“Meet the First Mexican Chef to Earn a Michelin Star”

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“In my restaurant, we got rid of beans, guacamole, and margaritas. Once you break with expectations, you can begin to suggest new experiences to the diner.”

Over the course of these past years, what’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your restaurant?
It’s been very difficult to educate consumers. Americans don’t think of Mexican food as fine dining. In my restaurant, we got rid of beans, guacamole, and margaritas. Once you break with expectations, you can begin to suggest new experiences to the diner.

 

Click here to read the full Q&A

New Indian and Chinese Restaurants slide into the East Village

New Indian Restaurant called old MONK is opening  a restaurant  in East Village. Former  restaurant  Babu Ji shuts it’s door in March because of lawsuits. According to a proposed menu Old Monk will serve small plates like a lamb meatball sliders with lemon-tahini and entrees like butter chicken with lemon rice, short rib vindaloo, and fig/spinach/paneer cheese dumplings.

Read more here

Enterprise Insight: Restaurant Expansion Checklist

Are you currently running a successful fast casual concept? Do you believe you are primed for multiunit rollout and increased revenue? Even if you’re knocking it out of the park currently, there are certain concerns that demand your particular attention as you look to expand your business enterprise. We have listed below some items that you should consider when beginning this process.

 

1) Financial Model . . . This is the bible for your business. How many guests do you expect on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis? What is your average check size? What do you expect to spend on Cost of Goods Sold in a given month? Only after rent, labor, and expenses are included can you truly begin to understand the potential for your business. Once you are operating, regular comparisons against the model will be useful in evaluating your business’ performance against expectations.

 

2) Market Analysis . . . Understanding your core customer base and the demographics of a potential new business site are critical to a successful expansion.  What is the population density? Who works in the area? What is the average household income? These are a few of the important points you should investigate. By analyzing the market, you can ensure you are choosing the correct location for your new unit.

 

3) Team Development . . . Because it is impossible to do everything yourself, a strong team is critical to the success of your operation.  Having clear on boarding procedures as well as a plan in place for continuing development and enrichment will ensure a happy and increasingly efficient team. Once you confirm these structures work for your business, you will be able to more easily replicate your success elsewhere. An added benefit is that promoting from within saves time and money on recruitment that can be better spent elsewhere!

 

4) Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) . . . These are the backbone of your business. Every aspect of your operation should have clearly defined SOPs that can be easily transferred to a new unit. By developing SOPs, you make sure that your business practices are clear and consistent. This gives the additional benefit of always having something on hand that your employees can reference when they have a question about operations.

 

5) Funding . . . Without funding, it will be impossible to get your business off the ground. Identifying expected cash flow as well as a breakeven point for your business will be critical to determining how much fundraising will be necessary. These pieces, of course, tie back to your financial model. With that model in hand, you should then identify potential sources of funding and pursue them.

Retail Spotlight: Verde Curated Greens

 

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Their success…at some point or another we’ve all been faced with that grueling lunchtime dilemma. You flounder back and forth at your desk weighing your options. Do I want something light? Should I grab something quick and easy? You want to stay close to the office but everything feels worn and over played. The lunch struggle is real. At least it was real. Welcome, Verde Curated Greens. Sierra Tishgart of Grub Street describes Verde as the “fine-casual salad spot” that “could be a lunchtime game-changer”. I think she’s onto something.

The menu includes beautifully plated grab and go dishes with the perfect ratio of mixed greens and sophisticated, complex dressings and sauces (try the Pesto in the fingerling potato salad). The greens are not your run of the mill iceberg or arugula, we are talking a delicate arrangement of farm fresh mache, frisee, swiss chard, castel franco, and whatever else is in season at the Union Square farmers which is frequented almost daily. Salads range from $11 to $13.

While the salads may steal the show, it’s the protein sides that elevate these dishes to the next level. From in-house smoked arctic char to coconut shrimp ceviche to immaculately grilled NY Strip steak, these proteins knock it out of the park. Proteins range from $2 to $5.

That’s not all. You know those stealth menu items that seem to fly under the radar and always way under appreciated? Those items that once you are in on the “secret” you feel like you just joined some underground fight club. You smirk at the person behind the counter when you order it, they give you a head nod back to re-confirm your insider know-how. At Verde, this is their broth. It’s robust, flavorful and fresh. The broth is everything.

From the moment you walk inside you’re immediately immersed in a space that blankets the outside world into the abyss. The décor, smells, sounds, art work, ambiance and airiness all resonate with tasteful and eloquent design.

Stacked with culinary aptitude, founders Gonzalo Gout, CIA graduate and Cosme alumni, and Alejandro Porteny, hospitality expert and entrepreneur, these two set forth the perfect balance of culinary expertise and business acumen.

Take Aways…Verde Curated Greens is a breath of fresh air in a city that all too often gets caught up in the everyday minutia. Not only will your taste buds enjoy their stay, the atmosphere will leave you (spoiler alert!) wanting to post up with a glass of wine to relax with friends in good company.

Hours: Monday-Friday 11:00am – 8:00pm

Location: Verde, 22 W 25th St., between Broadway and Sixth Ave.

Phone: 646-838-0700

Craftbar Closes Due to Rent Hike

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Tom Colicchio’s 15-year-old restaurant Craftbar has closed due to a rent increase initiated by the landlord. Apparently, rent was increased by 50% to $60,000 a month. This narrative is increasingly prevalent throughout New York City as rents continue to rise. And, as we have seen in recent years with the closing of locations like Union Square Café due to similar issues, even the most beloved businesses are not immune to these harsh market realities.

 

You can read more about Craftbar’s closing here.

Secondary Income – Rent Out Your Space

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Grub street recently published a list of “The absolute best bar you can rent out in New York” The list included place like, Bongo and Sid Gold’s Request Room.

This could be a great revenue stream for any business looking to capitalize on their restaurant, bar, or business.

Red the full list here