Hello! This is one of your friendly cafe managers. I want to start updating members as frequently as I can find time to in order to keep you all in the loop as much as possible. We get LOTS of feedback, and I want to be sure members and customers are getting their curiosity itch scratched.
Today was a little exciting. We were working on bringing about six new menu items for breakfast hours to the cafe. Since we’re all in the restaurant biz now, and many of the feedbacks we’ve gotten are menu related, I thought it might be helpful to go over some of what happens at the cafe in order to add a new item to the menu.
What kind of equipment do we have in the kitchen and how taxed is it at various meal service times?
What kind of storage do we have? We don’t have much. We always have to consider how many new perishable items can we store in refrigeration and how many non-perishable can we fit in dry storage.
In an effort to simplify the storage dilemma one thing we can do is utilize items we already carry for other food service portions of the day. So, for example, right now we won’t be adding any yogurt to the menu in the immediate future (even though we’d like to add a vegan fruit granola parfait) because most of those ingredients would ONLY be served at breakfast and would take up storage, have a limited shelf-life and couldn’t be utilized during other meal services.
Other considerations: Do we have a purveyor for the ingredients for the added menu items? What is the cost to add the meal service (electric, water, labor)? Who can come in to cook the breakfasts? Do they have their food safety certification?
These are all the things we first have to ask ourselves.
So once we have a meeting to discuss new menu items and decide we have the ability to get a supply of the ingredients and store them effectively, we then need to price the items out. Today was one of those days. One of our employees measured not only the ingredients for each serving (this is very tedious), he also measured the time to make the items since labor costs is very important to include.
We have two considerations when pricing the food – the cost of the food itself, and the labor to make the food. That doesn’t even include the fact that we are running the air conditioning, have the lights on, paying the rent, and so forth. Fresh food especially takes more time and effort to make, therefore costs more. So all of that has to be factored into pricing.
After the practice round of preparation, we can then take photos of the food, standardize the recipe for the kitchen to follow, and create a menu for the new items. Every time we add something to the lunch or dinner menus, we have to edit the documents and re-print them all over again. All of these things cost time, money, and supplies – and we try to be careful with our resources.
At the same time the menu items go onto the menu, we must also have them in our Point of Sales system so that the counter and waitstaff can ring you up for it accurately when you come in and see the exciting new stuff on the menu. We also have to update the website to match all of the changes. There are many moving parts to keep in mind.
This is all under the assumption people will come in and buy enough of these items to cover the cost of payroll, and turning the lights on in the morning. So your patronage is extremely important part of this equation, as well as tipping the tipped wage staff members.
So, as you can see, adding stuff to the menu is pretty complicated and involves many steps. We wanted to roll out breakfast this coming week, and we are steps closer, but still have a little ways to go.
Here are some photos from today’s outcome, which represents many hours of work and planning. These items are something to look forward to when we are able to complete our costing and recipes for the breakfast menu, as well as have all the staff we need to roll it out smoothly.
Spicy Vegan Breakfast Burrito
Bagel Omelette Sandwich with Cheese
Pancake, Eggs, Bacon Breakfast Plate