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Old 02-24-2006, 02:17 AM   #1
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New restaurant idea or concept?

I wasn't sure where to put this so I hope I have the correct place.

I want to open my own restaurant. I'd prefer something small, simple, and take-out ONLY for now. As I look around my area, we have the usuall MD's, BK, KFC, Taco Bell, asian stir fry places, pizza places, Arbys, etc. etc. You know the same old stuff we see day in and day out. But I want to open something different, something unique, something you don't find on every corner. One thing we don't have a lot of is Gyro places. There are a couple around town. But I also want a simple menu too. As you can tell I want to start small and simple and then grow, but I need an untapped market or product.
Since this is the internet and all of you are around the globe I was wondering if anyone could share any unique type of restaurants OR foods in your area, that you don't see or find anywhere else when you travel.
How many times have we traveled and said "this area sure would be perfect "this" kind of restaurant. It would do good business here."

~thanks all !!!!!
PS- I'm very serious about this. I love to cook and I want to do it for a living. I want to build something I can pass on to my daughter when I retire.



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Old 02-24-2006, 02:24 AM   #2
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hmm... german food is not so suitable to take away.. it would be a possibility.. but it's not so easy...
but I will think of it ;o)

LiGruess cara ~~~ Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"
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Old 02-24-2006, 02:52 AM   #3
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I was stationed in Berlin Germany when I was in the Army back in the day and there was this place just outside our barracks. It was a take-out only place and they specialized in Doner Kababs (Gyros), and a couple other things that I can say but don't know how to spell. I have thought of German food many, many, times, as I lived in Berlin for almost 4 years and loved the crusine.
I just am not to sure if it would be successfull in goold ole' Michigan-USA, so I thought what better way than to put a posting here on DC and see if I get any other ideas.
BTW, I am in no way looking to "strike it rich", I just want to cook for a living as long as I can and run a successfull business and be my own boss. The best of both worlds!
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Old 02-24-2006, 03:04 AM   #4
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I love doener kebap, but it's not typical german
if you take care of good quality it can be quite sucessful - here in Germany...
we get something from our fav place at least once a week.. two doener kebap and a lahmacun...
it is not the nearest place, but the best we have found do far in Hannover...

typical german would be:
Schnitzel in any variation, mostly with french fries
maybe Haxen
half chicken
potatoe salad (can be used as a side order)
Krautsalat (side order, too)
liver loaf
LiGruess cara ~~~ Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"
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Old 02-24-2006, 03:19 AM   #5
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I think whatever you decide on it should be something that you are passionate about and love to cook. It would be all fine and dandy if everyone here told you to start up a sushi place, but if you arent into sushi yourself, what is the point?

You said you were stationed in Germany and like the cuisene... so I'd say go with that! Whenever people are successful in business ventures its usually because they are going with what they know and love.

I think a German take-out place could do quite well... no matter the location. I know lots of people that love donairs, bratwurst, etc. and it would definitely be unique!
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Old 02-24-2006, 03:21 AM   #6
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I remember the curry's, half henchens, doner kabobs, Schnitzel's, pom frites (fries) with the little plastic fork and mayo, and my all time favorite was the bulettens. (please excuse my spelling I know I'm probably way off on some of these). I loved those bulettens. Was it like a mini meatloaf patty or burger or something? I would dip it in ketchup. mmmmmm, nummy stuff. I think they put curry powder on it too? I can't remember. Do you know what it was?
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Old 02-24-2006, 03:28 AM   #7
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Buletten are great - the way me mon does it...
don`t have her recipe..
it is usually made of ground meat half - half (half beef, half pork), onions, eggs, breadcrumbs and spices...
if you want to have a recipe, I will look for it....
typical german would be having them with mustard ;o)
LiGruess cara ~~~ Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"
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Old 02-24-2006, 03:41 AM   #8
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yes, I would love the recipe!!!! ~thanks !!!!
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Old 02-24-2006, 03:51 AM   #9
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The following is a response that I wrote to a poster who was asking a question about menu planning. In your case, there's a lot more on your plate. This response was to a person whom was already in culinary school so several things where assumed that he would eventually learn, such as food costs, inventory control, pricing points, menu costs, etc. For instance, if I asked you to price a dish at a 28% food cost would you be able to do it? Opening a restaurant is a monumental task, and knowing how to cook is only about 10% of the involvement that'd you're have.

Regarding recipes, you can get the best "tried and true" recipes but can you put them out in both a consistent and timely manner? Do you know how to properly set up a station or line so that it can run in the most efficient manner?

Ok basically, there's obviously several factors you need to consider:

  • Location - Is this a factor in planning your menu? For instance, would you open up a fine dining French Restaurant in an area where most people prefer buffets or bbq style food? Unless you're a well known chef, probably not.
  • Clientele - Who are you primarily catering to? Families? Young Couples? Big spenders? Bargain hunters? Foodies? Location plays a big part in determining this as well
  • Price Range - You need to know what the majority of people frequenting your restaurant can afford.
  • Theme - Are you going to focus on one style of food or are you going to put everything under the sun on your menu a la Cheesecake Factory?
  • Verbiage - When you write out your dishes, do they sound appealing? Ask others to read them as well and ask them if they find the items appealing. Often times, good dishes get overlooked or ignored on menus because guests don't think that they'll taste good because of the way it is presented. Look at different menus (there's a ton online) from different restaurants. Which ones feel well written to you and which don't?
  • Balance - Do you have a good mixture of starters and entrees? This should be directly comparable to the size of the restaurant and the amount of covers you're expected to do. You don't want to have 20 different appetizers on your menu when you only do about 100-150 covers a night. You'll have too much waste and too high of a food cost.
  • Cross-Utilization - This is a big pet peeve for Chef-Instructors. For instance, if you're bringing in fresh Diver Scallops to use in an appetizer, is there another item on the menu which can utilize these if the appetizer dish is not selling?
  • Station Balance - If you have 15 entrees on the menu, is the saute station going to be responsible for 13 of them? This isn't THAT important, but something to consider. You don't want your saute guy getting killed every night while the grill/broiler cook is just standing around.
  • Availability of Items - Are you going to bring in fresh tuna every day or two even if the price is astronomical? Remember that menu items need to be priced accordingly with your plate costs.
Of course there are other factors to consider as well, but cover these basics first so that you can get a general idea of what direction you want to go in.
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Old 02-24-2006, 04:46 AM   #10
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What ironchef posted. I would also suggest you check on the internet for "business plans". Big or small, it is a good idea to have a biz plan, even a simple one. Weave in the relevant points as mentioned by ironchef.

German Buletten (basic recipe)

12 oz of ground beef and pork each (or 24 oz of beef)
1 cup stale white bread without crust, crumbled
2 eggs
1/4 cup onions diced fine, saute'd in oil till translucent
3 Tsp finely chopped parsley
1 1/4 tsp salt
spices to choice, eg, paprika, ground pepper, pinch of nutmeg, etc

Soak bread in milk, squeeze out excess milk, bread should be moist. Mix all ingredients together. Form patties and fry.

Instead of gyros or kebabs - steaklets. Slice meat thinly, pound flat with steaker. Lot's of ways to marinate differently, garnish differently. On top, they taste better than burgers.
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Old 02-24-2006, 05:08 AM   #11
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We had a Russian Piroshki shop here for a bit. It was delicious, perfect for take-away and took off like gang-busters, until the kitchen caught fire and they never re-opened. Some in the neighborhood speculated that they took the insurance money and started up on the rich side of town but it was never confirmed.

I need to add that these were big, one to a meal type Piroshki's (not really true Piroshkis at all, really just "Hot Pockets" before they hit the market), but you could peel back the waxed paper they were wrapped in and eat it with one hand on the way home.

Mmm! I can still taste them. What I wouldn't give to have one of those right now. :)

They had real Meat & Onion and Mushroom Piroshki's, but they had an "americanized" menu as well. One was a combination of meat, onions, mushrooms and green peppers (kinda like a Philly in a pita pocket) with what I can only describe as a thick, almost aspic, Au' Jus' that was an experience in it's-self. It was the only thing I've ever eaten that can truely be described as "better than.. well I'm not sure I can say that here" hee hee.

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Old 02-24-2006, 11:03 AM   #12
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There is a small BBQ cafe across the street from where I live. While they do have 'eat in' as an option, the place is quite small and has a very limited menu. They do real smoke Texas BBQ brisket, pork, and hot links (available as sammiches or as 'combos') - - along with very few sides (slaw, potato salad). It's the only place around where one can find REAL BBQ without going to a more expensive restaurant setting. If you wanted to expand the menu later, you could go to a full-on Soulfood, which would seem like a pretty easy transition.

I like the Doner Kabob idea, too. I used to eat a lot of those when I lived in Australia (along with meat pies... man, I would love it if there was a pie bar near here).

I don't know what your local area is like but I know that, when I lived in Iowa, ANYthing beyond what the fast food places offered was a very welcome diversion. I would caution against going with something too different, though... When you have a take-away joint, you shouldn't have to explain everything too much. Do something that takes minimal promotion (people "get" BBQ).

Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 02-24-2006, 11:37 AM   #13
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For a strictly take-out place, consider a sandwich shop. First of all, it's the food that was invented for easy eating on the go. Second, your imagination is the limit.

Sandwiches can include:

Real hamburgers (not the Micky D's type)
Hot Dogs

Put it in an industrial park or downtown where there are loads of people who want a good FAST lunch and you can go home for the day at 2:00PM.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 02-24-2006, 12:57 PM   #14
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I always wanted a little restaurant on our town square, where the lawyers and business people could come in for a quick lunch or order take-out. I planned on having a few basics, plus daily specials.
I know it's not an original idea, but quality would be the important thing.
We get by with a little help from our friends
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Old 02-24-2006, 01:29 PM   #15
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Don't know where you're located, but it seems whenever we have out of state guests, they go crazy for the authentic mexican food here. (Nothing like taco bell). Also, the food is very economical, and the taste is wonderfully comforting.

Another shop I frequent is a bagel shop that doesn't just do bagels. They make lovely healthy sandwiches out of them, and even have a breakfast bagel menu (with ham, cheeses, eggs, etc). It's forever busy, and it always has the freshest taste!

Have you considered doing a marketing mailer/questionaire? Ask the public what they'd want to frequent. A fresh smoothie bar would no doubt do well in my area, but would it do well in yours?

Ironchef had some very valuable information too.

One last thought - buffets seem to be a people-pleaser, provided they are done properly.
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Old 02-24-2006, 01:39 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by jkath
...One last thought - buffets seem to be a people-pleaser, provided they are done properly.
You and your buffets, J - - honestly
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Old 02-24-2006, 09:53 PM   #17
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This is my "brilliant idea" for a food business that will probably never get off the ground because I don't have funding.

I also just love to cook & like nothing better than feeding people.

What I would like to do is offer prepared foods - mostly casseroles & that type of thing - for working people to pick up on their way home from their jobs. Good, home-cooked comfort food that can be heated & served with little effort when they get home. No gourmet stuff! Delivery service available. Everything in disposable foil pans. No pots & pans to wash.

Someone else might as well take this idea & run with it. I have tons of recipe ideas.
I'm all about the food!
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Old 02-24-2006, 10:48 PM   #18
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resturant ideas

If I woke up in Michigan one day - A quality Creole dinner would be so gooood. Shrimp Creole, gumbos, soft shell crab Po Boy, crawfish eutouffee. The list is endless.

Preps are quick and easy, the dishes are simple and the flavors will blow the minds of the first timers.

Gets my vote.

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Old 02-24-2006, 11:09 PM   #19
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In East Chicago indiana there used to be a small little restaraunt that made tiny tacos... and they were 10 cents apiece. When my dad worked at the hostital near there he would bring back 100 for himself and the rest of the people in the ER... that only $10... and it usually fed 5-7 hungry night shift nurses. The place was successful for at least 15 years.

Obviously 10 cents would be too low of a price nowadays, but I've always thought it would be a great idea to make a take out taco stand. In Bloomington, IN, there's a small restaraunt that does have a sit-in area, but nobody uses it. Their tacos are $1.50 apiece, and a little small for the price, but the flavor is defintely there. Also, they stay open late b/c they are very close to all of the popular college town bars... they bank big time around 2-3AM.

Aside from tacos they also offer side orders of chips, beans, and rice, and they also have burritos, which weigh about 3 pounds. They cost only $6 or so, and that can feed someone for quite some time. They are doing so well that they now offer delivery service.

Mexican is always popular b/c people are comfortable with it, and familiar with it, and it's a pretty ideal take out food. And you don't need much space to prepare mexican food. 2 Med- size ranges and a large fridge/freezer plus small prep area should be enough for you. for this option.

I would also like to see a take-out burger joint that sells actual burgers. I love the burgers that places like TGI Fridays and Chili's have... and wish I could get those at a drive through or carry place. Burgers are easy, and the best part is that folks always love em, and they can also have them however they want.

I'm a sucker for chinese take out... but I've never really felt that it was the ideal take-out food. It;s pretty difficult to eat while on the move.

One of my favorite restaraunts of all-time is this Indian joint called Tandoor. It's a little hole in the wall, and the food is about ideal for take-out as chinese food or spaghetti, but WOW the food was incredible. It's the only place like it in the area, and anyone thats knew about good ethnic food where I come from raved about Tandoor.

I believe sandwich joints have been mentioned, but one that might stand out could be one that focuses on wraps. I love the spinach wraps and tomato wraps that are available. Actually I know a lot of folks that really love tomato wraps. Aside from your regular deli meats/cheeses, and veggies for fillings, I've also had a fried chicken strip wrap which was pretty tasty and new.
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Old 02-24-2006, 11:52 PM   #20
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Hi vanwingen, sounds like you have an admirable desire.

The one thing that bothers me is your statement:

"I love to cook and I want to do it for a living."

I believe you, and that you would put in all the long hours to make the place a success.

But a lot more than half of making a restaurant a go is business savvy.

Ya gotta know the business, and if you do not, try working in it for awhile.

Many, many, OK, most restaurants go under, and the cause is usually poorly understood business practices.

Am not trying to rain on your parade, sounds like a great dream.

We have a local restaurant that was sort of getting by. It was bought by two guys who kept basicallly the same menu, and I do not like their few changes.

But the place went from a barely surviving place to a very successful place.

Difference, the two guys who bought the place understood the business aspects.

Suggest you work a bit in the industry and get a feel for it.

Sorry to be negative, want you to succeed here.

God bless and take care, but don't invest your cash until you have a sound business plan.

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