The Chefs Table http://chefreference.com/blog Web log for the hospitality and small business sectors Mon, 04 Nov 2013 12:45:53 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.4 en hourly 1 From Farm to Spork: Will Restaurants Become Obsolete? http://chefreference.com/blog/2013/11/04/from-farm-to-spork-will-restaurants-become-obsolete/ http://chefreference.com/blog/2013/11/04/from-farm-to-spork-will-restaurants-become-obsolete/#comments Mon, 04 Nov 2013 11:17:36 +0000 ftiess http://chefreference.com/blog/?p=313 Larousse Gastronomique which was written by Prosper Montagné describes the modern restaurant very differently than Mr. Bean may understand it today. The origin of the word Restaurant first appeared in the 16th century to describe a food that “restores” basically a restorative, or in French a restaurative These dishes were rich, highly flavored soups, made from a combination of ingredients with the intention of restoring a person’s lost strength due to either illness or malnutrition.
Until the late 18th century, the only opportunity an ordinary person would have to eat out was in the dining room of an inn, or at the table of a taverns or pub. Since most folks did not travel it was most likely at the tavern, to basically get legless while meeting up with their mates.
Food shops existed to supply roasted meats, breads, and preserved food items, and these shops were regulated under a tightly controlled system of Guilds, which of course was controlled by the ruling class. Both Inn and Tavern served food but the main purpose of the visit was not to sit down and be served a meal as we understand a restaurants purpose today.
In about 1765, right after the Seven Year War which decimated France and led it into near Bankruptcy, which also caused as a grain shortage and sub sequent riots. A Parisian “bouillon-seller” named Boulanger, his name translates to Baker, wrote on his sign: Boulanger sells restoratives “fit for the gods”…This was the first restaurant in the modern sense of the term. Larousse indicates that this first dish was a soup made from sheep hooves, which Boulanger declared as a restorative because of the richness. Historical legend suggests that the entrepreneur Boulanger had an ulterior motive. This was also to avoid paying the required fees to the guilds which regulated food production in shops and on the street. So to avoid these fees he opened a soup shop because there was not a Soup maker’s guild. Basically our entire system of restaurant operation is founded in the notion of not having to pay the ruling party their tax, not that present day restaurateurs would ever entertain that concept on April 15th.
In 1766 the Maison de Sante , the house of health, was opened by Roze and Pontaille who followed the entrepreneurial lead that Boulanger had established to supply the growing demand for meals away from home and industry was born and based upon providing a food service that was supposed to restore someone’s health.
Restaurant did make progress through the 1950’s when a new venue came to the market place. The Fast Food Restaurant. Today 70% of our breakfasts are consumed via the drive through window – fast food has changed the way we eat, for many of us it has changed the definition of the restaurant because of the cost of products sourced to keep the prices relatively low.
America has made progress in food production through agriculture. These products are readily available to all socioeconomic levels at home and abroad. Livestock is bigger because of genetic modifications and commodity feed supplies. Fresh produce is more visually appealing because much of the less attractive products are sold in bulk to food processing plant. Lets examine the real issues as to why the landscape has changed in the restaurant business. Lets ask some of the tougher questions.
Over 90% of the food produced today is owned by six major corporations. One of the reasons for this unification of productions is because of farm subsidies. These subsidies were originally designed to help struggling farmers 75 years ago. These subsidies are still in effect , resulting in over 20 billion tax dollars that go directly to the producers of corn, soy, wheat, rice, corn fed livestock, tobacco, and cotton.
Does this sound familiar? The production of food was controlled by guilds, now they are controlled by multinational corporations. Don’t get me wrong there isn’t anything wrong with a company making a profit in order to supply our population with quality food. Every family wants to send their children to bed without being hungry. In addition there is no way that the 10% of food producers could every fill the order of the masses.
Since these food innovations began the number of meals produced in U.S. restaurants has grown exponentially from 60 million meals daily in 1948 to today’s figure of over 130 million meals per day, produced in over 955k establishments, with restaurant sales of $660 billion. Population has also grown from 150 million in 1948 to 315 million in 2013, this indicates that meals served is proportional to population growth. A key indicator that the food service industry has grown is the rise in restaurant employees, up 1.5 million from 10 years ago to 13.1 million with growth projections of an additional 1.3 million over the next ten years.
With all of these great innovations, processes and economic changes what has happened to the restaurant patron, has our dining preference changed from 50 years ago?

It is not the number of meals served that is in question , therefore it must be something else. Perhaps it is not the frequency of meals but the volume of what is served. After all we eat with our eyes first, and we have an inherit desire to get what we believe to be value for our dollar. Look at your last restaurant experience, how many of the items you consumed were the result of commodity food production.
Is the volume of food portioned on the plate the reason why obesity has risen to epidemic levels? We or at least some of us are getting larger, is it simply because we are consuming the Flinstonian size portions that are being served to us.
Our menus feature mountainous portions of processed corn fed proteins served over pastas with creamy based sauces that are usually taken home because our customers fill up on the endless bowl of iceberg lettuce tossed with partially hydrogenated corn oil and artificial flavorings, and of course baskets of piping hot bread sticks. Some customers perceive this as a value.
Others are simply trying to find a reasonably priced meal that is based upon the quality…. over the quantity of ingredients.

Is this the contributing factor to the steady rate of heart diseases deaths? Heart disease resulted in 1 in every 4 deaths last year, costing us $109 billion. Most Americans are aware of the link between nutrition and disease prevention, and yet the problem still exists. What has the food service industry really done about it, yes we have nutritional labels available for our menu items but do customers read them before they place their order, or do they look at the pretty pictures that we entice them with on our menus.

Our children are becoming less tolerant to certain foods than they were 50 years ago- why is this? Isn’t milk and grains were good for us? Is it because there is something missing in genetic code of ingredient that has been modified to increase the yield or is it because we have consumed too much of it in our diet due because its prominence in processed foods?
We are trashing the environment because we desire food products that need to being shipped from thousands of miles away all to give the consumer what he or she wants, and when they want it.

I had the privilege of growing up in the farm lands of upstate NY – we had several acre of land with a garden that was about an acre.
We grew big boy tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, green beans, and bread and butter corn – we had grape barber to grow concord grapes for jelly, an asparagus bed , and a Macintosh apple tree.
This time of year our house smelled like a tomato sauce factory, gallons of tomatoes reduced down then frozen to supply us throughout the year for our mainstay dish- pasta with tomato sauce. My mom was a Pharmacist – every vigilant about artificial ingredients, she made items that could be frozen and prepared without the use of preservatives. We never had blueberries in October and apples in spring. Think about it- what is in season right now, why do our bodies crave apples in fall and blueberries in spring. Melons in May, peaches in August. We have been intelligently designed to want the pectin in apples and fresh cider for the same season we consume high fat items in fall to prepare for winter, increase our intake of citrus, hence vitamin c in the winter to support our immune system, then as the weather warms and we have a need to regenerate more new cells in the spring we desire berries, hydrate our bodies with the sweet refreshing juice of melons, and enjoy the complexity of stone fruits and grapes in summer, spitting out the pits and seeds so that they have just the right amount of time to develop into new plants the next spring.
Some folks believe that the overall decline in heath is a result of our families leaving tv tray tables holding a hungry man frozen dinner to the comfy seats of a minivan for a happy meal. They choose to blame women who left the kitchen to work in the market place as the primary cause, instead of looking at the macro-evolutionary changes that have taken place.
A more likely diagnosis is that we have become a consumer based society due to the velocity of life that we lead today over the simplicity of life 50 years ago.
The palate of the average American has changed greatly as well. We have moved from locally grown whole foods to the desire for convenience processed food, just look at your supermarket, how much is fresh and how much is preserved. How did this change happen?
Consumers are bombarded by restaurant and food advertisements that entice us to consume dishes that are based upon the steady, profitable supply of commodity ingredients. Many restaurants advertise Cheap…fast… casual dining of generous portions of fried and glazed food that apparently not consumed by folks like me they are devoured by young skinny models.
When was the last time you viewed a television advertisement for a whole wheat pita filled with a chick pea salad, with a garlic yogurt sauce. Even though it is healthy and it would be an excellent choice for a meal many corporations rely upon what the consumer has been conditioned to respond to – high fat, salty, sweet, crisp and juicy.
We want these foods because food service supply companies tell us we want it …….and more convincingly we deserve it. They use low cost ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, emulsified whey processed with vegetable oil aka American cheese, steaks , burgers and ribs from grain fed cattle, and of course chicken parts that are processed into nugget shapes that are battered in soy and wheat based batters then fried in soy oil.
After all to the credit of these companies these items are relative easy to produce, store, market to a customer that has been educated to believe that meat is good for you, and milk / processed cheese builds strong bones. Even though research has shown that over consumption of these two food groups is the major factor in nutrition related disease, they still prepare it and we still buy it.
Perhaps it is because both consumer and producer are encouraged to do so. There are restaurant chains thought that are becoming quite successful by veering off the path worn down by industry connected with commodities, blazing new trails and opportunities that are more responsible, Chipotle comes to mind.
Restaurants like Chipotle have progressed even farther; they serve quality sustainable foods that are generally nutritious. Steve Ells once said “Today we recognize that fresh isn’t enough. It’s important to understand how animals are raised and how vegetables are grown…. if you’re going to source the best ingredients and serve the best-tasting food.”
Our lives are so busy that on average a family of four eats more than half of their meals out. They seek to have a quality budget friendly meal on their way home from a soccer game, or in a mad rush to school or work to get an inexpensive breakfast.
Dave Thomas founder of Wendys and protégé to Colonel Harlan Sanders said it well “ It all comes back to the basics. Serve customers the best-tasting food at a good value in a clean, comfortable restaurant, and they’ll keep coming back.”
Successful entrepreneur’s, independent and franchise, understand the concept of quality – delivering a consistent product based upon a predetermined standard. Kind of like the addictive blend of spices the Colonel uses to lour us back.
Will restaurants become obsolete? Only if we let them.

The content above was presented at a Honors Symposium featuring Chefs Fred Tiess and Tim Cameron on October 30th 2013. Honors students, faculty and local restaurateurs participated in this traditional symposium discussion which was moderated by Chef Peter Reinhart. The event was organized by Professors Mark Peres JD, and Adam Smith PhD .

Resources
Michael Pollan – In Defense of Food http://michaelpollan.com/
Karl Weber – Food Inc.
Brian Ford – The Future of Food
National Restaurant Association – Research
NRA – Forecast 2013

]]>
http://chefreference.com/blog/2013/11/04/from-farm-to-spork-will-restaurants-become-obsolete/feed/ 21
The Chefs Reference Guide E-Textbook on Kno http://chefreference.com/blog/2013/08/23/the-chefs-reference-guide-e-textbook-on-kno/ http://chefreference.com/blog/2013/08/23/the-chefs-reference-guide-e-textbook-on-kno/#comments Fri, 23 Aug 2013 16:22:39 +0000 ftiess http://chefreference.com/blog/?p=304 Thank you for purchasing this edition of The Chefs Reference Guide. We would like you to become familiar with the applications on the Kno.com site in order to utilize the enhanced features. In addition to these videos there are three ways you can find the enhanced content in the book through a tablet or web device
Kno Saves Students Time

1.Linked Word-these will be underlined for quick access.
Embedded Text Link
2. Linked Area- these areas will have a icon pop up to announce where the link is located. There are links attached to the chefs hat image as well as embedded links within in the recipe matrix found on pages 33-158. To view these links simply click anywhere within the recipe to view the available links.
Smartlink within recipe
3. Smartlink Drawers- on the side of your viewable page there will be a links to web based tools, as well as related enhanced content.
Social Sharing

In addition to the linked enhancement please also view how to use the search function.
Advanced Search with Kno

You can write in your e-textbook, scratch down notes or make an adjustment
Kno Pen

Flashcards are available to quizzes and tests
Kno Flashcards
In the terminology/ glossary section we have included links to Harvard University’s Science and Cooking Series

Within the textbook you will notice links to videos produced by ChefSteps please visit their site to engage in learning about Modernist Techniques in Culinary Arts.

Please let us know if there is content you believe to be valuable to other chefs.
This work is dedicated to the Chefs who have come before us, for those whose shoulders we now stand upon, and to those who will one day stand upon our shoulders.

]]>
http://chefreference.com/blog/2013/08/23/the-chefs-reference-guide-e-textbook-on-kno/feed/ 12
Serving Safe Food http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/08/03/serving-safe-food/ http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/08/03/serving-safe-food/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2009 19:55:05 +0000 ftiess http://chefreference.com/blog/?page_id=176 The most important thing that anyone who handles food needs to know is the cause and effect of their food handling actions. Those who have been trained about of the essentials of food safety are less likely to cause food related contamination. This hour long course of study will equip you with these essentials.

There are three types of food contaminations are Chemical, Physical and Biological.
As a food handler what you need to remember is

1. All cleaning chemicals must be handled according to the manufacturers stipulations. The chemicals can not be stored near any food production areas.

2. Physical contaminations include hair, nail fragments, bandages, metal fragments, and broken glass.
a. Always keep your hair constrained within a hairnet or hat according to the operation manager’s regulation.
b. Keep your nails trimmed and clean, do not use finger nail polish, wear gloves when handling ready to eat foods, or if your hands have bandages, nail polish, or irremovable rings.
c. Metal fillings from can openers must be cleaned off between each use.
d. Glass must never come in contact with ice dispensing areas, or used in the kitchen to consume beverages. If glass is stored in the refrigerator it must be stored away from ready to eat foods.

3. Please review the following video concerning biological contaminants.

The key item to remember is that food has a certain amount of time that can remain in the temperature danger zone, or TDZ. The TDZ or temperature danger zone is between 41° and 140°. Chilled food must be stored below 41° and all hot food must be held above 140°. The amount of time that these foods can be held outside of the TDZ depends upon expiration dates, and the HAACP proven systems of time and temperature control.

As part of the time and temperature control systems food can only be held hot for a defined period of time and must be reheated to 165° if the temperature drops below 140°. The current regulations include a minimum variance of hot holding between 135° and 145°. Please check with your operation’s manager to verify the correct minimum holding temperature in your establishment.

The correct actions by a food handler are the keys to ensuring safe food. These include:
1. Washing your hands.
a. After using the restroom.
b. After touching your face or skin.
c. After removing the trash.
d. After handling soiled dishes, service ware or pots.
e. After handling raw foods.
f. Between glove uses.
g. In between tasks including before you start work.

2. Report any illness’s to your operation’s manager. You may need to provide a doctor’s clearance before you are permitted to handle food that is to be consumed.
3. Keeping yourself clean by bathing or showering daily. Avoid using perfume or cologne before preparing food.
4. Only wear clean clothes and a clean apron while involved in food preparation.
5. Hair must be contained within a hat and/or hairnet.
6. Change or use gloves when:
a. Utensils are not practical.
b. If you have a wound on your hand.
c. When handleing ready to eat foods.
d. The glove becomes torn or damaged.
e. When leaving your station or changing tasks.

Another way that a food handler can ensure that food is safe is to cook or reheat foods to the correct temperature. The only acceptable method to check the internal temperature of a food item is through the use a calibrated thermometer. Check with your operation manager or standardized recipe for the correct cooking temperature.

Cross contamination is one of the leading causes for food borne illness. Always wash rinse and sanitize;
1. Hands between tasks, after handling food or chemicals with your hands, and before beginning work.
2. Cutting boards in between tasks.
3. All preparation items after each use.

Never
1. Use sanitizer in place of soap and water.
2. Combine raw and cooked foods or place on the same surface.
3. Store potentially hazardous foods above ready to eat food.
4. Prepare vegetable or fruits that have not been washed properly.

Finally only prepare foods that are wholesome to begin with:
1. Purchase food from approved sources.
2. Never use a product from a damaged container.
3. Receive and store foods at the correct holding temperatures.
4. Only use foods that have been covered, labeled and dated.
5. Store food in the refrigerator based upon how potentially hazardous they are. Always keep proteins in a seperate refrigerator to lessen the chance of cross contamination.

Refrigerator 1 Example
- Top shelf-Cooked Ready to eat foods
Stocks and prepared mise en place.
Produce
Dairy
Bottom ShelfEggs

Refrigerator 2 Example -Top Shelf-Sealed Packaged Seafood
Sealed Package Whole Proteins
Portioned Proteins
Portioned Ground Meat
Sealed Packed Poultry
Bottom ShelfPortioned Poultry

Whole seafood and fish that is packed in ice must be stored in its own refrigerator

6. Don’t use prepared food items that are more than 7 days old.
7. Control all pests by keeping food preparation areas clean.
8. Store chemicals away from food.

The proper cooling of prepared foods is critical. To ensure that food is cooled properly always cool the prepared food in shallow pans. This two stage cooling check system required that the food must be cooled to 70 degrees within the first two hours and cooled then cooled from 70 degrees to 41 degrees in less than 4 hours. Maximum cooling time allowance is 6 hours from above 140 degrees to below 41 degrees.

Lets Review.

To summarize: Wash you hands often, wear gloves when needed, watch how you store food, and abide by the time and temperatue rules of food preparation.

Please visit our website for additional products and services. www.chefreference.com

]]>
http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/08/03/serving-safe-food/feed/ 0
Give them what they ask for. http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/04/12/give-them-what-they-ask-for/ http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/04/12/give-them-what-they-ask-for/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2009 00:41:54 +0000 ftiess http://chefreference.com/blog/?p=169 Here is one of my favorite scenes concerning the issue of a purpose driven restaurant… to satisfy the customer and make money. (There are some colorful metaphors used, please excuse the language)

]]>
http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/04/12/give-them-what-they-ask-for/feed/ 0
Metaphoric Computing – examining the growth of entrepreneurial initiatives. http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/03/15/metaphoric-computing-%e2%80%93-examining-the-growth-of-entrepreneurial-initiatives/ http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/03/15/metaphoric-computing-%e2%80%93-examining-the-growth-of-entrepreneurial-initiatives/#comments Sun, 15 Mar 2009 13:42:25 +0000 ftiess http://chefreference.com/blog/?p=158

This interview, concerning the Kauffman organization, really brings out a great topic of discussion. Because I grew up in “IBM country”, the Hudson Valley of New York, I have observed the growth of many entrepreneurial startups in the Poughkeepsie area since the massive job cuts of 1993. This was due in part to a disenfranchisement with the consumers needs. In the 1980s companies like Microsoft and Apple where producing larger quantities of smaller capacity computers and software, meanwhile IBM was producing smaller numbers of massive capacity computers. As history has proven the sale of the smaller capacity computers and greater capacity software exponentially grew while the sale of the larger capacity computers continued to decrease. IBM missed a fundamental paradigm shift—that the value added in computer sales was shifting from hardware to software. The aggregate value of intellectual capital in software was on the rise while hardware was becoming a commodity product whose prices experienced diminished returns.

In my research I have found over a hundred startups in the East Fishkill New York area, as a result of the IBM job cuts. One of the things that I had assumed as a lad was that IBM would continue to grow, many of my friend’s parents had worked for IBM and our family business, retail pharmacy, relied upon the continued growth of IBM. So you can imagine we were concerned in the 1990s when the structure of our microcosm of high tech industry based jobs changed. What was really amazing was the rather quick growth of these smaller yet nimble computer design firms. Prior IBM employees had learned that their future success was really in their own hands. They could no longer rely on a single entity to support their career choice.

As we see the similar restructuring of companies and displacement of North Carolina jobs today, Bank of America, NASCAR Teams and Freightliner to name a few, what will the future hold? Those innovators who have the ability to accept the change, overcome and adapt to the market shift will be the leaders of tomorrow’s entrepreneurial growth.

]]>
http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/03/15/metaphoric-computing-%e2%80%93-examining-the-growth-of-entrepreneurial-initiatives/feed/ 0
Marginalized Cuisine- When finance gets in the way of quality. http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/03/02/marginalized-cuisine-when-finance-gets-in-the-way-of-quality/ http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/03/02/marginalized-cuisine-when-finance-gets-in-the-way-of-quality/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2009 21:42:21 +0000 ftiess http://chefreference.com/blog/?p=124 Unmet Expectations
How many times have you visited a restaurant only to end up with a sour feeling in the pit of you stomach? You just realized that warming up the leftovers from last nights dinner would have been a better choice then spending fifty bucks for your family to dine on packaged pre-prepared microwaved dishes from a chain restaurant.

In my book The Culinary Reference Guide, I discuss this concept in the preface entitled, Mental Mise en Place. “Have you ever been to a restaurant where you ordered the same thing on twp separate occasions? When you went back to the restaurant was that meal just as good as the first time? If your answer is no then perhaps, your second experience was an improper execution of the formula. …. This is where the consistency of preparation is critical; you ordered the dish the second time because you liked it the first. Most guests will not reorder a dish that they did not like the first time….”

Drs. Joann and Jim Carland put it another way in their Catching the Dream Series of course materials, to quote and paraphrase from chapter seven of New Venture Growth 3rd edition- Production management. To paraphrase managers are in charge of achieving production goals without sacrificing quality, “if inferior raw materials are purchased inferior products will result. If poorly trained or incompetent people are used on the production line, inferior products will result.”

Quality
Quality is the consistent delivery of a predetermined standard. Without recognized standards and customer-validated expectations, the growth of a brand will not succeed. Why has McDonalds done so well over these past 53 years? Think about it…. the consistent delivery of a predetermined standard. McDonalds became popular as Americans took to the road in the 1950’s, and with any road trip, the necessity, for families to find a safe, quick, and inexpensive place to eat. The reason why there are so many chain restaurants today is directly linked to the success of this business model.

Recent Experience
Recently my family and I went out for lunch to a chain restaurant that we had visited last year. Our first time was on Mothers Day, of all days, the service was ok the food was good. It seemed as if someone had finally found the formula to produce this ethnic cuisine in a sustainable efficient manner. I am a big fan of this particular ethnic cuisine, (by the way I am not trying to indict this restaurant chain in any way and therefore will only give the particulars that are relevant), and since moving to Charlotte several years ago have only found one restaurant, of this cuisine, that has been consistent and of good quality. This recent visit left us walking away, and, as mentioned earlier questioning why we did not have leftover instead. The food was hot and apparently safe, but there was something missing, oh yeah, the flavor we had enjoyed in the past. The key to prepare and serve this particular cuisine is in the freshness and quality of ingredients, and since the time of our last visit something had changed, the quality of food. Our meal tasted like it had been prepared from a box of prescribed ingredients as opposed to being made from fresh product.

The Taste of Industrialized Cooking.
Upon investigation of this restaurants parent company Brinker International some quality issues are rather apparent. Brinker International is one of the world’s leading casual dining restaurant companies. With more than 1,900 restaurants and over 120,000 team members in 25 countries, we welcome more than 1.2 million guests into our restaurants every day. (Source -Brinker.com). Doug Brooks, Brinker International President was quoted in the The Dallas Morning News on October 30, 2008 by Karen Robinson-Jacobs stating their restaurant are experiencing a “difficult operating environment as our country works through these economic challenges,” It is for that reason the Brinker is seeking to expand its brands in markets outside of the U.S. by opening 41 new operations. Going global brings with it a different standard of customer expectations. One of the largest growth areas is the Middle East, yes the land of milk and honey and crude oil is going to be introduced to Salsa, Guacamole and Fajitas. Actually, the cuisines are quite similar- meat grilled and served on a flatbread with a raw vegetable sauce. Brinker International advertised in the August 2008 Food Safety and Quality Website for a Quality Assurance / Food Safety Manager listing the job requirement: “Design, implement and manage the product assessment process for assigned products to ensure that all products are routinely assessed for the physical, chemical, organoleptic and/or microbiological analyses per specified parameters and frequencies Ensure that all suppliers and distributors have annual third party sanitation facility audits, recall programs and all relevant food safety and product quality programs”

So you are probably asking yourself, so what does this have to do with the change in quality control issue from the last visit. Simply, in my opinion, when a food company goes global the distribution of ingredients, consistency of product availability and above all prime costs are factors that may have precedence over the quality of the product. Looking over several quarterly reports issued by Brinker cost of sales increased from 27.9 percent in the prior year to 28.6 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008, August 05. By the end of the Second Quarter Fiscal 2009 on January 22 Brinker reported “Cost of sales, as a percent of revenues, decreased from 28.3 percent in the prior year to 28.2 percent in the second quarter of fiscal 2009. During the quarter, favorable menu price changes more than offset the negative impact on cost of sales of unfavorable commodity prices primarily related to chicken, produce and oils and sauces.”

Yes, we can have the same entrée in Charlotte and Dubai, but that does not mean that the entrée will please both Ricky Bobby’s and the Sheiks taste buds.
In summary something had changed in this ethnic restaurant’s recipe of quality assured preparations, it was not the cook in the restaurant, the server, our even the menu. It was the marginalization of the mass produced sauces, and preparations. Shaving pennies from the cost of food budget has probably caused this company to reformulate their base recipes, which of course could affect the final product. A company can only succeed if it exceeds its guests expectations, altering the production standards may help for a few financial periods, but in the long run marginalization of production ruins the brand.

Resources
1.Tiess, Frederick. The Culinary Reference Guide. 2nd. Matthews: Le Guild Culinaire, 2006.
2.JoAnn & Jim Carland (2005) Catching the American Dream: New Venture Growth, Whitney Press.
3. www.mcdonalds.com
4. www.brinker.com
5. Robinson-Jacobs , Karen . Brinker counts on international restaurant growth as U.S. economy sags.” The Dallas Morning News October 30, 2008 , ‘natl. ed
6. Arabian Food Supplies Launches Popular Mexican Restaurant Locations In The Middle East.” UAE NEWS. 2 Mar 2009 .
7. “QA / Food Safety Manager – Dallas, TX.” The Comprehensive Food Safety Website. Aug 2008. FoodHACCP.com. 2 Mar 2009 8. www.businessdictionary.com
9. www.youtube.com

]]>
http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/03/02/marginalized-cuisine-when-finance-gets-in-the-way-of-quality/feed/ 1
Navigating the 4 C’s of Credit around the Perfect Economic Storm. http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/02/24/navigating-the-4-c%e2%80%99s-of-credit-around-the-perfect-economic-storm/ http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/02/24/navigating-the-4-c%e2%80%99s-of-credit-around-the-perfect-economic-storm/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2009 01:46:46 +0000 ftiess http://chefreference.com/blog/?p=115

Getting your bearings straight. To state it simply the 4 C’s of credit are Character, Capacity, Capital, and Conditions. All of these factors are used in the evaluation by a prudent loan officer to develop an extension of credit from a lender to a borrower. Besides being the most important factor Character also hold the distinction of being the hardest of the factors to accurately measure. Capacity refers the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. Capital evaluation involves looking over the financial strength of the borrower by determining his or her Net Worth. Finally, the economy, national security, and unemployment rates are all Conditions that may affect a borrower’s ability to secure a loan.

In Irons – to head in the wind and refuse to fall off
Character evaluation is the single most difficult measure of a person’s ability to repay a loan. Has the person been bankrupt before, has their car ever been reposed, have they attended college, do they own a home? These are all questions, plus many others that a loan officer must use to determine if a person is of good character for a loan consideration. In my opinion character must be developed at a rather young age, and rarely develops past the stage of pre-pubescence. When morals, ethics, and values are instilled in a child, he or she will have the ability to make the tougher choices when they are older.

Waterline -the line along the hull at which a boat floats.
Capacity to repay a loan is the second factor in a loan evaluation. How much does the borrower owe, own, and earn? This is one of the problems associated with today’s housing crisis. In the October 13th 2008 issue of Time Magazine Niall Ferguson wrote “when families and banks tip into bankruptcy, more assets get dumped on the market driving prices down further and necessitating more deleveraging This process now has so much momentum that even $ 700 billion in taxpayer money may not suffice to stop it.”
So with our current figure of bailout dept reaching a trillion how can we expect to stay afloat?
Ferguson stated the cause “Much of the increase in debt was used to invest in real estate. The result was a bubble….as bubbles always do- it bursts” All of the mortgage telemarketers, Di-Tech commercials and snail mail loan offers in the world will not fix the storm that we have created for ourselves. How will the government fix it, sorry to tell you but they can’t. We have to start thinking a little more for ourselves before taking that “Live Now Pay Later” refinance deal that in some cases have place the value of the principle mortgage more than the home is worth. Why are some people sinking in this mortgage crisis, they have consumed so much that their boats waterline is now below sea level.

True Wind -the direction and speed of the wind felt when stationary, at anchor or on land.
Capital has been for years been based upon the value of one’s home, as collateral. Today though, one’s net worth is really based upon liquid assets, stock, bonds, and securities. It is for that reason that the credit market has been frozen, and yes beginning to thaw these past few months. With a dead housing market, diminished holdings no wonder we have seen so many commercials concerning selling and buying of gold. After all it is really the only stable capital .

Jibing – changing direction with the wind aft; to change from one tack to another by turning the stern through the wind; also spelled gibing.
Conditions have affected the credit market for the last few months and will continue to in the long run. Our current state, we are at war on at least two fronts, we are in the biggest economic recession since the depression, our invest securities market is less than half the value that it was last year, we are bleeding millions of jobs. Today Jeannine Aversa, an AP Economics Writer quoted Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke “Only if that is the case, in my view there is a reasonable prospect that the current recession will end in 2009 and that 2010 will be a year of recovery,” Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee. So just when the wind picks up, the seas are getting a little rough, the sails are trimmed and we have a new helmsman, gibe ho. Lets hope for the best. By way the markets did go up based Bernanke’s comments.

So what is the most important thing to remember about the 4 C’s of creditConcerning Consumer Credit- Common Sense

Resources
1. JoAnn & Jim Carland (2005) Catching the American Dream: New Venture Growth video series.

2. Fox, Elizabeth. “BASIC SAILING: Sailing Terms.” 1997. Rutgers University School of Communication

3. Ferguson , Niall. “The End of Prosperity.” Time Magazine 13 Oct 2008: 36-39.

4. Jeannine Aversa . “Bernanke: economy suffering ’severe contraction’.” Associated Press Tue Feb 24, 4:59 pm ET 24 Feb 2009

5. Rosland Capital Commercial

]]>
http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/02/24/navigating-the-4-c%e2%80%99s-of-credit-around-the-perfect-economic-storm/feed/ 11
And the envelope please ..the Oscar for best short film animation is http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/02/21/and-the-envelope-please-the-oscar-for-best-short-film-animation-is/ http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/02/21/and-the-envelope-please-the-oscar-for-best-short-film-animation-is/#comments Sat, 21 Feb 2009 21:19:53 +0000 ftiess http://chefreference.com/blog/?p=108 “Fraudulent at 50, the State of our Union” Starring…….
One can almost hear the late Don LaFontaine say

In a time when we see corporate America conducting themselves in a manner unbecoming that of a fiduciary officer why has the spotlight of truth only recently found its mark on the stage of reason? Have we not learned the lessons of WorldCom and Enron?

For years we have seen the obsolesce of certain brands of American produced automobiles and have questioned the relevance and reason for purchase of such gas-guzzlers with gas prices reaching an all time national average of $3.97, on July 7th 2008. We have seen the value of bank stocks plummet because of the corporate mismanagement of expected growth and recently seen their lack of understanding in the solvency of the financial market. More importantly, we have seen a bait and switch technique used by the highest of officials in promising one thing, the creation of 4 million jobs to now saving 4 million jobs. Viewpoint 4 min 15 sec.

What is the common factor in all of these cases, accountability? For too long we have wanted more than we have needed, taken more than was fair, and given back when it was convenient. This is not an argument for socialism; it is an argument for accountability. The backbone of our economy is not the automakers, the banks, or the fed; it is the small business owner, their employees and customers.

When the common middle class citizen is reminded, on a daily basis, about the mis-statements, and “interpretations” of truth he or she may begin to question the validity of personal accountability. Is someone watching? Fraud by definition is “All multifarious means which human’s ingenuity can devise, and which are resorted to by one individual to get and advantage over another by false suggestion or suppression of the truth. It includes all surprise, trick, cunning, or dissembling, and any unfair way which another is cheated.” (Black ,468)

Others may argue that trimming a little of the fat, surplus of assets, off a business for the purpose of personal gain is an acceptable norm in today’s culture. I believe that business’s that hold themselves to a higher standard of asset accountability are the same business we will see flourishing after ten years. Dennis AuBuchon wrote, in the American Chronicle, titled The Benefits of Having Integrity in Business that “News events seem to play on the lack of integrity of individuals in business and the decisions they make in running it. The importance of integrity in business cannot be underestimated. Decisions made by management of companies affect the lives of their customers, themselves, and their employees.”

AuBuchon also states, “Companies must have in place a code of ethics/integrity which exemplifies the principles of integrity. These rules must be followed by all employees of the organization.” In my opinion the first step that a manager or operator must first take, when developing a plan for business, is an internal audit of the negotiable and non-negotiable factors in conducting that business’s activities. Negotiable matters may include the degree of disciplinary action that one may take when an employee does not perform as expected. Non- negotiable’s, in my opinion, are those areas of concern, which will cause the business to lose respect in the eyes of the public and the other employees. Examples include employee theft, misappropriation of funds and of course all activities that could be considered fraudulent under the noted definition.

Drs. Jim and Joann Carland stated in their work, “Catching the American Dream” the single most important factor in reducing fraud within a business, the perception of detection. The chance of employee fraud decreases once a system is established to reduce the risk of loss. Once employee knows the rules and the consequence for inappropriate actions, he or she is less likely to break them. Permitting our business to take place in the light of accountability is the most secure measure to protect ones self, our employees, and our customers.

Had the automakers had the foresight to see result of the road that they have traveled, forced into certain bankruptcy they might have gone greener and leaner a little earlier? What if someone questioned the extent and result of irresponsible mortgage lending 5 years ago, would two of the nations largest banks still be worth a tenth of their 2008 stock value now. Finally, when we Americans realize that “A change we can believe in” begins with our own integrity then “Yes we can” begins a path to individual, corporate, and global accountability. However until we “the people” reduce our own ambivalence to the truth we, most likely, will continue to run away from the spotlight of verity into the darkness of chicanery.

Resources

1. Historic Gas Prices http://zfacts.com/p/35.html

2. Banks http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE50K4DA20090221

3. Youtube- President Obama’s Press Conference 2/9/2008 Viewpoint 4:15

3. Black, H.C (1979) Blacks Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition, St. Paul West Publishing Company 468

4. AuBuchon, Dennis. “The Benefits of Having Integrity In Business.” American Chronicle October 19, 2007 21 Feb 2009 http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/40723>.

5. JoAnn & Jim Carland (2005) Catching the American Dream: New Venture Growth video series.

]]>
http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/02/21/and-the-envelope-please-the-oscar-for-best-short-film-animation-is/feed/ 2
Best Practices to Reduce Restaurant Employee based Fraud and Loss of Property. http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/02/18/best-practices-to-reduce-restaurant-employee-based-fraud-and-loss-of-property/ http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/02/18/best-practices-to-reduce-restaurant-employee-based-fraud-and-loss-of-property/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2009 02:09:11 +0000 ftiess http://chefreference.com/blog/?page_id=105 As an equal opportunity employer all candidates should go through a screening process regardless of position. Upon successful completion of the initial position review and upon the managers recommendation for employment the candidate will complete the screening process before the first day of employment.

Screening Process

Submit candidates name, social security number, and current address to an online employee reference contractor for a background check.
Send the candidate to a health service provider to screen for substance abuse and to perform a health care screening to ensure that the employee has the physical capacity to perform the duties.
Review the job specific policy and procedure checklist and have the employee sign and initial all expectations.

Front of the House – Servers, Cashier, Hostess

Cash and Credit Card
The hostess/ cashier should be accountable for all dining room transactions, transfers and credit.
He or she should provide a receipt for every transaction.
Servers must ensure the customer signs a copy of the credit card receipt.
The shift manager is responsible for setting up cash drawers for the cashier. The cashier will recount the drawer in front of the manager and both should sign the shift log at the beginning and end of business.
The cash register drawer should be closed after each transaction. Never leave a register unlocked when not attended. And never leave the register key with a register.
Identify each over-ring and under-ring. Managers should sign off all voids and over-rings.
Limit the amount of accumulated cash in any register. Use a drop-safe every 30 minutes for all amounts in excess of $200.00
Keep tendered bills on the register until the transaction is concluded.
Conduct only one transaction at a time.
Check for counterfeit currency. Use marker on all bills over $20.00.
In the event that a customer leaves without paying, or shortchanges the server, the server must report the theft to the manager immediately. This prevents servers from pocketing cash and blaming the customer.
All cash tips must be reported by the server in accordance with federal procedures.

Back of the House- Cooks, Steward, Dishwashers.

All orders must be printed on the computerized system. The only verbal food orders that should be allowed are those given by a shift manager.
All overcooked, spoiled or damage products must be reported to the line chef as soon as possible.
Any personal equipment- knives, utensils etc. must be identified with a personal inscription and stored at the end of your shift in the chefs’ office locker. There is one locked drawer for each cook. A utensil kit, issued at the first date of employment, including a spatula, two tongs, thermometer, 4 kitchen spoons must be secured in the cooks lock box at the end of the shift with all personal equipment. Cooks may not use toolboxes or carry cases to transport personal and restaurant tools to and from work.
All broken glassware and dishes must be secured in cardboard boxes for the shift supervisor to inspect at the end of the shift.

Inventory Control and Purchasing

A weekly physical inventory of all prime cost items should occur at irregular times and days. Prime cost items include all proteins and alcoholic beverages.
The purchasing steward should be responsible to provide to the shift manager all receipts of purchase for review at the end of the delivery window, a set period of time that orders may be received from purveyors. Spot check the steward to ensure that all items have been put away properly. Review the purchase list for the following day to see if multiple items are ordered. Since the steward opens the storeroom with the opening shift supervisor and maintains the storeroom during business hours the evening shift supervisor must receive the steward’s copy of the key and secure it for the following day.
In the event that any items are needed from the storage areas during the evening shift the shift manager will obtain the needed items.
All prime cost items must be counted at the beginning and ending of each shift. The line chef and bartender are responsible to the shift manager for the accountability of all prime cost items.
Doors to storage and supply rooms must be locked at all times that the shift manager or steward are not present.
All scheduled visitors and sales representative must enter the restaurant from the front entrance and be escorted to the office.
Delivery drivers are not permitted inside of the operation. If they need to use the restroom or see the manager they must be escorted.
Since all purchases are produced by a perpetual inventory that is based upon the point of sale system a physical inventory must be completed at the end of each month for all ingredients, small wares, and service wares.

Data Protection

Maintain all signed receipts for 90 days in accordance with credit card procedure. File in secure file cabinet on a weekly basis.
Cross-shred all potentially sensitive materials including customer receipts after 3 years of storage.
Store all purchase agreements in locked file cabinet.
Store all receipts of purchase for 3 years in locked file cabinet.
All personnel files must be locked in the file cabinet when not being referenced.
All file cabinets are to be locked when not in use.
All data files must be backed up daily on both the hard drive and through the secure net service. The automated backup of all transactions, purchases, disbursements and credits must be verified at the end of the business day. Once the data is electronically secure an email will be sent to your manager’s account verifying that the data is secure.

Personnel Policies

Keep a record of all employee purchases.
All employees must have the shift manager perform transactions for sale of items purchased from the restaurant.
Shift lockers should be available for all employees. Personal property must be kept in the lockers during working hours. Employee will need to provide a combination lock for locker use and remove it at the end of the shift.
Employees should be allowed access to the building during scheduled hours of work through the employee entrance. If the employee would like to visit other employees, or make a purchase from the dining room for any reason he or she must receive permission from the shift supervisor.
Breaks may be taken in the exterior smoking are outside. Employees should enter and exit the building using their electronic ID. Employees should be encouraged to take their break in the employee breakroom next to the time clock.
All employees must wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds after using the employee bathroom or after returning from a break.
Employees must park in the employee parking section only.

Refuse Control

Trash remove is to be handled by both of the dishwashers. Trash is be removed at the end of the shift and placed in the locked trash bins located outside. The shift manager should be responsible to monitor the disposal of the trash during closing procedures using the closed circuit recording system.
The shift manager must check the lock at the end of the shift and inspect the surrounding area for possible pilfered goods.

Bank Deposits, Key Control and Cash Security

At the end of the shift the shift manager should be responsible to complete the closing statement and bank deposit form. Once the funds, receipts and form are locked in the bank deposit bag each bag should be locked in the safe located in management office.
Safe-drop collection. The safe is a time safe that will allow you to collect the safe-drop collections from the cashier area. The key to access the safe-drop is located inside of the safe. The time that this is be done, safe-drop transfer to secure safe, is between shifts and at the end of the business day. During the transfer time during the day both managers are to escort the deposit to the secure safe. Since only one manager is on duty at the end of the day the building must first be secure then the transfer is to be made with the line chef and the shift manager.
At some time of the mid shift – between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm an armored security service should pick up and make the bank deposit. Shift managers should have a master key which secures both the public entrance/ exit, storeroom, managers office and the kitchen /employee entrance/ exit.
The secure safe, primary safe, has a personal safe combination which is issued to each shift manager. Access to this safe uses the shift manager electronic id and the combination entry. Giving this card or combination to any person could be grounds for immediate dismissal and possible criminal charges if fraud is committed.

Security Recording Devices

Cameras should be strategically located all around the premises and should be monitored from both the managers’ office and security.

]]>
http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/02/18/best-practices-to-reduce-restaurant-employee-based-fraud-and-loss-of-property/feed/ 3
Extreme Makeover- the E-commerce Edition http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/02/14/extreme-makeover-the-e-commerce-edition/ http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/02/14/extreme-makeover-the-e-commerce-edition/#comments Sun, 15 Feb 2009 00:27:39 +0000 ftiess http://chefreference.com/blog/?p=69

Goooood Morning Sears Family

Are the typical brick and mortar Sears storefront and iconic images of past Wishbooks are being replaced by the “softer side” of commerce? When thinking of an adaptation in commerce I was reminded of the success of Sears.

Past and Present
Sears Roebuck, in business since 1887, started as a catalog company offering jewelry adapted to market needs during the roaring twenties to open its first store in 1925. Through the depression and several wars Sears continued to grow because of its commitment to expand its brands and marketing efforts. Ten years ago Sears ventured into e-commerce by developing Sears.com. The current marketing program features a sponsorship of Ty Pennington’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition.

After over a hundred years of growth, decline, growth, and now again decline businesses, like Sears are reaching reluctant shoppers through on-line point of sale and store pickup transactions, an advantage over on-line only retailers.

Sears has several marketing advantages over other on-line retailers like Amazon.com and Overstock.com. With over 3800 stores and a annual revenue exceeding 50 billion dollars Sears is physically accessible to most Americans. Unlike e-commerce retailers that only sell on-line, retailers that have adopted the best practices of an on-line format, like Sears can capture and complete transactions within an hour as opposed to days. The customer can also return the product without the cost of shipping the item back.

The Shopper

Since on-line shoppers are researching products more and more, before venturing into a store the reassurance that a high ticket product is accessibly tactile is becoming more important. In this baby boomers perspective companies like Amazon and Overstock are located some where in cyberspace, I know they are out there, yet I can not see it. Therefore I must have faith that they will complete a transaction based upon a perceived reality of existence. I need to do the on-line research work to get the best price, and to actually see if the product is for me I need to visit a showroom, I am a tactile shopper, not a very efficient way of shopping.

What will the future hold for e-commerce?

Recently Mukesh Chatter, President and CEO of NeoSaej discussed the future of e-commerce with radio host Larry Webber, of Market Edge.

Future of ECommerce

Mukesh Chatter, President and CEO of NeoSaej, discusses the future of ecommerce, and MoneyAisle, a next generation online auction marketplace where consumers find great rates on bank CDs and High Yield Savings accounts.


Show Host:
Larry Weber

Show: Market Edge


Channel: Internet Marketing



In a two words the future of e-commerce for a successful retailer is competitive efficiency. The disintermediation in the cost of advertisement will reduce the overall competitive cost to the consumer. Variations in retail prices has become an individualized commodity market for e-commerce participants, therefore both seller and buyer compete for the best selling price. In a traditional commodity market buyers compete for a price. Chatter has developed a technology called SAEG- seller automated engines which permits a reverse auction of sale. Simply stating the future of e-commerce will be as simple as “googleing” for a product and then the retailer “bids” on the lowest price. Retailers will become aggregators of our personalized “Wishbook”, collecting data to optimize the sale.
E-commerce is about to have an Extreme Makeover.

Move that BUS!!!

Resources – Sears.com , webmasterradio.com

]]>
http://chefreference.com/blog/2009/02/14/extreme-makeover-the-e-commerce-edition/feed/ 1