Thursday, April 2, 2009

Guest Speaker/In the News/Cost Control

I played hooky yesterday to spend a full day at the restaurant for its soft opening. Didn't miss a beat today, other than feeling awfully sleepy. In the News was silly, again run round robin by a table of people who were all too scaredy cat to do it themselves. Outback Steakhouse ran a big menu promoting cheap meals in the New York Post -- is that really news, people? Man on a motorized barstool charged with DUI? What? Domino's forced to give out 11,000 pizzas due to an incorrect internet promotion? ZZZZZZ.

The only two interesting stories were about an 1825 vintage bottle of bubbly that was recently uncorked and tasted. Unsurprisingly, it was past its prime and had notes of 'rotting leaves'. Mmm, delicious. Also, a pimp paid his ho in Chicken McNuggets. 'Nuff said.

We had a great speaker, Ariane Daguin of D'Artagnan, a producer of out-there high-quality meat stuff like foie gras, buffalo sausage, and organic bacon. She described how "humanely" raised veal are an open farm house, free fed only cow's milk, never grain. The open room has a wall of nipples onto which the calves come and suckle. When they stand there, the floor acts as a scale; that, plus the digital IDs in their ears, communicates their weight. If they are too skinny, cream comes out of the nipple; too fat, skim. Purty cool! All the calves are uniform in weight when they get axed. Sigh.

We reviewed some accounting stuff, comparing receipts over time, but I felt really drowsy.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cost Control / Odds n' Ends

The day started with odds n' ends. Japanese cooking dude spoke about his weekend, his first cooking at the new Fatty Crab uptown -- only 2 weeks old and doing over 350 covers on a Friday night -- with only 60 seats. That figure made me nervous since the restaurant that I've been involved with is opening up....tomorrow.

Long Island Guy spoke of the new video screen system his restaurant bought for the chef, so the chef can see what orders are going to what station in real time, and cook his pizzas accordingly, making it easier to coordinate the different cooking stations with the front of house staff.

I spoke a little about the pizza class I took the day before, and how one of the wine pairings actually kind of rocked my word -- Lambrusco and pizza, a fantastic combination.

The rest of the class was dedicated to the Profit & Loss statement, a master spread sheet to record money coming in (few) and the money going out of (many) a restaurant operation. It went from easy-to-understand principles (revenue minus expenses equals profit!) to a bit more complex (the cost of good sold for food and for beverages must be kept separate as they are very different and if calculated together will skew the final figures.)