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Menu Ideas ????

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ok, So the wife and I have been talking for the past several months.

We would both like to open our own restaurant some day and are getting into the planning stages to make this dream come true some time in the next year or two.

So what I ask of my fellow SMF brothers and sisters is this.......

We are wanting to do mainly comfort type foods, we have a large college in our town and since the students are away from home we figure good home made comfort foods will go over big.

I am asking for menu ideas that are comfort foods but are also regional favorites from across the country, something that if someone was here, they could go wow..now that reminds me of home.

Thanks in Advance for all The help
post #2 of 12
Im sure you watch the food network and maybe even watch DDD and you'll fine a boat load of good recipes. I watch it all the time a have stolen a few of the recipes and they are really good too. As far as your resturant your menu is what you like to cook. My wife wants me to open a restaurant and only have it open on weekends so I wouldn't get burned out on the hard work that a restaurant would take. So just a hint and I hope you enjoy feeding people which I do also but when feeding people now it's not all day everyday. Now back to your menu I like a it's like a sweet roll but with pastry and then some grounded and per cooked sausage and onions and then rolled up cut into about 2" slices and them baked. Then you can top it with a gravy or even good bolinaus sauce.
post #3 of 12
I am sure that you will get lots of opinions on what foods to put on the menu but before that it is important to get a good business plan together. There are several courses at college and several good books on controlling food costs. There are several chefs on here that can give more specific information on where to go but I have seen so many restaurants go out quickly because they did not have a business plan in place.

That said - my menu favorites would include
Pot pies - chicken and turkey
Pot roast with noodles
Good Mac n Cheese
Burgers for the college kids

Good luck on your venture and keep up posted
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the heads up Scarbelly, but just a little back ground on me

My father and I currently own 2 other businesses, so the business plan is taken care of. It's just that neither of these two are what I want to do the rest of my life, kinda got roped into them because they are family business and all.

I like the idea of open only on weekends...at least to start
post #5 of 12
When it comes to opening a restaurant, I'm no expert but I do know a thing or two about college kids. Comfort food will not be a huge hit on it's own. Sure, some would like it from time to time, however college kids that are no longer living at home are free to eat as they please and the standard fare is going to be pizza, burgers/sandwiches and fries. They like what is easy, convenient and cheap.

I Googled "What do college kids eat?" and read several articles before answering your question. One of my marketing ideas would be to offer gift cards and market towards parents while they visit campus. they'll enjoy your comfort foods and possibly buy gift cards to give to their student hoping they'll eat right.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do. Research that market and make sure you are filling a niche that will be appreciated. Also consider campus delivery.
post #6 of 12
congrats on deciding to do this.

With how the family dynamic has changed over the past 20 years or so, what you and I may conside comfort food may be different than alot of kids nowdays grew up with. Many I doubt have had alot of home cooked scratch meals, but instead ate alot of fast food, chain restaurant meals, and meals made from boxes, with both parents working, etc. If you can introduce some of these kids to this type of cooking that would be great.

One of the most succesfull local, family owned places in my area is only open Thursday-Saturday for dinner, and Sunday for lunch. They have a line out the door the days they are open. He is a good ol' boy from Louisiana doing cajun food.

Good luck to you.
post #7 of 12
I would have 2 focus groups. 1 would be the college groups and for that I would have pizza nachos burgers chicken tenders. That kinda of stuff. Then for the local familys I would have a few things like meat loaf. I would also try to add a little Q to the menu with pulled pork sandwiches. That would be a good hit. Maybe do a rib night or brisket night.

We have a little place up here that just opened and they have a nice menu. Its a selection of inexpensive stuff with a few nicer things like a NY Strip.

Good luck to you.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
I appreciate all the ideas and the well wishes.

Keep the ideas coming, we don't want a huge menu but we do want good food.

FYI....If Dutch gives his approval, his beans will be on the menu

and also, I can promise you there will be smoked goodies on the menu, I have made that perfectly clear with my wife, there WILL be a pit involved in this restaurant.

icon_mrgreen.gif Now I get to look for a new ( hear Bigger ) smoker
post #9 of 12

cajun food

If ya want to include a little cajun fare on your menu let me know and i will ship you some recipes. Also can set you up w/ seafood supplier if need be.
i'm a little (meaning WAY) past college age but i know that i allways like a place to have a good soup / gumbo/ chilli anytime they are open .
fried shrimp /fish / oyster poboys are big sellers and also you have the seafood to add fries and / or hush puppies to to have seafood platter.
Smoked roast beef shredded or pulled and kept hot in a slow cooker full of good brown gravy makes a killer roast beef poboy. this also can be served w/ rice or mashed taters and a couple of veggies to make a plate.
you can see where i'm going here .
Use products that you can do multiple dishes with. Cuts down on time and adds menu items w/o adding extra exspense.
If you choose to offer deserts , Stay away from cake as it's cheap but it goes stale fast. try cobblers , bread pudding or refridgerated stuff, Cheese cake or ice cream.
Bon Mange ( good food) Bob
post #10 of 12
Smoked stuff should definetly be on the menu, how about a good ol chicken fried steak?

Ive been watching Man Vs. Food and a lot of the places he goes to are located near college's. And they do a "extreme" challenge like a 6# hamburger, or something BLAZING hot. You want it so that 98% of the people try it and fail, the other 2% get their picture on the wall, or a t-shirt. Word will get out.

The only other advice I can offer... make good food, and make it consistent in quality. oh and dont forget the Liquor license.

Good luck with it!!
post #11 of 12
Should Definitely have:

Hot Wings
Hot Dogs & Polish Dogs
Phillie Beef Sandwiches
post #12 of 12
#1 you want to make $$
in order to do that you need to provide products that will a) sell, b) that are cost efective and are not labor intesive thus maximizing profits and c) have a good shelf/storage life minimizing waste.
#2 pay for a good honest knowledgable staff.......this will save you $$ in the long run.

the list can go on and on but you would be suprised on how many owner/operators over look these simple concepts. just because someone runs a business, doesn't mean they can run a food business.

for a college crowd, paul's list fits the criteria above. i would run comfort items as a weekly or daily special until you can figure out the crowd. and as for business hours......you pay rent for 24 hrs/day i would close only for those that are not profitable just my $.02 for free........
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