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DeliDrama

Opening a Deli

24 posts in this topic

Hello!! This is my first time posting! My husband and I are in the process of opening a deli inside of a gas station (we own the gas station as well). Dublin Donuts use to be at the location but they have built their own free standing building nearby. Our goal is to create a consistent tasty sub, quality ingredients, reasonable prices and a friendly atmosphere. We do not want to go with a franchise (had a subway franchise in the past and were not happy). How can we create a look and branding without too much of an investment? What theme and or colors would you suggest? We also want to utilize the drive thru as their are no delis that offer this service in our city. We want to be known for having a fully loaded sub. Thinking between .4 to .5 lb of meat per foot long. Good bread is another must. This well help to stand us out among other delis in the area. Main competition will be subway, firehouse subs, and a few mom and pop delis that offer a mediocre sandwich. Each sub will come with a dill pickle half and a side of coleslaw, macaroni, or potato salad. Would like to display salads in our glass display cooler but would like suggestions. How can the salads be displayed without being covered without drying out? What other suggestions can you give to make us stand out. Going too gourmet will not be in our best interest. Many workers and families. Thank you in advance for anyone's help or ideas!!!

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There's a whole field of study about how colors and commercial art affects consumers. IMO, the most important thing is to match your look to the clientele you are trying to attract. In other words, red velvet walls and marble floors don't match well with subs and quick service. There's so many sub places nowadays, finding a name will be challenging -don't afraid to be a little crazy here, people will remember a place named 'exploding submarines' or somesuch.

 

Speed is important for a drive through, you should look at ways to streamline ordering and assembly.

 

I agree that quality is important. For me, I think the bread is key. Try to find a bakery that will make good french or Italian bread. I've tried subs at many of these newly expanding franchises and don't like any of the bread. And, of course, Subway's bread is awful.

 

As much as I enjoy a good Italian sub, I'd like to suggest that you make 2 specialty subs: banh mi, and a cuban.

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Agree on quality. Not so sure about the pickle and sides. A good hoagie is a lot of food...does anyone ever eat the pickle that comes with sandwiches? FWIW the most successful hoagie chain in my area, Wawa, just gives you a sandwich.

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Thanks for your replies.

The colors of the gas station are green and yellow (BP gas). Not sure if I want to blend in or stand out. I an leaning towards standing out so that customers notice that we are there. There is also seating available other than drive thru or take out. Approximately 10 seats. Thinking of a black and white theme with maybe a pop of red.

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Sides seem pretty boring, no?  I'm with the PP who suggested some ethnic twists.  You can't beat Subway/Firehouse/etc on branding/advertising, so why try?  Differentiate by offering a more interesting sandwich.  

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In your part of the country do you have competing meat providers?  In PA hoagie shops/delis will ally with one of the big cured meat sources, e.g. Dietz & Watson, or Thumann's or Boar's Head... and use that alliance (and the promo swag that they hand out) in the branding of the sandwiches and shop more generally.  If you've got a choice of local meat houses, make sure to pick the tastiest of the bunch, rather than just the cheapest.  Look at their distro contracts to make sure that you have an option to use non-branded stuff in some product offerings if you've got local farms that cure sausage/salami, etc. that you want to use.  Also, as mentioned above, get a good bakery to keep you in fresh rolls every day.  A bad roll kills a sandwich.  Also, make sure that you only offer and use tomatoes when they are in season and taste like tomatoes.  Offer marinated roasted red peppers if the sandwiches need red in them when tomatoes are bad.

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Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Thanks for the replies. I will look into using a cured meat brand such as boars head but not too sure if this will make the subs too expensive. Boars head is pretty costly. Most of our customers are male workers (construction, lawn service etc.) and the fast food options around us make it difficult to have high prices. They are looking for a quick, reasonable, filling lunch. Our menu is going to start simple so we don't waste too much. Turkey, ham, roast beef, and Italian for cold options. Bbq pork, steak and cheese, Cuban, and meatball for hot options. Once more established we can add chicken wraps, tuna, chicken salad, pastrami etc. to the menu. Any decor ideas??? I really need help in this area.

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I'm no artist, but I'll play along. To me, black and white with maybe a pop of red sounds like an ice cream parlor, and also a bit clashy with the green and yellow of the BP station. Depending on how the 'pop' is done, what about doing a pop of yellow with that black and white, instead of the red? (I am NOT suggesting red and yellow together; that's been done.)

Another idea: if it were to take on the feel of a 50's diner with the decor, would that appeal to the crowd you have in mind?

Yet another idea: you need something for people to look at while they're waiting (you hope not too long). What about historic photos of your area, things that would appeal to the type of work done around there?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Or play on the word(s) Sub-Marine. Underwater. Blue. Bright little fishies and submarines underwater.  

 

I also like plays on the word Sub-Contractor because of your clientele. 

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I keep humming   We all eat at the Yellow Submarine, Yellow Submarine.  

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I keep humming   We all eat at the Yellow Submarine, Yellow Submarine.  

I like that too, but I keep thinking it must be a protected name. 

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I can see the old tools concept.  Even tables on sawhorse bases. And the signature sandwich......get ready....the Bench Grinder/  Okay, time out for a collective groan

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I can see the old tools concept. Even tables on sawhorse bases. And the signature sandwich......get ready....the Bench Grinder/ Okay, time out for a collective groan

*Ba-DA-Bump!* Seriously, now that I'm done laughing I'm thinking that is an outstanding name for a specialty sub at a place with old tools. Talk about distinguishing the deli from the rest of the pack!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Motto:  Even better than Hooters, 'cause we have Routers.

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Faux Pas, I LOVE the sub contractor idea.....decor could be old tools....construction stuff etc.

I agree its a fun theme, I can tell you there is a sandwich shop in NJ called sub contractors, so I don't know if it is going to be a trademark issue, it may depend where you are geographically...

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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This is a stretch but in some areas subs are called "grinders'  How about Tool Grinder as a name?

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Great ideas!! Love everyone's enthusiasm too!! Thanks for your help! Although I think the subcontractor idea is great, I think we are going to stick with more of a simple approach. Inspired to have a clean, fresh, modern look. Going to have 2 flat screen TV's as our menu board. One with menu and other with name and changing pictures. Still sticking with a black and white theme with a pop of color. I do agree that red might be too diner or barber shop like. Thinking of adding yellow or green as our standing out color. Any ideas? Would love the feedback!!

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I've seen the TV menu thing done badly. Gotta be legible from a distance. Shouldn't have shifting screens for the menu.  If the menu is too big to fit on one screen and read easily, then I'd say forget the idea and go to a traditional method of display.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll make sure to keep that in mind once TVs are up. So far we are working on creating a logo to use. We would like to add this logo to shirts and hats for employees, menus, signs, and deli wrap paper. Any other suggestions to help with branding and look? Thinking of going with a simple approach of "82nd Ave Deli" and using a street sign look to display our name/logo. We might continue that street theme inside. Colors will be green, white and black. A bold green like a street sign. Brainstorming ideas such as road map wallpaper, vintage photos of the city (kuddos to that previous suggestion, plants and greenery, and of course street signs (maybe customized ones that say "order here" and "pickup here".) A light post with street signs on it that say "breakfast, lunch, soups, salads etc.) would be great! Can you guys see my vision? Any suggestions?

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Hello Deli Dog Specialist Jeannette here!

 

I have many years of delicatessen (pretty word for deli) experience. As I'm sure you know once you get known for making a great sandwich you're in like Flynn...

 

Since you are already in a gas station - go with a filling station concept I would definitely play off that theme!

 

Are you feeding blue collar or is your target market a mix of customers.

 

Your market will determine the quality of your meats and cheeses. 

 

As I've seen in the forum, advice on making sure your sub rolls-hoagie rolls- hero's- whateva BREAD is the BEST!

 

Portion control portion control portion control!

 

Top notch slicer and  digital scale are a must !

 

You don't need to include a deli salad-chips work and the pickle is a great touch!.

 

If you want to include a salad make it a house specialty-if you have a family recipe that your grandmother or some other family member made that everyone drools over you may want to promote it - Aunt Jenny's Rev-It -Up Potato Salad or Spicy Spark Plug Pasta Salad perhaps!

 

Hope I helped a little!

 

Good luck ,

 

Chef Jeannette Goldman

 

 

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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll make sure to keep that in mind once TVs are up. So far we are working on creating a logo to use. We would like to add this logo to shirts and hats for employees, menus, signs, and deli wrap paper. Any other suggestions to help with branding and look? Thinking of going with a simple approach of "82nd Ave Deli" and using a street sign look to display our name/logo. We might continue that street theme inside. Colors will be green, white and black. A bold green like a street sign. Brainstorming ideas such as road map wallpaper, vintage photos of the city (kuddos to that previous suggestion, plants and greenery, and of course street signs (maybe customized ones that say "order here" and "pickup here".) A light post with street signs on it that say "breakfast, lunch, soups, salads etc.) would be great! Can you guys see my vision? Any suggestions?

 

On the deli wrap paper, I'd try to put the logo and a mini-menu without prices on it. -Or at least a couple of sentences under the logo talking about breakfast, soup, salads, etc. That way, someone eating a lunch sandwich in their car might notice for the first time that you have breakfast, or that you offer a salad, etc.

 

You might want to think about a signature sandwich for breakfast and lunch. That way, you can always have signage, etc. saying 'Home of the Zesty Banh Mi," "(city name)'s Best Brisket on a Bun," "The Original Overstuffed Breakfast Baguette," etc. Just make sure that the signature sandwich is easy to make and has a low food cost. Everyone tends to think of places by whatever food they themselves like to order, but, you have an opportunity right now to guide people into creating that image based on what you want them to like about you.

 

Oh yeah, as much as I am a believer in good bread, some customers will want to order 'protein style', so, make sure that you not only offer most of your meats on salads, you might want to try making some sort of lettuce and coldcut rollup or something.

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If all you're going to do is offer cheap and fast eats with a low startup cost then I'm not sure anybody here can be that much helpful because you'll just be buying stuff from others and slapping it on bread. If you have your own oven you can roast your own meat so it would increase your equiptment and labor costs but it might save you a lot in the long run, bump your quality up a notch and let you feature things other sub shops can't do.

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