The process of menu development starts with a phone call, or an in person consultation where we can discuss your vision. I then give you ideas of which directions you can go, with a focus on logistical efficiency and excellence in quality. Once I have a good idea of this, I offer several options of menu items and we arrange a tasting. Moving forward, once you decide on the items you like, we then talk about staff training, efficiency, and cost analysis. For existing restaurants you may want someone to just come in and tweak things here and there, or create a few new dishes. In this case, I would first work with the owner of the restaurant and then the chef, balancing the abilities of the resident chef with the expectations and desires of the owner. It is important that whatever dreams you have can be carried out fully by the team that is in place. I also have the years of experience needed to advise you on the correct menu items for off site as well as in house venue catering and events. Each type of event is different from weddings to celebrities, corporate events and everything in between. Talk with me to find out what the best dishes and styles of service are to make your catering program stress free and profitable.
This can be a short or a long process, depending upon how many iterations and menus you want to try. Some clients know exactly what they want, and some can need more options. More often than not, existing restaurants that are hiring a consultant have a pretty good idea of what is wrong with their current menu, or what they want to add to it. Either way, I am happy to work with you until the product is perfect. Afterwards one of the deliverables you receive are fully worked out exact recipes with how-to instructions printed in a booklet, as well as online on Google Docs. If you are an existing restaurant that wants to start a catering program, most likely it is just a process of developing the techniques of transportation and service to ensure that your product is just as good as in your restaurant. If on the other hand you are starting a new catering business from scratch, logistics and efficiency are way more important in catering than in restaurants, and this is taken into consideration very seriously with every menu item you add.
DECOR AND DESIGN
Although I am not a professional designer, I have dined in many of the worlds finest restaurants and have a good eye for what looks good and what does not. I am happy to give my opinion if needed. That being said, my emphasis and style is always on efficiency and function over form. Sometimes I am hired to do an organization of existing kitchens and restaurants, which is something I specialize in. Want to make your kitchen more clean and minimalist? More efficient? I'm the guy for you. I have a lot of opinions of what looks good for catering, and how to design displays to wow your guests. If you want examples of this, just look at some of my events on social media. I love flowers, wood, rustic themes, as well as some high quality plastics, metal, and glass. I can design a look for you that matches your vibe whether you are a high end catering company offering black tie weddings, or a corporate lunch caterer doing drop offs.
BAR MENU DESIGN
Let's work together to design a bar menu that is right for you. Although this is not my speciality, I can absolutely help you with the basics. If you need advanced cocktail design, I am happy to point you in the direction of some great high end companies that I work with.
You may just need someone just to make things more efficient and work out cost analysis, which I can easily do for you. On the other hand, catering bar programs are very different from restaurant bar programs. There are lots of options for this logistically, including sub contracting this to another vendor to minimize your complexity. If you choose to take on bar catering in house, there are specific legal restrictions, rules, and regulations that I am well versed in, and can help you navigate. Designing signage, cocktails, as well as training bar staff is the easy part.
In some respect, this is at the core of everything that I do. As a caterer, efficiency is key to surviving in an industry that demands multiple menus delivered and presented to several venues at the same time. As a foodie and lover of restaurants, I hate when I have to wait too long for my food, or I notice confusion or disorganization in the staff. Let's fix that together by creating strong systems that will prevent this from ever happening. For restaurants that are already functioning, it is in some ways easier for me to see where the problems are. The experience of dining at any restaurant should be enjoyable for the guests. If systems are not strongly in place, workers who are good intentioned can easily loose motivation to stay organized and your restaurant can bleed money over time.
If this is what you came to me for, then you certainly found the right consultant. My catering business has suffered for many years before I made literally every mistake possible before I figured out the correct way to do things. There are simple ways that you can avoid dumb mistakes and bending over backwards for demanding clients. There is also a standard format that most catering companies use to carry out their events. Let's work together to explore the types of catering systems that work effectively, to then break down what you like and don't like about the various systems. It is important to not re-invent the wheel if you don't have to.
For new restaurants this is very important. Beginning with all your staff on the same page is critical for your restaurant getting off to the right start. If there is not good management in place, everything falls apart. I will not only train your staff and make sure they are up to par, but I can also help you find staff to train, as well as provide you with a full printed training manual for future management and training. For restaurants that just want to add a few extra dishes to their menu, I find it is much easier to train staff to fix problems or learn new dishes then to cook from scratch. At the end of the day however, it is the responsibility of the owners to continue to make sure the restaurant is run correctly over time. On the other hand, the interesting thing about training catering staff is that there is already a huge network in place of staffing companies that already exists. What you do need however are strong captains. The captains are the front of the house management at the wedding or event, that takes care of the complex timing and logistical challenges of the day. If we can train a few good captains, then you can hire temp staff for your events.