Sunday, August 26, 2012


A wonderful debate would commence if I only asked the following, "What is the single most important activity that restaurant ownership must immerce themselves in that is essential to their continuing success?" 

Their is a long list of activities that would be put forward: personnel, food quality, cleanliness, sanitation, administration and customer relations, etc., etc. But the single most important in my experience is: THE MENU!

The menu touches every aspcect of a restaurant's success. Here is my listing of important reasons:
1. Meeting the market needs.
2. Pricing that represents the potential cash flow.
3. The kitchen's staff and equipment's ability to produce skillfully and quickly.
4. Staffing requrements, front and back of the house.
5. Creativity to present and address the current popular treads and tastes.
6. Present signature item.
7. Recognize seasonality and calendar celebrations.
8. A demonstration of the coordination and team work between all staff  
9. Recognizes the customers dietary needs and the Owners ability to adjust and
10. Profit is the result of skilled menu planning; pricing, portions, salesmanship.

Most Operators DO NOT spend sufficient time on this activity.


On a recent trip to Calgary, it was Stampede Week, we were told that check-in time was 3 p.m. Now tell me, do all guests vacant their rooms precisely at the checkout time of say 11 a.m.? Do Room Maids only start to make up rooms when all the guests have left? Do rooms become available for use as they are being made-up?

If they do become available on a staggered basis then why not make them available for to guests on a staggered basis?

Is this another convenience for the Management; easier to say "NOT UNTIL 3 PM." This was the case at The Travel Lodge Hotel on the The McCloud Trail in Calgary.


There was a time that the cooking staff in restaurants and kitchen were on the lower end of the hierachy in the organization chart of foodservice operations except perhaps in Hotels. 

Things have certainly changed. The CHEF is the king or queen, They rule the roost and it is their name that receives the attention. They produce the signature items and in many cases they are the signature.

If a Chef is fully responsible for the food operation's success, should this responsibility not include the following:
1. Teamwork and training between the front and back of the house?
2. Profitability, food cost, labour cost and inventory control?
3. Menu creativity?

Many Chefs are concerned with self grandizment, looking for more credentials and their next move on to the brighter spotlight. Many times leaving their previous position without recipes, and trained staff to carry on.

Loyalty is a contentious subject and works both ways but if the quality of the industry is to continue to progress it will not be by graduating finger painting Chefs or Food Network Stars only!


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