HOW TO CREATE AN AMAZING LITTLE RESTAURANT WITH HEART -- AND MAKE TEN TIMES your current INCOME! TRICKS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR CAFE A HIP, TRENDY HANG-OUT!
The idea is to have multiple things happening that excite as this will translate to extra earnings. Some of the thrills you offer your client are ocular, the visuals, the extremely unique scenery. Then there are the many things I list below that will bombard your guests with amusement, enchant them and make your place special. You'll pass all the snooty, uptown cafes in the fast lane.
1.) A TASTING MENU. Small price, sample serving sizes, they get appetizer, entree and dessert. Samplers. Like TAPAS. A Tasting menu price would be $4.00 to $6.00 for all three --appetizer, entree and dessert, and throw in a small salad. This encourages lower income folk to come in droves on slow nights! Henry Ford got rich making a cheap Model T car and selling more of them. So seduce the peons on your slow nights. Make Tasting Menu on those nights only, maybe.
2.) COMMUNAL TABLE for single guests without reservations. You can get eight to ten strangers at one long trestle table. They do this one in Brasseries all over France. If the grumpy French can tolerate it, Americans can! Or are French more xenophobic than we are? A restaurant in L.Angeles, California, TAIX did this in the 50's. It's still going 60 odd years later. So this gimmick works!
3.) NO DARN CORKAGE FEES! Let your guests bring their own bottle of wine limiting how many bottles per table of four so no drunks hit the street.. Give them Styrofoam or Paper cups however as goblet/glass breakage and washing crystal would be too costly for this freebie privilege. I can get very fine Cabernet or Pinot Noir for $2.50 a bottle at my barrio market on sale, $2.99 regular price. Lemme drink it at your cafe and think I'm in PARIS. It'll make your food taste really superb.
4.) ONLINE RECIPES for all entrees. Plus cooking lessons Saturday afternoons, 5$ a head also by email so they can duplicate your entrees. The only way to fight their not coming back once they can make it for a buck at their house, is to change entrees a whole lot. So your cafe becomes a cooking school. It's a good thing. :>)
5.) Have you Looked in Our Bakery? Offer fine pastries, freshly baked breads, pies, cakes and condiments that are not only the staples of the house but which can be BOUGHT by the pound. Like Homemade cheese cakes, pastries, the JAMs that you serve with the breakfast menu, available for clients. To do that you need unusual flavors. Best way to zap jam is to add lemon rind and juice to all the fruits. Really makes them interesting! KIWI LEMON PEEL is unique. UGLI FRUIT MARMALADE, (Cocktail grapefruit a cross between pummelo/tangarine ) GUAVAS are the most extraordinary fruit, easy to grow. Find a source and get a ricer to get the seeds out. How about Pear chutney served with all your curries like the IVY does in L.A, or coriander basil pesto, BERRY CITRUS MARMALADE (add plenty of citrus zest and lemon juice to give it acidity.) And for vanilla ice cream clients already have at home, offer unique Chocolate panocha fudge sauce. Sell all your condiments so people have to come in to load up! And stay for dinner!
6.) A seriously THICK Theme restaurant gimmick. For a family restaurant, a massively ornate DECOR that will enchant the children. Create a fairytale world with murals, like Lord of the Rings all around the booths. Or do a FOREST theme, a friendly FROG character with a real name that's cute, like FARLEY THE FROG, and he's everywhere, on the menu, painted on the walls with rabbit companions; give away Frog games, or little toy Rabbits, painted animals. Get a lot of those big wooden INDONESIAN frogs and palmtrees. For adults, something lush and romantic like PANGEA, or The Lost Continent of Mu or TEMPLE ATLANTIS.. Rainbows, colored lighting. Great invention would be healing color RAINBOWS in L.E. D lights for post Hippie homes. Quartz healing pendants to be worn over the heart chakra. healing Restaurants filled with harp music with exotic names like OASIS, places where we can REFRESH OURSELVES, dusty & frantic from the big city. We need aid and succor and churches don't do it. We need SPIRITUAL SITES. With tables, cups and plates. Gardens and sounds... MARTIN DENNY tape (50's, with birds tweeting and calling) in jungle filled cafes with parrots and monkeys. Little Balinese temple dancers for waitresses. WE NEED TO SERIOUSLY TRIP OUT A LITTLE. Oh, Moon in PISCES has got to me. WE THIRST and we are dry. We are parched. So drinks by the PITCHER FUL, PUNCHES and Juices. DISHES/ Foods served would carry out the theme: Pangea has Pacific Island foods, seafood..... Mexican and Indonesian food. The theme is carried out in murals, lighting. Also via the music and the waiter's costumes. Sarongs! Leis! Ladies get a gardenia corsage. Puffer fish lights, Easter Island statues, Drinks with parasols and flowers. These perks give clients sensorial memories. Say they're at home some night, just hungry and bored, they can't help themselves. They start hallucinating memories of their last visit and Bingo, they're pulling on their shoes, they're coming in your door with a real URGE to experience that trip all over again. And it doesn't hurt if your batter fried shrimp, spare ribs & mu shu pancakes are authentic to the max. SEE TREND HUNTER web site.
7.) Boutique and or Gallery. If you have space, find twenty local artisans, and have them share the rent for this 'space' and fill it with stuff. Windwhackers, Sweaters, Pillows, paintings, moccasins.You get 40% off the top. Or if you're an artist and have time, it can be your stuff. Paintings can hang in the dining rooms ditto decor pieces.
8.) Singles night. You do this in only one of your several rooms, or in the patio not the whole cafe, as you can't lock out regulars. Name tags indicate the guest has paid to be in the singles party. One night a month, it's a 10$ fee for the singles "personal introductions" party and the food is included. (The bar is not free so you make extra there.) The guests get formal introductions made by the singles hostess, so you need an 'hostess' to move around, socialize, and encourage introductions and to make and run a phone tree to remind those who left their fone, fax or email in the guest book, that there's a new party.
9) Juke Box. You need a great selection of music stacked inside it. Enya, Jai Utal, New Age beautiful spiritual songs and some good old fashioned romantic dance music. These Juke boxes make you an extra income in silver quarters! They provide music when there are party groups there, dancing. A little bit of country but no heavy metal need apply! Open Mike night is also a possibility.AMERICAN IDOL, STAR SEARCH Friday & Saturday nites, (most likely to be ‘date nites’,) have sound equipment, a mike and a DJ to run the electronics. Offer AMERICAN IDOL type singing contests. Opera, Pop, Ballads, Rock. The contestants compete for a prize of a dinner for two. Diners get free entertainment all night long for that price. This will be a big draw for crowds as each contestant loads audience with his family and friends.
9.) FARM FRESH, MULTIPLE YUMMIES- Get farmers in rural areas to make wine, grow tilapia fish, sell you freshly made olives, open range eggs, raw honey, organic vegies. Eggplants by the dozen. Once guests know you have produce available, folks will say 'what vegies you got now?' and you say 'select it, we'll cook it,' that kind of thing. They can buy a few pounds raw and carry organic produce home, too. End of the night, if you're loaded with string beans, you can offer a 'deal' .89c a lb beans at .49c. Bet you sell out! AND When you serve a fine RELISH on the diner's plates, let them know it's for sale in the DELI. And you deliver. Read how to make a FOOD CO-OP!
10) ACTIVISM NIGHT - One night a month have a riproaring LIBERAL LEFTIST ACTIVIST MEETING, which you advertise with posters at bookstores, gyms, colleges. State 'Socially Conscious Singles invited!" Serve pasta primavera and salad, as no meal is cheaper, charge 4$ a plate, serve wine by the cup and have speakers! --Really committed activists, Cindy Sheehan sized, showing slides of all the starving children in Iraq and Afghanistan in the wake of the war and from it, create a CHARITY..Then the group gives PARTIES to raise funds, get the non profit tax exempt status for the party receipts, salary a few of the heads of the charity. Send money to orphanages in those two countries.
11.) Fortune tellers, strolling palmists, Turkish coffee readers, small fee. 5$, no more, but this brings in repeat customers. You have to interview your fortuneteller very carefully, make sure she has NewAge Yoga Vegan roots, not Gypsy... as you don't want someone sucking blood out of eggs and emptying GUESTS' bank accounts to keep death hexes off your clients! SAFER: One night a month, let a New Age guru give a lecture on UFOs, YOGA, or let the ROMANTAHOLICS ANONYMOUS group meet there, very popular group, easily can draw a hundred girls at 5$ a head. Read another piece on HOW TO DO A LOVE TEACHING GROUP:
There are all kinds of GROUPS, that's why you need a room with chairs. A patio, a pretty room overlooking garden, a big area and you can make extra money for the group or the church doing WEDDING receptions. So it's good for young careerists to link with a parish and preacher.
12.) FABULOUS DECOR ON THE BUILDING --- OUTSIDE. The idea with a café is to have it stand out a mile away. Having two floors with bay windows and the same LIGHTS glowing out on both floors indicates this place has covies, privacy, beauty, size, intimacy. Paranoids can sit on the 2nd floor where they can't get SHOT at. You want your cafe to have a protective ambiance, also a glowing, WOWIE look that creates an instant upgrade to the entire neighborhood, so that your biz leads the way toward gentrification of a sleepy area. You want the cafe to have multiple things happening that excite. Ambiance, Exotica, Extra entertaining things happening, Smells radiating out of it is something that hits the person out on the street. My favorite cafe as a teen was near my acting class on IVAR near SUNSET. The aroma of honeyed, brandied cappucino and whipped cream roared through those streets. Another emanation can be music, with a good pair of speakers. Inside, there's the sizzle sound of meat on the grill hitting the ears, the aroma of great food and plenty of garlic. Then the sight of a very happening deli, produce area with cold savory foods for sale in take home packages. These ideas represent extra earnings for you, the owner. Some are just gifts for your guests but they make your place special as they're rarely given by the snooty, uptown cafes.
13) LOCATION: Find an area that is becoming gentrified where there are old, seedy buildings. You want the charm that old buildings have. You are going to utilize the roccoco design elements of these old, fixer upper store fronts. You may even have to adorn the windows above your shop to give the building flavor. Go through photos of Europe to find something similar to your building. Note how window boxes, shutters, electric colors, painted panels, awnings and posted menus give a plain building old world charm. Be sure to discuss these proposed changes with the landlord before you sign a lease. He may not go for it. It will help to have a colored design schemata to show him. Or you can use the graphics in this article. (BTW, these windows are found at demolition houses that sell old sinks, doors, windows, and so cheap you can’t believe it. The electric blue paint is a custom mix of the 5$ a gallon “BENT SHELF” at Home Depot. They remainder everything custom mixed. Use exterior oil enamels. You can never predict what colors you can find so go regularly until you collect a lot of blues, some white or it looks too blackish
A user friendly cafe will endear itself to the community, become a meeting place for locals and eating there will be a family ritual way longer & beyond the usual few years lifespan of a cafe that can only intrigue the mind, tickle the fancy for a while...as it is limited in scope.
WE FUN CAFES LAST! 100 years is nothing.
I'm 200 years old. I have roaches who can
conjugate verbs ---and in French!
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