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gfron1

Starting a high profile new restaurant (after closing another)

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After tonight's dinner service we're making a big change.  I don't see entertaining guests safely indoors until late spring early summer of next year. And I'm tired of doing Plan B. So I've created a new Plan A - something unique and fun, and that allows me to do what I do best - the stories. I'll post more details later, but thought I'd give you all the advanced peek.

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Great "out of the box" concept. Don't stop. YES long haul!

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13 hours ago, MokaPot said:

Sounds good, @gfron1. What kinds of items are you planning to have in your "Pantry Essentials"?

Here's our current list. The idea is primarily the things we make in house for the restaurant. We debated eggs and flours since we're completely locally sourced, but I don't think that's how people will use us so we're not adding that to our list.

Grocery:

Breakfast

Biscuits & Gravy (You bake ‘em) $16

Yogurt & granola (House made yogurt) $6.50

Quiche, vegetarian (9”) $15

 

Dessert - these have same descriptions as current

Ice cream pt or qt $6 $10 (note that we won’t offer sundae kit anymore)

Cookie survival pack (4) $12

 

Pantry 

Beet bbq sauce, 12oz $8

Fermented hot sauce, 4oz $6

Foraged sweet and tart BBQ rub, 4oz $5

Rhubarb ketchup, 12oz $8

Strawberry vinegar, 4oz $6

Pawpaw vinegar, 4oz $6

 

Bar

Cocktails 

  • ‘Curse of Gin’ Cocktail, (Stinging Nettle Cordial, 1220 Origin Gin, dry vermouth, serves 4 $35

  • ‘Turkey in the Straw’ Cocktail, (Ezra Brooks Bourbon, honey syrup, fabricated lemon, rhubarb shrub) serves 4 $40

  • Bourbon/Peach Cocktail, serves 4 $35

  • Tequila Cocktail, serves 4 $30

Wine

  • Red Wine of the Day, $20 or $45 for Premium bottle

  • White Wine of the Day, $20 or $45 for Premium bottle

  • Rosé of the Day, $25

 

Beer

  • Six Mile Bridge Bavarian Hefeweizen Wheat Ale, 16 oz can $8

  • UCBC Nomadic Chai Stout, 16oz can $10

  • 4 Hands ‘Passion Fruit Prussia’ Berliner Weisse, 12oz can $8

  • Six Mile Bridge Double Berry Berliner Weisse with blackberries and raspberries, 16 oz can $8

Shrubs - individual or 3-pack for $15, cocktail recipes included 

  • Rhubarb Shrub, 4oz $6

  • Peach x Basil Shrub, 4oz $6

  • Berry x Mint Shrub, 40z $6

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Scary times to be in business. I hope you thrive through all this.

 

Are you doing outdoor service for now?

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This looks great, Rob!  Ian Boden is doing something very similar (less the in-car dining) at his restaurant, The Shack, near me.  I have greatly enjoyed being able to get a taste of his cooking right now, as well as picking up Edwards bacon and Anson Mills rice grits.  I hope it works well for you!

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3 hours ago, donk79 said:

This looks great, Rob!  Ian Boden is doing something very similar (less the in-car dining) at his restaurant, The Shack, near me.  I have greatly enjoyed being able to get a taste of his cooking right now, as well as picking up Edwards bacon and Anson Mills rice grits.  I hope it works well for you!

The car is critical to the plan. It provides a sheltered environment that allows the guest to feel safe, protected from the elements, and controlling the environment so we can interact through video and zoom.

7 hours ago, gfweb said:

Scary times to be in business. I hope you thrive through all this.

Are you doing outdoor service for now?

Only car. No outdoor is available near us.

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Here's the slide set we're using on social media in the sequence below. One fun addition that my FOH manager came up with is ... well, here let me show you the sequence that we've worked out - it'll be easier than explaining:

 

1. Arrival - text to let us know who they are.

2. Welcome video sent that explains how things will work, what to do if they need the bathroom, ways to communicate with staff, clarify drinks for the night.

3. First course sent out. QRC code attached to tray and link sent to phones for those who don't know how to use a QRC. Link opens the first video of me describing the course and the history. Near the end of the video I'll clickbait a section of our Pantry menu to encourage them to go shopping while dining - sorta like we used to do on airplanes back in the day. Likely the take-home drink section of the Pantry menu will be presented here.

4. They text us for pickup of empty tray.

5. 2nd course sent out with same system; this time the teaser/link will focus on our hot sauces and vinegars on the Pantry menu. 

6. Text for dirty pickup.

7. 3rd course - same as above with cookbook or other stuff.

8. Text for dirty pickup.

9. Final course. On this one we'll tease the breakfast items on the menu so they can enjoy Bulrush/Squatters Cafe food in the morning.

10. Text for dirt pickup - and this time we also deliver any purchased Pantry items. Pantry is purchased through our delivery app so they'll enter a credit card which means no payment will be necessary.

11. Final video - thank you, solicit feedback, stay safe.

12. Final complete detailed menu sent via email.

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I have to note you discriminate against those of us who have neither cars nor cellphones.  Though perhaps we are not your target demographic.

 

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Wow kudos. A LOT of thought put into it and clear enough to engage people. Best of luck!

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38 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I have to note you discriminate against those of us who have neither cars nor cellphones.  Though perhaps we are not your target demographic.

That's what the delivery option is for. As I said to a friend earlier - we've eliminated pretty much every excuse, but most importantly, we've done it on our terms instead of being a victim to circumstance.

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52 minutes ago, gfron1 said:

That's what the delivery option is for. As I said to a friend earlier - we've eliminated pretty much every excuse, but most importantly, we've done it on our terms instead of being a victim to circumstance.

 

I'm sorry!  I missed that.

 

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This looks like a nice way to try to stay a step or two ahead of the game -- I'm glad to see you planning for a long haul. I fear that those who are desperately trying to return to normalcy as soon as possible are going to get burned (if they haven't already). Maybe I need to rent an RV for my next trip to STL, though - I don't like eating in the car!

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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33 minutes ago, Chris Hennes said:

This looks like a nice way to try to stay a step or two ahead of the game -- I'm glad to see you planning for a long haul. I fear that those who are desperately trying to return to normalcy as soon as possible are going to get burned (if they haven't already). Maybe I need to rent an RV for my next trip to STL, though - I don't like eating in the car!

 

So a user friendly car eating kit is on deck?  I mean what ya keep in the car.  I read it somewhere in a Marlena de Blasi book.

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Modern fine dining with storytelling all wrapped up in the nostalgia of the drive-in. I like it.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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17 minutes ago, heidih said:

 

So a user friendly car eating kit is on deck?  I mean what ya keep in the car.  I read it somewhere in a Marlena de Blasi book.

I think we'll have a lot of refining to do, but a tray that is solid, comfortable, but not so wide that you can't have it on your lap behind a steering wheel. A high quality disposable dishes (mostly palm leaf and bamboo). Stainless cups that are beveled to fit in cup holders. That's our starting point.

 

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19 minutes ago, gfron1 said:

I think we'll have a lot of refining to do, but a tray that is solid, comfortable, but not so wide that you can't have it on your lap behind a steering wheel. A high quality disposable dishes (mostly palm leaf and bamboo). Stainless cups that are beveled to fit in cup holders. That's our starting point.


It's kinda scary, having to invest in reinventing how you do things. It's one of the two reasons our dining room is still closed despite having the ok to open them under specific conditions (the other reason being, we're kinda doing a wait-and-see until we have a clearer picture of what the eased restrictions are going to mean in regards to the virus). But with it being clear now that this isn't going to be even a relatively short-term event, it's reaching the point where some reinventing is unavoidable. As soon as other local restaurants dive into opening up their dining rooms, we're going to have to play along. So far, takeout has exceeded anything we could have hoped for but that's not gonna hold up when dining in is an option elsewhere.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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