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bripastryguy

dessert size

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Last night I got a call from that pain in the ass chef (the one that causes me all the headaches) I went from being his employee to his dessert supplier. 1 guest complained "How dare he charge $5.95 for 2 bites of tiramisu!" , I listened to him , but was cursing him in head.

I use these rapid molds purshased from Kerekes they are 4 oz. individual round molds, pretty much standard in our realm. I have 3 sets (105 molds in all) as well I have other shapes.

4 oz. production molds

My Tiramisu is flavored intense, so what do I do? change the size for this one guy (I'm only charging him $1.75 each). I have costed them out for this size. I really want to tell this guy that this is one customers opinion and that you cant expect to please everybody, no one else has complained except him and this customer. I feel the problem is he does nothing to the desserts, puts it on a plate with sauce and calls it a day.

The real question-on both sides of the spectrum, as a pastry chef are these too small (or perfect) and to the consumers, would you make the same complaint? When is a dessert considered too small?


Edited by bripastryguy (log)

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Hey Bripastryguy,

I know of what size mold you are talking about. I believe Steve Klc spoke about them in a thread a couple of weeks ago started by Sinclair. I , personally, think they are a good size for a dessert, but I would also have added a garnish of some sort to improve the plate presentation and to warrant $5.95 ( I know that is out of your hands since you are selling to this chef as a supplier , and not working as his employee.)

4 to 5 oz. servings seem very reasonable to me. But this also depends on style of restaurant. Upscale, fine dining shouldn't have, I believe, big dessert portions, like casual ones usually do ( TGIFridays, Chili's), since the desserts are of higher quality and therefore more expensive to produce (from an ingredient and skill aspect)

All my main dessert components are in this range and I to ,have heard some grumblings, but I justify the size of my desserts by telling my boss and waitstaff that I see dessert as a mini or smaller aspect of a guest's dining experience, not a full course.( This usually is followed by me saying - " Smaller portions = more dessert sales, which = higher check average, which = MORE DINERO")

Take care

Mckayinutah (Jason McCarthy)

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bripastryguy I can relate to that statement.I had a new waiter come into

the kitchen to let me know about a customers dissatisfaction on the doneness of the salmon,apparently undercooked.I said not a problem,

bring me the plate and I will correct the problem and cook it a little more.

My waiter said,no no the customer has eaten all the salmon,they would like a new order,because it wasn't to her liking.Some customers you just can't please,and some are freeloaders.And trust me your ex-boss,is trying you on for sure.IMO


Edited by Oreganought (log)

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Bripastryguy --- I am not a PC, but from this consumer's viewpoint the 4 ounce size looks fine. As Mckayinutah pointed out, there may be a sales advantage in smaller portions. I have often not ordered dessert in the past due to the huge portions.

So why not approach this by puting on your consultant hat and helping your chef-customer analyze what might prompt this kind of response from a diner, and what can be done to satisfy most (not all) of them. In other words, without becoming defensive, diplomatically explain or show him how garnish can set the dessert off aesthetically and give more perceived value. This is assuming this is a fine dining restaurant.

Richard

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I agree with all of mckay's points. Other factors are the dessert pricing relative to the rest of the menu and the size of your desserts relative to others at the same price that are not done by you (if any). As a consumer, another fator I would consider is that no mattter how well made/flavored, tiramisu is sort of a ho hum dessert. I would be much more willing to accept small portion sizes in a dessert that is more exotic or unique.

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I think your price is right on, but his isn't. Restaurants that deal with straight numbers like x3 don't take into account other factors. They can trap themselves into mediocre products or making everything in house. And a hot chef that doesn't bake, baking horrible desserts just so they can get x3 is stupid.

This is a fight/point I have yet to get across to a place that lives and dies by numbers. Why not be open to pricing some purchased items x2 (instead of 3) when it increases your sales because of quality and has a larger profit margin then a less then stellar product they're selling at x3? For example you can sell ice cream on a banquet and turn a 1.00 profit per item or sell a tiramisu that cost you 2.oo to buy in but you sell it for 4.50 which is a 2.5x more profit then that scoop of ice cream gives you. You don't have added effort, you have a better item, why not?

Next topic: I've struggled with the 4 oz size. It doesn't look good on a plate. Even with accompaniment....a strawberry looks huge next to it. Instead I'd rather use stainless steel rings, they're bigger.

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Value and how it relates to size is what every restaurant over does but the top elite restaurants who know better. Everyone is selling huge portions, hense forth most dinners as so full they couldn't possible eat dessert too. If the restaurant is serving big portions everywhere pluss stuffing you with free bread it makes a normal size portion look cheap.

Still a 4oz dessert made in a production mold looks small on a dessert plate!! It's better on a dinner plate, with garnishes. (artisy vs. plain)

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Richard,

I am behind you with the constructive thing but this guy doesnt want to do anything. He wants it all done for him. The guy that he has working the dessert/salad station is for lack of a better word-incapable (nice guy, but too slow and no memory retention), he burns tuiles, overcooks sauces(anglaise) and he even has him doing breads. So this dessert plater is spread thin and cant keep up with the production he has allready.

One major problem with this client is his portion size on his appetizers and entrees, they are too big! When guests do order dessert ( I think he has a 10%) dessert sale, but he offers dessert included in his $23.95 3 course prix fixe. I have told him on numerous occasions that his portion size is killing his potential dessert sales.....how do I make him understand. I dont want to have to purchase new equipment just to make HIM happy, (I just spent alot of money on the equipment I have).

I think my best bet is to sell him 10" cakes, terrines, and other similar items that he can decide on his own portion size.

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Got the picture. Partly he is trying to get you to fix a problem that he is unwilling to deal with --- the dessert/salad guy. I think you can still take a consultant role with him and lay out the options (which I assume you already have), including the 10-inch-you-portion-it item, and let him choose. (Although from my personal view, I think going from artful to a slice of cake would be a mistake for a fine restaurant.)

From his perspective he also may be anxious about reducing the size of the appetizers for fear of displeasing those who are accostomed to them. He may be so focused on pleasing customers by large portions, that he will not focus on other aesthetics or on managing employee issues. In which case there is little you can do, except not take his complaints personally.

And if he "wants it all done for him" you have to charge him for that. One of his options. Apologies for stating the obvious.

Richard

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Richard,

He is a whole new thread entirely. He is not a fine dining restaurant, he wants to be labeled as the neighborhood bistro

Toque An American Bistro

, so I think the "you portion it" may be the way I have to go with him.

I know, Tiramisu is ho hum, but its still sells just like creme brulee

I like the size of the 4 oz. deserts, but they may not be for him, I do have some pvc 3" that i will be forced to use. I dont want to have to alter my whole dessert line


Edited by bripastryguy (log)

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Of course they'll be lots of guys like that.

If you own a digital camera you should think of shooting product shots of an arranged plate using your individual desserts. Give the brain dead or the dessert challenged chefs some ideas. Use garnishes they can buy from Uster or something realitively cheap they can reproduce easily.

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I'm in the process of setting up my brochure I will post pix asap.

The problem with this guy is that he wants to spend $90.00 on jeans (we're friends, so I have spent time with him) then $20.00 on a silpat. I know that's his problem, but having him as a client seems to make it mine.

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and no reflection on you, brian, but suggest the guy get a spell-checking program.

"Chardonary"? "Enteree?" "Monteray?"

eek.

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All of this underscores my primary concern with regard to wholesale desserts, especially plated desserts...

To what extent do you maintain control of your product, and by extension, your reputation? What compromises are you willing to make in order to please the client and make the sale?

And perhaps a catch-22 situation... is it worth, as a wholesaler, trying to deal with a chef or company that isn't willing to hire an in-house pastry chef in the first place?!

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Michael,

I'm not really understanding your reply.

Zilla,

I know, the spelling is horrible, he did the site bargain basement style. and my last name only has 1 n in it.

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Michael makes a good point

With your name on the menu , your reputation is on the line and you dont have control of the plated product,

they could take your great product but present it horrible

making you look bad..

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I'll put in my two cents as a consumer. Small is fine as long as the flavor and quality are great. I agree that a huge slab of dessert is just too much after a big meal but a small taste of something sweet to follow up the meal is essential for me to feel satisfied. And if the quality is there, I'm willing to pay for it.

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1st, portion size I think is good. Plus if you have them in pvc, you would end up spending more time (read less money for actual owner) on taking them out. The molds you have are designed well and the extractor thing (lack of a better word) makes taking the dessert out much easier. I would explain your concern with the manager about the portion size if you feel up to it, but personally, people are set in their ways about sizes most of the time. I would change up the garnish and make some things bigger visually (please no skyscraper dessert!). And please he is complaining about $5 for a dessert?!!!! Tell him to go to chili's and get something that some teenager has slapped on a plate for that!

Visually I would possibly change up the top appearance. With our molds we have the ladyfingers in a diagonal around the side (we use same mold/size). One thing I would change that we do is for the top. I would like to use a comb and wave it on the top, then take the finest strainer and dust the cocoa on top. Plus the cocoa dusting wouldn't take rocket science to apply and visually look more upscale. You can obviously play around with it.

I agree about the recognition as well. If they seriously want the money deserved for the great tasting product, there needs to be some uniformity to the desserts. If you are offering pretty much the same dessert day in and out, they should look identical every time or with the same style at least. If there is no basic quality control, I can kind of understand if a substandard dessert made it to a customer that someone would complain. Atleast you could definately suggest this! BTW, how awful, he can't even spell your name right on the website?!!! :hmmm:

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All suggestions taken. I think for the time being I will coddle this guy, his referrel potential is huge for my business (he has alot of friends that he can "suggest" to buy my product, he was actually soliciting a possible account last night)

So my temporary solution would be just to make his portion size alittle bigger (not much but enough to make him happy) even though only one guest complained about the size of the Tiramisu.

I guess for alittle inconvenience to eventually get some more acconts out of him, I think its the "Attract more bees with honey" syndrome......

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Bri--you're a wholesaler now, right? What's your name doing on the menu still? Any client of yours who is outsourcing the tiramisu from you, should instruct their servers to say "we get our tiramisu from xyz baking, isn't it fantastic?" (Or whatever name you have chosen for your business.)

As long as your product is good, you've accomplished a lot. I wouldn't get involved with handholding a client--with the extra "consulting" some have suggested because that isn't your core business now. You are not being paid by this guy as a consultant. Your core business is wholesaling pretty good, fresh desserts to restaurants who don't want to hire a pastry chef for $8 an hour let alone 30 or 35K.

So offer the rapi-mold version at a price that works for you, buy slightly larger molds and offer a plus size--at a plus price--for guys like this--offer a big round version for clients who want the retro layer cake look--again, at a price that works for you--AND maybe offer a full sheet version. So in the case of this guy he can buy the full sheet and slice off huge squares if he wants to serve huge squares of your tiramisu. But let him order, let him make the choice and let him deal with his complaints. You cash his check.

But you charge the price that works for all these options. Yes there is client schmoozing, but the reality is you will waste time and resources coddling this guy unless you charge for that. If you have faith in yourself and your product--and how it shapes up in your market--you will be fine. You have to remember you aren't an employee of this guy anymore. You are doing business with him now.

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Steve,

Your advice is always so damn solid. If anybody thinks he should finally open a pastry school say Ay!

I would surely attend as so would many of our egullet peers.

I will evaluate your advice. I think the "plus" size idea is a strong solution.

I am getting larger molds (using pvc with acetate liner-most cost effective for me right now)

I was also toying with the idea of selling "strips" Cut sheet pans of prepared cakes into equal strips, good for banquets, tasting plates and chefs who have their own notion of portion size.

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Steve,

Your advice is always so damn solid. If anybody thinks he should finally open a pastry school say Ay!

I would surely attend as so would many of our egullet peers.

AY!!!!

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