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gfron1

Starting a high profile new restaurant (after closing another)

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2 hours ago, gfron1 said:

And for those of you who have been patient you can finally see what the golf tees are for

 

So that's a tri-dimensional chess table! Trekkers will rejoice!

 

 

 

Teo

 

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2 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

When you have a moment,  a couple of questions based on previous discussions here.  First, what did you decide to do about music?  From listening to some of Dave Arnold's rants on Cooking Issues, it seems like such a difficult thing to manage both control and rights. 

I have a well-trained, commercially licensed pandora station that uses Brett Dennen as my starting point. All songs are mid-tempo, mid-pitch, with only about one in 10 being popular enough to be recognized. We've been testing various volumes to try to encourage  noise, but not so much that folks have to yell to hear each other.

 

And as for those "golf tees," don't worry yourself too much. Nothing will fall off them. They are simply for serving macaron, bonbon, caramels and such. That area is an add-on for post-dinner.

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They almost look like mushrooms popping up from the forest floor (a foraging theme!). Just beautiful.

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2 hours ago, Toliver said:

They almost look like mushrooms popping up from the forest floor (a foraging theme!). Just beautiful.

 

That was my first thought as well ... such a lovely sight, especially with dimmed light. Bit of a fairy tale forest feeling !

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Two weeks of service under our belt and we're settling in pretty quickly. Last night was packed in the dining room and Justin and I handled the crowd efficiently. The biggest challenge we're facing right now is for our Bev Mngr to keep up with pairings. In a traditional restaurant with servers this room would be broken up between at least two servers, but for us, Justin and I set and clear, and Chris, our Bev Mngr, handles all things liquid with the support of our Hospitality Lead/Hostess. We're not too far off what we need for service quality, but it just takes one person to talk to Chris as he's preparing drinks at the bar to slow him down enough to clunk up the works. I think much of that is simply learning each others' pacing/timing. Justin and I already have that down having worked together for two plus years, but Chris is a new pacing.  The other thing that is happening is folks lingering. We're mostly fine with that (after all we did set things up for people to watch and engage with us), but I think its a bigger issue of us needing to do something to help guests know that the experience is over and they can leave or move out to the bar. We do all the normal things like deliver the ticket and receipts, clear dishes, verbally thank...but at least half are hanging out as if they're waiting for something else - so we're working on our speech at the end of the night.

 

Next up is getting more people to eat at the bar. The press is most excited by the tasting menu, but we crafted a bar menu that can grab equal attention, yet we've only had maybe a half dozen bar diners a night so far.

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Can you get local bloggers to talk up the bar menu/experience? As to to the linngering - you might have to be more assertive "would you like to check out great lounge with complimentary coffee?. We have another reservtion at this table"   Service issues - like any marriage/relationship there is a settling in period. until the dance is perfected.

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17 hours ago, gfron1 said:

The biggest challenge we're facing right now is for our Bev Mngr to keep up with pairings. In a traditional restaurant with servers this room would be broken up between at least two servers, but for us, Justin and I set and clear, and Chris, our Bev Mngr, handles all things liquid with the support of our Hospitality Lead/Hostess. We're not too far off what we need for service quality, but it just takes one person to talk to Chris as he's preparing drinks at the bar to slow him down enough to clunk up the works. I think much of that is simply learning each others' pacing/timing.

 

Are you preparing each drink from scratch for each party (a party of 4 reaches course #3, so your Bev Mngr prepares those 4 drinks from scratch at the last minute), or are you working on a whole batch basis (pick the bottle and pour it in the glass at the last moment)? Since you are a perfectionist aiming for top quality then I assume your goal is to make everything from scratch for each course for each party, but working with a ready-made batch is not a compromise by default, there are cases where the drink matures and gets better. So I would try to work more on that side, given that with your business model you know in advance what customers will be getting at your table. When you will have high turnover at the bar you'll be "forced" to hire another person, so things will get smoother.

 

 

 

17 hours ago, gfron1 said:

The other thing that is happening is folks lingering. We're mostly fine with that (after all we did set things up for people to watch and engage with us), but I think its a bigger issue of us needing to do something to help guests know that the experience is over and they can leave or move out to the bar. We do all the normal things like deliver the ticket and receipts, clear dishes, verbally thank...but at least half are hanging out as if they're waiting for something else - so we're working on our speech at the end of the night.

 

Maybe you can try saying something like "the Ozark winds are blowing behind the trees, where you will find rivers and crops" and point to the bar area behind the stylized trees. Put it like "we have other things for you there", not like "get out of here", of course. If my memory is right you are giving the printed menu on the Chinese takeout box with some goodies inside, so you are really giving something else to your customers if you do that at the bar and they do not order anything more.

 

 

 

17 hours ago, gfron1 said:

Next up is getting more people to eat at the bar. The press is most excited by the tasting menu, but we crafted a bar menu that can grab equal attention, yet we've only had maybe a half dozen bar diners a night so far.

 

Seems like a normal thing, since you built the hype on the tasting menu and the bar clientele is a different one to target. I wouldn't see this as a negative things, you have more room to fine tune your service pace. If you are facing some service troubles now, then those troubles would be much bigger had the bar been full.

You have great value for price at the bar, so it's just a matter of time and word of mouth (which is the best advertising). Give a couple of months to the casual clientele to come and spread word, then you'll be full, so you will face the exact opposite problem. And that's the time when the second restaurant bug will start to grow!

 

 

 

Teo

 

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