Why Do Restaurants Fail | The Common Mistakes

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It is a fairly commonly known fact that the majority of restaurants that open will fail within three years or sooner.  However, some restaurants hype up their openings and then fail disastrously, which can be a lot more publicly humiliating. Restaurant failure is common among all types of restaurants, whether they are fast food joints, fine dining establishments, or everything in between. Most restaurants don’t fail because of just one problem. It usually a combination of problems that finally reach a head and the business can’t be saved.

Many people have the intention opening a restaurant and thinking they will hire a manager to run the front of the house and hire a chef to run the back of the house.  You feel everything will be taken care of and being there is not important.  Wrong, if you want to own a restaurant, but do not work in it, well then don’t expect to get paid!!  Restaurants can’t support that extra cost very long.  Besides weak management occurs when you hire someone who you think will be a great manager, since they have experience and excellent references. Then a few months down the road not only don’t they manage the restaurant, they alienate staff, drink away the profits and/or steal money. Who’s to blame? You!  Don’t ever trust anyone completely with your restaurant, money, and staff.  It’s your business reputation and you need to take care of your own business.

I’ve said it over and over again that a bad location is one of the biggest problem and reason a restaurant fails. It has poor visibility, no parking, no foot traffic, just a few of the problems associated with a bad location. Trust that’s not a good thing!

While I have your attention, lack of capital and negative perception of value is a huge problem when opening a restaurant.   Depending on the type of restaurant you want to open you will need at least $50K – $100K to start.   I’ve talked with many restaurant owners who have fallen into this trap.  Learn to be frugal with open credit and stop taking money you cannot pay back. Use your money as a savings and spent only in case of necessity.  The restaurant that runs out of working capital before it can start running to make a profit is doomed to failure.  So with that said, please by all means have enough cash in reserve for the first year to make sure that you have enough capital for all the uncertainties you‘re going to face in the initial period of operation. This is very important because in the first year you cannot predict the course of your financial operations.

One important issue concerning money is Taxes; both state and federal taxes come with hefty penalties, fees and other assorted fines when paid late. It can also cause the state or other local government to shut down a restaurant completely if taxes aren’t paid.

This is something that gets me upset, “The bad partnership relation”.  I’ve experience it, seen it with other associates and friends.  If you share ownership of the restaurant with a partner (s) especially if you are with your business partner in close friendship, kinship or had a romantic link.  You will share financial risks which can be very stressful.  Unfortunately, many restaurants fail because of the inability of partners to resolve their disputes.   Business partners must collaborate to resolve such issues. They need to objectively review the facts and analyze the situation. You should determine your common ground and value of the relationship for the sake of the business.  You must clearly recognize each party’s contributions to the restaurant business.  Functional roles should be clarify and distinct from equity ownership. It is increasingly important to separate these two concepts as the business grows.  The best solution is to formalize roles and duties or simply draw up a contract.

The restaurant business is tough, everyone in it knows it. Everyone looking to get in it ignores it. The cold fact of the matter is that opening up a restaurant may be one of the worst investments you could make with your money. That’s a horrible, sobering statement coming from someone like me, but it’s the truth.   Ugh! Why the hell would anyone want to get into this business with a failure rate like that?   Risk and reward my friend, risk and reward.

Take a look at the external issues that contributed to the failure and tackle those you can control, you can’t control the economy; you can control the people you hire.  Don’t blame other people – failure is an event, never a person, recognizes that failure is going to happen – if it doesn’t, it probably means you are not setting high enough standards or not taking enough risks.

Sorry, I failed!

Chef EdieM

Sweet Braided Loaves

“This recipe was handed down from my grandmother to my mother; my mother had told me stories that her mother made Sweet Braided Loaves during the winter months into early spring, because of cost efficiency and the loaves would last for days on. The Sweet Braided Loaves would be served with soups and stews. Back in the 50’s and 60’s living in “alphabet city”, known in Manhattan, NY that Sweet Braided Loaves were the common bread served with any dish. Throughout the years I made it for my son during the Easter Holiday changing the recipe from time to time.”

Read more: https://chefediem.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

1 PACKAGE ACTIVE DRY YEAST

1/4 CUP WARM WATER

1 CUP WARM 2% MILK

1/2 CUP SUGAR

1/2 CUP BUTTER, SOFTENED

3 EGGS, ROOM TEMPERATURE

1/2 TEASPOON SALT

5 1/2 CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR

1 CUP GOLDEN RAISINS

Garnish:  2 Tablespoon sliced Almonds, 1 egg, lightly beaten

Let’s make this happen…

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, butter, eggs, salt and 3 cups flour; beat until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form soft an dough.  Stir in raisins.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough into six portions.  Shape each into a 12-in. rope. Place three ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under.  Repeat with remaining ropes. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  4. Brush with egg; sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire racks.
  5. Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each).

Enjoy!

Sweet Bread

Chef EdieM

Comfort Food | Chicken Pot Pie

Wake up America – Comfort Food is calling you!  During these cold winter days and nights all I do is think about comfort food, how about you?  Comfort food is traditional food which often provides a nostalgic or sentimental feeling, and is often characterized by a high carbohydrate level and simple preparation.  After a long hard day, we automatically start looking forward to dinner. We know that however rough our day was there’s something to look forward to. We seek out these comfort foods in diners, at our stoves and in the company of friends or even alone. Look, in truth, there is no bad comfort food or is there? Help me on this one, if it gives you comfort, it’s good, right?  But does that mean we don’t have our own ideas about which comfort foods are the best? I mean, obviously you already know the answer to that. Needless to say, I do enjoy my comfort foods.

This past weekend (the 2015 Oscar’s) I had made several dishes and posted them onto my social media page. What a turnout I must say it was for me!  Thank you, thank you to all my supporters and friends because the winning dish unanimously, was the Chicken Pot Pie.  This goes out to Ms. Nelly Nelly, enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie

This was the dish that my son and I shared for many years during cold winter nights when we both lived down by the Jersey Shores.  You know, I think there’s nothing that my son loves to eat than a homemade meal.  Let’s get started on this rich, delicious and beautiful dish.  This is simple and easy.

Ingredients
  • 2-4 pounds of clean, diced chicken breasts and thighs,  bones and skin removed, washed under cold water and patted dry
  • 2 ½ Kosher Salt (my preference, Olde Thompson Himalayan Pink Salt)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour,
  • ¼ teaspoon Baking Powder (my preference, Rumford reduced sodium and aluminum free)
  • ¼ cup Canola Oil
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons ice water
  • ½ cup fresh diced potatoes (steamed)
  • ½ cup fresh medium-diced carrots (steamed)
  • ½ cup fresh string beans (steamed)
  • ¼ cup yellow onions, chopped (steamed)
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 4 cups chicken stock, (from cooking the chicken)
Directions

Let’s make this happen…

  1. In a 4 quart stockpot, place the diced chicken breast and thighs in 4 cups of water. Add salt and pepper. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the chicken over medium heat until it is very tender, 50 minutes to an hour.  Cool to room temperature. Set aside for later.
  2. Sift together the flour, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and the baking powder. Place in food processor.  Add the shortening and pulse until the shortening is completely incorporated.  Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the mixture holds together into a ball.
  3. Divide the ball of dough in two, with one ball larger than the other. Roll out the smaller ball about 1/4/ inch thick and cut into strips.
  4. Lay half of the chicken in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Distribute half of the vegetables over the chicken.  Top with strips of unbaked dough. Top with the remaining of vegetables. Pour the broth into the casserole until reaches the top of the chicken.
  5. Dust top with minced fresh parsley leaves.
  6. Roll out the larger ball of dough about ¼ inch thick and place over the Chicken Pot Pie.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350F and place on a baking sheet to make it easier to transfer to and from the oven. Bake for 1 hour, until the crust begins to brown and the pie is bubbly.  Serve warm.

Chef EdieM Chicken Pot Pie

Pairing Wine:  Chardonnay

Chef EdieM

Enjoy!

My Life in Boxes

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND MEMOIRS OF CHEF EDIEM 11-18-87

These are series of short stories of my life, before and after my AVM surgery and recovery. Stories, from what I could remember for many years from notes to letters to myself; written on old Christmas wrapping paper used as scrap paper; paper towels, napkins and I even wrote on my clothing. I was strongly advised to write things down so I won’t forget. I’ve written notes during pre-op and post-op, part of my life story over twenty-eight years’ worth.  Silently I had put my life away in boxes for years, I never read nor looked at any my notes. I couldn’t, not until now.

I am a mother, a sister, an aunt, a lover, an activist – violence against children. I am a woman who adores life, who loves to cooks and going on cooking auditions, always intrigued with the unknown, enjoys writing, have a passion for the arts, and helping those less unfortunate as much as possible. I had endured sexual abuse since the age five and it continued into my mid to late teens. I can be raw at times, however still keeping it real.  I have a serious cleaning disorder, I brush my teeth in the shower, I swear, I spit like man and I dislike rude people. I am not different than the average person, so what makes me stand out from the rest of the population, I am a survivor of a right temporal Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) on my cerebellum. I had a Craniotomy 27 years ago.

PART 1:  The AVM

During my pregnancy and going on my third trimester my AVM became full blown during an outing at a public art show in Manhattan, NY. My surgery took place at New York Presbyterian/Columbia. During my “AVM recovery” I had to learn to live all over again-literately!!! I had an abnormal tangle of blood vessels in the brain that can cause devastating effects and it began to bleed. Most likely the AVM had existed in my brain for many years, perhaps for most of my life. I was fortunate to have received superb health care from doctors at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia and from Dr. Robert A. Solomon, Clinic neurosurgeon affiliated with The New York-Presbyterian/Columbia – Neurological Surgery and University Hospital.

In the late summer of 1987 the AVM in my brain began to bleed, causing symptoms for the first time. I began experiencing headaches that, in retrospect, were more severe than ordinary headaches. I had a pounding sensation in the right side of head. I went to my doctor, and he thought I had a cold. I slept allot because I couldn’t take muscle relaxants for the pain due to my pregnancy, but it got worse.

Then, mid-September of 1987, Sunday; the internal bleeding increased and my symptoms escalated. “It was Art Show day, which I was really looking forward to. “I woke up with my head hurting really badly. As usually, my pregnancy didn’t allow me to take any medication only Tylenol; I drove myself into the city and while driving into the Holland Tunnel my head was pounding. I threw up in the car. I managed to clean up and parked the car in the village. Avoiding being negative, I remember saying to myself, “it’s the pregnancy don’t panic”. I met up with my friends, we walked for an hour, I drank allot of water because of the heat, then suddenly I felt really sick, I thought if I ate something it would go away. But it didn’t. While I was walking back to the vehicle I felt a pop on my right side than a burst of bright tiny dots appeared, than total silent was creeping on me. I decide to go home and rest. The following day, I called out sick from work, called my doctor explained all that transpired, I was advised to go to the emergency at a New Jersey Hospital. The hospital physicians ordered an MRI, which revealed that I was experiencing serious bleeding in the brain. The AVM, only one to two centimeters in diameter, was large enough to be life-threatening. I was then advised to abort my pregnancy and immediately needed to have surgery. Being confused scared and without knowledge of the AVM I immediately contacted a reliable sort, my sister–in-law, Marion Marin who strongly suggested New York-Presbyterian/Columbia.Immediately, calls were made and within days I was transferred to New York-Presbyterian/Columbia.

Doctors at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia stabilized me but decided that surgery on the AVM should be postponed after the cesarean section delivery. The risk of coma or death as a complication of surgery is much higher of brain the team wisely chose not to operate immediately after the hemorrhage occurred.

After spending three weeks in the hospital, I was able to go home. My doctor told me he was handing my case over to Dr. Solomon, a neurosurgeon who eventually would perform my surgery. I left with warm memories of New York-Presbyterian/Columbia.

I faced difficult adjustments in my day-to-day life. It was critical that no sudden movement cause the AVM to begin bleeding again. “When I was released from the hospital, they gave me information about what I could and couldn’t do,” “I wasn’t allowed to do anything that would cause my brain to be active. I couldn’t lift, couldn’t paint, or work out. It was torture. It was horrible.

On November 18, 1987, I was ready for surgery. Dr. Solomon, who directs the endovascular neurosurgery program at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, operated on me. Then, over a period of nine prolonged and difficult hours Dr. Solomon performed a Craniotomy procedure to remove the malformation.

Dr. Solomon told me that I wouldn’t have to worry about the AVM for now and that I should know since I already had suffered an AVM that I may suffer another in my lifetime, regardless the outcome. When I left the hospital it was kind of a shock; I was out in the real world where everyone wasn’t as nice. During this period I was working with a major trading firm down by the World Trade Center area and I lost my job after the surgery.

I personally felt left to battle the demons of the world by myself; my life as I knew it turned upside down. I was seen differently by people; couldn’t work and constantly being discriminated because of my seizures episodes caused by the surgery; memory loss, rudeness was the new for me! Rejections, loss of friends, and sadly some family members turned away from me because they could deal with me. I lost my faith and questioned it many times. I suffered serious disability- loss of memory, I had to learn to read and write; almost instantly become a single parent and surrounded by domestic abuse didn’t help; and finally I moved hundreds of miles away to fix my untamed life.

I learned over the years of recovery that it was up to me to grow, adapt to new beginnings and be able to look out of the box. Which I did, years later I briefly studied Paralegal while working for a law firm; I worked for the Government | Army and then decided to become a Surgical Technician. In the next few weeks will be taking my state board exam for my license and I will continue my education, enjoying my family and friends, cooking, writing, volunteering and eyeing a possible future in the field of nutrition, health. “I am so blessed to have my life back after 27 years.” life is good again not perfect but good!

Chef EdieM

Memories, My Life in Boxes

Ensalada de Bacalao | Cod Fish Salad with Mojito

Puerto Rican Codfish Salad | Ensalada de Bacalao

Ensalada de Bacalao (Codfish Salad)

Ingredients
2 lbs, dry/salted bacalao, desalted
4 white potatoes, boiled and cubed
1 large red onion, peeled and sliced into rings
3 tomatoes, sliced
½ green bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 hard boiled eggs, shelled cooled and sliced
4 Fresh garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 avocados, sliced
1 small jar of red pimientos, sliced
½ cup Spanish olives ½ cup olive oil 1 tbsp of white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Let’s make this happen…

  1. Rinse codfish under warm running water to rinse off excess salt. Then add to a pot of boiling water, let it boil for about ½ hour. Drain the water, add fresh water and boil again for 20 minutes. Drain and let it cool.
  2. Shred or pull apart into bite size pieces using your fingers. Set aside to let drain and cool again.
  3. Clean, peel and dice potatoes into large cubes. Boil the potatoes for only 20 minutes. Let potatoes, sit and cool.
  4. Boil the eggs.
  5. Place the fish in the salad bowl as the first layer. Add the other ingredients except for the olive oil, vinegar & hard boiled eggs. Make other layers with the codfish and all the ingredients until all is used up., salt, and pepper. Combine vinegar & olive and drizzle over the salad. Gently toss until all ingredients are well coated with the dressing. Add sliced boiled eggs, & garnish with red pimientos.

Serves 6

Pairing: Ice Cold Mojito

Mojito Ingredients: Original recipe makes 1 cocktail Change Servings

10 Fresh mint leaves

½ Lime cut into 4 wedges

2 tablespoons white sugar, or to taste

1 cup ice cubes

1 ½ Ounces White Bacardi Rum

1/2 cup Club Soda

Let’s make this happen…

  1. Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice.
  2. Add 2 more lime wedges and the sugar, and muddle again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture.
  3. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice.
  4. Pour the rum over the ice, and fill the glass with carbonated water. Stir, taste, and add more sugar if desired.
  5. Garnish with the remaining lime wedge.

Note: If you’re going to muddle the mint leaves in the glass, add a little sugar to it too. The sugar is an abrasive and will grind up the leaves very well

Mojito Drinks

 

 

Enjoy Chef EdieM

Coconut Flan (Flan de Coco)

Let’s make this happen….

• ¾ cup white sugar
• 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
• 1 (12 fluid ounce) can coconut milk (Goya)
• 8 eggs
• 1/2 cup fresh shredded coconut
• 4 oz Philadelphia original cream cheese

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place 1 cup of the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook gently, without stirring, but shaking occasionally until the sugar has melted. Continue cooking until the sugar has completely melted and turned golden brown; then add 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk. Pour into a large, glass baking dish. Spread the caramel evenly over the bottom of the dish, then set aside to cool for 15 minutes before proceeding.

3. Once the caramel has hardened, shred coconut over caramel.

4. Pour the condensed milk, coconut milk, cream cheese and eggs into a blender. Blend for 3-5 minutes until smooth. Pour into baking dish over the caramel.

5. Pour 2 cups of cold water into larger deep baking pan, then place glass baking dish into the larger baking pan. You want to prevent the burning of the caramel and helps keeps the flan from sinking. Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes or until set. When done, remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the dish to separate the flan from the sides. Refrigerate overnight. Place flat dish over baking pan, flip and enjoy!

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