Friday, June 18, 2010

Who Wants to be a Restaurateur?!

Good evening and welcome to "Who Wants to be a Restaurateur?!"  It's the show that asks the difficult questions when contemplating the long, hard and maddening road to restaurant ownership.

Tonight, please welcome our contestant, Ted from Tampa!  Ted is a Virgo and has seven years of restaurant work under his belt, with "a little catering experience" on the side.  He loves barbecue and "the excitement" of a busy night in the biz.  Ted's lifelong dream is to open his own restaurant- and now- with the help of our jaded- er, um- accredited questioning team, we're going to give Ted his big shot!  Are you ready?  GREAT!  Let's go!

First question comes from Enzo.  Enzo ran two busy trattorias in Brooklyn for 27 years before he sold them and got into home appliance sales. 

Enzo: "Ted- what makes you think you've got the cahones to run a restaurant of your own, eh?!"
Ted: "Whuh- uhh- well- I'm - I like the business.  A lot!  And, I make a killer tiramisu!  Also, my friend's dad is a wicked carpenter, and he said he would help build the bar if I pay him in beer."
Enzo: "You gonna last five minutes, you puton! Pack up your knives and getta the hell out!!"
Ted: "HUH?"
Uhhh- Enzo, you're on the wrong set.  Two doors down, please!  Sorry about that Ted!
Ted: "Did I get it wrong?" 

Okay- just a reminder, on "Restaurateur", scoring is done silently and tabulated after all questions have been answered.  So, with that- let's move on to our next questioner.  Please welcome Tammy.  Tammy is the oldest living server in the US.  She's been around since before Baked Alaska was even a state! Tammy?

Tammy: "Listen, hon;  Server roights have been stomped on for years by young punks like you!  We work hard for our tips and pantywaists like you come along and try to get us to pool our tips?!  What do you intend to do about adding an automatic 20% to the check of anyone with an accent? And most importantly, what are you going to do about making cigarette breaks part of the standard work shift for all?!
Ted: "I'm for it?"
Tammy: "Bulls#*t!"

Okay! Thanks, Tammy! Watch your step, there!
Next question comes from Rain. Rain is a vegetarian from Newport and author of the book, "Eating OUT: The New Feminism, Lesbianism Vegetarianism Manisfesto." 
Rain: "Hello, Ted, if that's your real name..."
Ted: "...?..."
Rain:"...the combined effects of greenhouse gasses, carbon footprints, over-fishing, over-farming, genetically engineered crops, not to mention the use of veal, foie gras and cod sperm on menus is ruining the fabric of our nation!  What responsibility will you take as owner of your new restaurant to ensure a return to the days of hands-off, plain, old-fashioned gathering and gardening?  Preferably naked."
Ted: "Well, let's see.  I've got a great portobello burger that is made with facon? You know- fake bacon?  And- well- I'll make sure we have enough salads, too."
Ted: "Oh- and tofu cheddar fries!"
Rain: "NEXT!!"

Ho, HO! Wow- it's heating up in the kitchen, huh??!  BooYAH! Ted, you look a little perspired.  Everything ok? Would you like a Fresca?

Ted:  "Nah- I'm good, man.  Keep going."
Okay! Please welcome our next questioner! A wine collector from Berkley, Preston is also chairman of the group "Sommeliers with Sass".  Are you ready?  Heeeeere's Preston!

Preston:  "Yes. Hi, Ted.  Love the sneakers.  Very retro.  Anyway, my question is a multiple choice.  Can you deal?  Okay- here goes:  What is the most appropriate choice for beverage with sole meuniere?  Is it:
a.  sauvignon blanc
b.  Cosmopolitan
c.  gin and bitter lemon
d. Zima, or
e. none of the above?"
Ted: "Can I use a lifeline?"
There are no lifelines in restaurants, Ted- just overdraft protection!
Ted: "Damn.  Well, I'm gonna hafta say 'a': sauvignon blanc."
Preston" "EhhhhhT! No silly- it's 'E'!  Sole Meuniere is so 1970s!"

Ahhhhhh- GOOD ONE, Preston! 
Okay- this is where things kick into high gear, Ted.  Our next question comes from George.  George is the president and CEO of the accounting firm of Dewey, Cheetham and Howell.  George is going to test your restaurant math savy.  By telling George some basic information about your dream restaurant, he's going to attach a price tag and performance percentage rate to your future endeavor.  Ladies and gentleman- please welcome George!
George: "Ted, how many seats do you plan on having?"
Ted: "Well, I was thinking like 90?"
George: "LIKE 90- or 90?"
Ted: "90. Final answer- 90."
George: "Fast food, casual, semi-casual, destination or fine dining?"
Ted: "I was thinking on the casual side."
George: *Sigh* Average entree price?"
Ted: "I wanna keep it real, so- probably in the $15 to $18 range."
George:"Okay.  Leasing or construction?"
Ted: "Whatever I can get."
George: "We'll say lease, then.  City or suburbs?"
Ted: "Aw, snap! City- city, all the way!"
George: "Okay- you're going to need a building about 3500 square feet.  Assuming you start from scratch- and most people DON'T- we'll say you need around $100,000 in equipment, bare bones.  You're going to need fryers, range tops, ovens, refrigerators, freezer, grease trap, storage racks, a broiler and heck- throw in a steamer for Rain.  I'll give you a modest food inventory of $10,000.  I assume you're going to do this properly and have a decent wine list.  Inventory: $12,000.  Proper storage and temperature control is a must.  That's gonna run ya!  Bar inventory and construction...$25,000..."
Ted: "Wait, my friend's dad..."
George: "Ok- I forgot.  $24,000.  If you're gonna do table cloths, linens need to be in the budget.  Unless you go the paper placemat route- but, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.  Table cloths, napkins, aprons and bar towels...what thread count?"
Ted: "Thread- count?"
George: "Poly-cotton blend or Egyptian cotton?"
Ted: "I..."
George: "Don't interrupt. You'll need plates, silverware, glassware and take-out containers.  That reminds me- menus.  You'll need a copier.  A good one.  Color is the way to go.  Do all your printing in-house, save on costs.  Office equipment: computer, fax, phone system, desk- yadda, yadda, yadda. Whatabout reservations?  Are you gonna go with an online system?  Don't answer.  There's a system installation fee, plus the monthly maintenance costs.  Each reservation made on your website cost you $.25, each made on theirs costs $1.  Business cards, letterhead and website design.  You'll need marketing software-  I mean you probably can't afford advertising right off- so, do your own newsletter, but do it right, for Christ's sake!  E-blast, baby.  Opening parties are always free- so count on dropping some duckets on those babies.  I think it's safe to say you're not the polished type when it comes to words, so... I recommend a press agent.  You'll want to join the National Restaurant Association, the local restaurant association, the chamber of commerce, the neighborhood association and the recycling bank.  We'll just put that under "dues".  Plan on writing a check to ASCAP if you intend to play any music whatsoever.  That reminds me: pests.  You can't run the risk that someone will see even so much as a fruit fly, it's instant death; so you're going to have to get pest control.  Landscaping.  Logoed mints.  Floral budget.  Candles or lamp fuel.  Gift cards and high chairs.  Paper and chemical supply.  Garbage pickup.  Security system, point of sale system, soda system, draft beer system and cleaning service.  Refrigeration, HVAC, equipment maintenance, liability insurance, loss of business insurance, terrorism insurance, liquor license, utilities..."

BooYaH!  CHA-CHING, Baby!

George: "Shush.  Loan repayment, rent, payroll, payroll taxes, FICA, SUTA, worker's comp, accountant, lawyer- do you like your landlord? Better get a good lawyer, just in case.  Charities call on you about three times a week for donations; better plan on choosing a "cause" if you don't wanna look like a dick.  Manager, assistant manager, chef, sous chef, kitchen staff, bartenders, servers, bus person, dishwashers- they need to eat, and you should consider a benefits package of some sort.  You're the man, now- so act like it.  Which reminds me, I hope you've got some coin saved up- you shouldn't pay yourself for the first year, at least.  Hey, are you listening?  Comps, theft and breakage- there's THAT ugly side to deal with.  Okay- getting in to the home stretch here, Teddy.  The national average you profit on every dollar you bring in is between .07 and .12.  Now, that said, you'll want to put everything you clear back into the business so you'll be around the second year- if there is a second year.  Oh that reminds me- did you say you have catering experience?"

We're gonna take a short break and be right back after these messages.  Hey, can someone get Ted a Fresca?  He really doesn't look very good.

1 comment:

Michele said...

Hilarious....and very clever!!This is awesome, Robear!


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