wine to have a great meal here.

If a group doesn't want to commit to the menu and concept of the restaurant, then they shouldn't come that day. This is the thing we do. If you just want to grab a quick bite after work, there are plenty of places that can do that for you - we're different. The business plan is written with the idea of filling each table once a night. We can handle much more, but I want to aim low for covering costs.

Your idea sounds interesting...I'm really playing devil's advocate. Good luck.

I appreciate your support - and it's good for me to have to defend my ideas. If I can't defend the reason for something, then I should reconsider it.

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I appreciate your support - and it's good for me to have to defend my ideas. If I can't defend the reason for something, then I should reconsider it.

Defending a bad idea is just as easy as defending a sound one. Instead of defending your point, concentrate on the contradiction to better understand where you are coming from. From this view point you will get a clearer picture on whether you are right or wrong.

Edited by Jeffery C (log)
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