Independent vs Corporate Restaurant Priorities

2 Comments

Where menu prices are really determined

This morning I read an article regarding the rising costs of food and how restaurants will respond.  In the article former server Charles Ferruzza finds a pair of local restaurant owners who say they will refuse to raise prices to compensate for the increase in costs.  The owners discuss absorbing the costs themselves or reducing portion sizes to keep prices constant.  While I am certain no owner was eager to have an article written about their pending price hike, there is another side to this story.  The difference in priorities between an independent owner and corporate shareholders is something that explains a great deal about the restaurant industry.

Independent restaurant owners directly profit from the money spent at their restaurants.  They have the autonomy to determine what is best for their restaurants long term.  Maintaining profitability in the long term is more important than immediate profits.  They determine how much of the profit they take as income and how much is reinvested into the restaurant.  If they are convinced that foregoing short term profits is better for the long term profitability of the restaurant, they can proceed in that manner.  This in reality is the owner offering to subsidize the guest’s meal to keep them returning.   For the individual owner of a profitable restaurant, this short term hit can be seen as a long term investment in the restaurant.

Read the full post at The Manager’s Office

Top Five Posts You Probably Missed

1 Comment

R. Charles Pennington IV is best known for his role as the Zoloft rock, but also was the lesser known character Ronnie the Roll

Being less than a week away from my 100th post has left me some time to think about how I want to recognize that milestone.  I thought about a grand countdown.  I thought  about an retrospective on all of the changes I have seen in the restaurant business in my years.  I had an idea sent to me for a very controversial point/counterpoint.  I even considered just waxing poetic on the business as a whole in a pretentious and self absorbed way.  I decided to skip that last one so as not to steal a certain someone’s shtick.

Instead I decided it was okay for me to phone a couple of these in.  100 posts in under 5 months is a pretty feverish pace for a blogger considering the size of most of my posts.  Posts that require research have hours poured into them to try and produce something worth reading.  Occasionally, I get really excited about the result.  In my opinion yesterday’s post about ranch dressing might be my favorite.  However after I finish this one, it may take that title.  My favorite generally is the one I just wrote.

Read the full story at Restaurant Laughs

Ranch Dressing and Why We Love It

3 Comments

Some people really love their ranch

When Escoffier defined his five mother sauces, he did so based on a proud culinary tradition that dated back to Careme and others.  These were flexible sauces that stood the test of time.  Fortunately, he could not predict how boring the average consumer would become.  In most modern chain restaurants the mother sauces would be redefined as marinara, alfredo, ketchup, gravy, and ranch.  It is said that if you stand perfectly still above Escoffier’s gravesite, you can actually feel him spinning.

Of these sauces the newest and most commonly used is ranch dressing.  It became America’s favorite salad dressing in 1992.  It has since only gained popularity as a dipping sauce and suspected beverage (“the lady at table 24 wants another side of ranch, what is she doing, drinking the stuff?”).  Ranch’s rise to the top is a modern day success story.  The reason behind it will change the way you look at food.

Read the full story at Foodie Knowledge

A Food Critic Intervention

15 Comments

Above My Computer

There have been several instances while writing posts for this blog where I have felt the need to place blame for the things that drive me crazy about the restaurant business.  I have always managed to stop short of that because I do not want this to be a blog that complains about the problems we are all aware of.  My mission is a little different.  I want to help servers make more money by exceeding their guests’ expectations. Whenever I find myself kvetching too much I only have too look at the Woody Guthrie quote that I keep hanging above my computer to get me back on track.

I consider myself fortunate to have worked with some great “old school” waiters who instilled in me a respect for the industry and the way things used to be.  I have heard tales of the days when people dressed for dinner, left the kids at home, and did not ask for ranch on their Caesar salads.  Since I did not cause the mass corporate casual restaurant to become the norm, I do not complain about it.  I try to adapt to a world where anyone with a yahoo username can be a food critic and hundreds of cooking shows allows everyone to consider themselves a chef de cuisine.  I do so because this is an industry that I love and respect.

Read the full post at The Manager’s Office

%d bloggers like this: