Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why I Am Not A Chef

My first office project this morning - after the daily jobs of drawer and bills - was to get our tax papers ready for our meeting with Randy on Monday.  However, before that could be started (and now of course I am still on that procrastination road, by posting here...) I needed breakfast.  Generally, on BT mornings, I make the break fast meal and generally Kevin and I sit down at the kitchen tall-top to eat together.  Sometimes though, work takes the front seat and we eat at our prospective desks - mine literally and Kevin's figuratively.  So, this morning being one of those, Kevin suggested sandwiches with the new French bread he is using on the steak sandwich - a lightly crispy crusted baguette.  Fine.  Even though the last sandwich I made was one of the worst things I've ever eaten.  I can do this.  

We have avocado and jack cheese.  We have lettuce.  We have mayo and pickles and cilantro.  We have a breakfast sandwich.

It doesn't look too bad.  Of course, as I'm putting it together I get some encouragement from the Chef.  "Put the pickles next to the bread so the juice soaks in."  "Do you want mustard?"  Anyway, it's done, and the only problem is - the avocado, as per usual, slides right off the bread with every bite you take.  That's when I hear "You should put the avocado next to the bread." 

So, while it's tasty and all that, it is not something you can eat in public, which would be a problem if I were the one deciding what to put on the menu...

As you eat, it slowly becomes a "deconstructed" sandwich, bite by bite, until the end, when it looks more like a salad than any sandwich you've ever seen before.

No more sandwiches for me.  Leave that up to the Chef.

In other news, we are glad to be back at work again.  For one thing, our credit cards are pretty much maxed out and we need the money!  ha!

No, really, it has been a good re-opening, seeing all of our customers as happy to see us as we are to see them.  We've made a few service changes, a few kitchen changes, always tweaking, always trying to make the system work better, and I think we've found improvement in a few areas.  We did have to raise a few prices, in case you didn't notice - primarily beef.  We had to finally add a dollar to the Pineland Farms strip steak, which is a historic moment, seeing as I never thought we'd see a $30 entree.  But, it was that or find a lesser quality piece of beef to serve, and I don't think our customers want that.  We also are "enforcing", if that is the right word, the charge for bread when a guest doesn't have an entree.  It's been on the menu for awhile, the caveat that large plates include bread service and otherwise it's a la carte, but we haven't really been consistent in ringing it in that way.  Now we are.  The butter alone costs an average of 15 cents per ramekin, and that is just the basic cost of that product - not the hidden costs of cutting, serving, washing etc.  And, of course, that doesn't include the bread!  We figure in the cost of bread service when we price out the large plates, but because some people have a small plate as an appetizer and then a large plate entree, we don't want to charge them double for bread and butter.  So, bread service is a la carte when someone orders a small plate as their entree, if they want it.  Seems fair.  And heck, it's only 50 cents.  It covers our costs and it is delicious bread. 

Sometimes this may seem like "nickle-and-diming" (and we do that too! - but mostly with regards to the staff and their use of towels and cocktail napkins or getting the last drop out of the mayonnaise jug and such)  but much of this does add up over time.  As you know, raising prices is a very touchy issue.  For one thing, we are already perceived as "expensive" enough. We can't blame it on Iran or The Government.  (wait a minute...) The fact is, we never want to raise overall prices; we only want to recover our costs for those miscellaneous charges that occur over and over.  If we can target a specific expense, and can change a price to cover that single item without making everyone "pay", that seems to be the best way.  

Have we ever seen menu prices go down?  

1 comment:

  1. can make me one of those sandwiches any day...constructed or deconstructed. I'm so glad you are back....great post. See you in April. Shari