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Know Your Restaurant’s Start Up Cost

The cost of opening your own restaurant business is one very important matter to be dealt with and often the hardest to determine because, to a great extent, it depends on the type of restaurant that you desire to open.

Your restaurant ìstart-up costsî are outlined as expenses incurred for the acquisition or creation of your restaurant business. ìStart-up costsî are comprised as any incurred amounts or out-going capital in relation with your restaurantís activity directed for income generation before your restaurant business starts.

ìStart-up costsî generally include the following expenses:

ï Potential markets surveys.
ï Evaluation of available supplies, labor, facilities, etc.
ï Advertisements.
ï Business equipment and fixtures
ï Equipment and fixture installation
ï Decorating and remodeling
ï Employee uniforms
ï Salaries for employees undergoing training and their trainers.
ï Costs of travel for acquiring prospective suppliers, distributors or customers.
ï Fees and salaries for consultants and executives and other similar services.

Estimating your restaurant businessí ìstart up costsî:

It is a wise decision to study your ìstart-up costsî estimate with a qualified accountant. 1.Begin by recording then add up your entire restaurantís equipment which you consider is necessary to begin and manage your restaurant. See the chapter on selecting equipment and furnishings for more help on this. 2.On your list, mark off certain items or equipment that aren’t really necessary and can wait. Restaurant startup costs cannot be overlooked! Get $200,000 US Government Grants for new businesses. Claim your FREE $79 Gov Grant book! Determine what kind of equipment needs to be bought brand new, and what type can be purchased used.

Determine what things may be leased, for the moment.

2. When adding up the physical cost (building or office) of your restaurant, remember to also add in the remodeling costs, decorating costs, fixtures, installation and delivery fees for equipment and fixtures.

3. Include professional fees, utility deposits, permits and licenses.

4. When computing your advertising costs, make sure to add trademarks, logo expenses as well as other graphics to be used.

5. Come up with ways where you may be able to lower some expenses. Call vendors and suppliers and work out certain deals.

6. Estimate that all expenses will be much higher than expected. It is sensible to add about 1-5 percent to your estimate.Guaranteed US Government Grant for USA Citizens at http://www.trustedreviews.info/money/usm/index.html

7. Write your business plan before you come to your final estimate for ìstart up costsî. Generally, a business plan functions to reveal more ìstart-up costsî that weren’t really thought of. Again, see the chapter on preparing your business plan.

8. Include your restaurantís first 3-6 months operating investment in your ìstart-up costsî. These expenses will usually include employee salaries, advertising, rent, supplies, delivery expenses, utilities, taxes, insurance, maintenance, professional services, loan payments, inventory, etc.

Hello From Montreal: A Gourmet Dinner At Nuances Restaurant, Followed By Amazing Fireworks

My personalized tour of the Casino de Montreal was very interesting and taught me many different things that I had never known about casino operations. My learning experience was followed by an opportunity to sample the Casinoís hospitality first hand. Alexandre took me up to the top floor of the Casino and handed me over to BenoÓt, the restaurant manager at Nuances, the Casinoís gourmet restaurant.

I had a perfect table by the window with a beautiful view overlooking the St. Lawrence River and the downtown Montreal skyline. The sun was just starting to set and the entire scene was bathed in golden hues. BenoÓt even took me out on to a terrace on the top level of the Casino that offered a completely unobstructed 180 degree view of downtown Montreal and the entire island. The vista was absolutely stunning. The Casino de Montreal is definitely one of the best places to view Montrealís skyline.

Nuances is a highly acclaimed fine dining restaurant that has been awarded the coveted CAA-AAA Five Diamond Rating. This 72-seat restaurant has a sophisticated atmosphere and a highly dedicated staff. Once I got comfortable, GÈrard, the waiter for my table, brought an ìamuse-boucheî, a starter plate that featured frozen goat cheese on ice in a reduction of apple cider. The mixture of sweet and tart flavours definitely perked up my taste buds and got them ready for the culinary surprises yet to come.

As an appetizer I enjoyed mixed a vegetable salad and mesclun lettuce with vegetable chips and a sherry vinaigrette. This entrÈe was accompanied by three different types of bread with home-made butter, made from heavy cream. GÈrard explained that the breads were a French baguette, a hazelnut/ honey / raisin bread and a so-called Lodeve bread from the South of France.

I also got a quick peak at Nuances’ three different wine cellars: the wine cellar behind the bar features wines that are organized carefully by region and type of wine. One of the cellars holds extremely rare and expensive wines. I asked for BenoÓtís suggestion to select a main course as well as a wine to match. He recommended that I try the Chilean sea bass. The black rice accompanying the fish is also referred to as ëforbidden riceî since only the Chinese emperor was allowed to consume it. BenoÓt suggested a glass of German Gew¸rztraminer to go with this dish.

Shortly after I received my meal and enjoyed the delicate taste of the sea bass, accompanied by mixed vegetables such as wild asparagus, bok choy and parsnips. The fish was drizzled in a yellow wine sauce, made with wine from Jura in the French Savoie region. Some drops of parsley oil rounded out the medley of complementary flavours.

As I would have to rush off shortly to go to the fireworks which would start at the La Ronde amusement park, BenoÓt ensured the speedy arrival of my dessert: a Muscat wine jello with strawberries combined with a vanilla and Szechuan pepper mousse on a chocolate base with a pistachio sauce, a delicate treat. We even had a chance to visit the kitchen to meet the chefs who had prepared my gourmet meal. As I got back to my table and got myself organized, BenoÓt dropped by with a ìpetit fourî, a ìlittle ovenî of baked goods that included miniature biscotti, fruit jelly, pistachio jelly and American chocolate. I just loved the creative French terms used, “amuse-bouche” and “petit four” are perfect descriptions for these culinary delights.

This multi-course meal combined with the personalized and highly attentive service and the stunning views of Montreal made my evening at Nuances a very special experience and a definite highlight of my trip. When I had to leave BenoÓt took me personally down to the main entrance of the Casino where he flagged down a taxi for me to ensure I would make it on time to the fireworks at La Ronde. The staff at the Casino de Montreal went out of their way to make this evening a memorable experience.

My five-minute taxi ride took me back across the bridge to Ile Sainte-HÈlËne where my driver dropped me off in front of the main entrance at La Ronde. La Ronde is Montreal’s amusement park and first opened in 1967 as part of Expo 67, a world fair that really put Montreal on the map. Today La Ronde is a member of the famous Six Flag family of amusement parks.

My seat provided a perfect view of the soon-to-come spectacle and the huge crowd was filled with anticipation. What seemed like many thousands of people were located inside the La Ronde amusement park in different seating sections and many thousands more were planning to watch the fireworks from the Jacques Cartier Bridge.

The fireworks today were part of a competition series called ìLíInternational des Feux Loto-QuÈbecî which features a schedule of 10 pyro-musical events between June 17 and July 29, 2006. Countries participating in this competition include Switzerland, Italy, Argentina, South Africa, Portugal, Canada, the United States, France and Australia with a special finale on July 29.

Our presentation tonight was put on by the Cienfuegos Fireworks company from Argentina, which is a key player in the field of pyrotechnics due to its unique know-how. Tonightís program was anchored around the personalities of Evita Peron and Che Guevara and enchanted with classic Argentian melodies and music from Central America. The stunning fireworks displays were choreographed in perfect harmony with the music and lit up the sky with stunning multi-coloured displays of light and sound.

This fireworks presentation provided a dramatic artistic ending to three and a half wonderful days of Canada Day festivities in Montreal. As I sat in the subway on the way back from Jean Drapeau Park I realized that I would only have a few more hours in this beautiful city before my train was going to leave tomorrow just before noon. But I was determined to take advantage of every minute here to discover yet another facet of this fascinating city and sneak in one final walking tour of the city before my departure.

Fred Harvey: Founder of the Chain Restaurant

In 1850, a 15 year old boy from London arrived in New York City with $10 in his pocket. He found a position as ìpot walloperî or dishwasher at an upscale restaurant and began a lifelong passion with fine dining. From this inauspicious beginning, Fred Harvey would change the way people West of the Mississippi dined, create a marketing tool that helped create the worldís largest railroad, champion women in the work force, and build an empire.

As Fred Harvey worked his way west, stopping in New Orleans, St. Louis, and Kansas City, he acquired knowledge of the restaurant industry. When he wasnít on the floor waiting tables, he was asking questions of chefs and learning everything he possibly could about every aspect of the industry. His goal was to own his own restaurant, and in that endeavor, he accepted a lucrative position as a traveling freight agent on the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad. Traveling conditions were frightful in the late 1860ís and early 1870ís. Trains were dusty and full of mice and flies. Experienced travelers packed their own picnic of fried chicken, hard boiled eggs, cheese and maybe a piece of cake. When that ran out, you were forced to disembark the train and take your chances on whatever was available at the station.

Along the way, anything was possible. At best, one could expect rancid, bitter coffee, brewed once a week. Rotten food was common as well as GI distress and illness from food, and the fear of being left behind in the middle of nowhere made travelers eat as fast as possible, scrambling to get back on the train. Scam artists negotiated with railroad workers to cheat travelers. Before reaching a stop, the conductor would take reservations requiring a 50 cent deposit. When the train arrived at the station, the food would be served just as the conductor called, ìAll Aboard!î As the travelers ran back, the restaurateur would scrape the food back into pots for the next train passengers and give the railroaders 10 cents per head as their take. These conditions and scams made train travel dangerous to oneís health, and as he worked his way across the West, Harvey realized that there was a market for clean restaurants serving good food at reasonable prices along the line.

In 1875, he approached officials at the Burlington Railroad with his idea of opening restaurants at the train depots. Railroad officials had no interest in supplying food and laughed him out of their office. But as he left the office, one of the officials commented that he should approach the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, which was the most rapidly expanding railroad in the West. Santa Fe liked the idea and a partnership was formed. Harvey opened the first restaurant, The Harvey House, in Topeka, Kansas in 1875. It was an immediate success, not only with travelers, but with local residents as well. Within 9 years, there were 17 Harvey Houses along the Santa Fe route, and the first restaurant ìchainî was born.

Because of Harvey, his restaurants and the rapid expansion of the West, Santa Fe became the premiere passenger railroad, as travelers could be assured of exquisite meals in clean dining rooms. Harvey was a shrewd negotiator. When he negotiated his second agreement with Santa Fe, he obtained exclusive rights to all restaurants along their line. Not only did he obtain exclusivity, but the railroad supplied the building and property, passage for Harvey employees, and fresh laundry, ice, meat, and produce shipped in daily.

Harveyís only problem was his wait staff. The waiters were undependable, coming to work drunk, picking fights, and destroying company property. No one civilized wanted to work out West. Where could he get decent, dependable help? Women.

In the 1890ís, the only women in the West were either saloon girls or married women with families and farms. It was truly the Wild, Wild West, full of cowboys, gunslingers, scam artists and roughnecks. An uncivilized place to be. So, Harvey did something truly revolutionary. He placed an ad in East Coast papers for women 18 ñ 30 years of age, attractive, educated, and decent. Harvey offered room and board, free train passage, and wages of $17.50 per month. No experience necessary. Harvey wanted to train them his way. But would they come?

They came like gangbusters. In the late nineteenth century, opportunities for women were very limited. The only suitable positions were as teachers, servants, dressmakers, or factory workers. Not only was being a Harvey girl an opportunity to make great money, it was an opportunity for adventure. But being a Harvey girl was not easy.

The standards set by Harvey were rigid. First, they were given a 6, 9, or 12 month contract during which time they were not allowed to marry. If they did, they would be financially penalized by half of their salary and lose their travel privileges. The dormitories were strict, with a house mother overseeing the girls and a curfew of 10 pm every night. If you broke curfew 3 times, you were summarily fired and sent home. The training process was a grueling 30 days of learning strict cleanliness, grooming and table service without pay. The training period was difficult and stressful, but many women spoke of how the experience gave them self-assurance and poise.

They were trained in the Harvey way. Because of the train schedule, timing was incredibly important. When the train arrived in the station, the first course was already on the table. One girl came through and took drink orders as another was right behind her pouring. A system of coffee cup placement was the key to communication. As the first course was being cleared, a manager would come in with trays of hot entrees which would be served by the girls. Generous portions and seconds were the standard. And so was the timing. The trains only stopped for 30 minutes and Harvey provided a refined, delicious dining experience on a schedule.

Cleanliness was also a key to success. If they werenít busy, the girls were expected to be cleaning; their station, polishing silver or brass, folding napkins or dusting. In spite of the dust and dirt of the West, Harvey Houses were known for their immaculate tidiness. This included the girlsí uniforms. They were expected to be well-groomed, spotless and ironed. If they got dirty during a shift, they were expected to change uniforms immediately. Gum chewing was ground for dismissal. Harvey himself would make surprise inspections and literally perform a white glove test.

Harveyís chefs were also the best. When Fred Harvey traveled, he would try to lure away the chef anytime he had a superb meal. He paid his people well and believed in the best quality ingredients. The chefs had the authority to create their own menus and pay handsomely for supplies and produce. Not unlike great restaurants today, Harvey Houses had the first choice and the best supply of meat and fresh vegetables. Hence, they had the ability to provide diners with first class meals.

Harvey was also a believer of promoting men and women from within. Many women started out as a waitress, became head waitress, and some even became managers. Another way he emphasized respect and respectability was in the name he chose for his wait staff. His girls were never referred to as waitresses. Rather, they were known by and proud to be called Harvey Girls. Being a Harvey Girl meant poise, respect, and independence.

Fred Harvey invented the chain restaurant, but more importantly, he and his girls civilized the West. Not only did they provide a service to the travelers and the communities through their restaurants and mere presence, they became the standard of civility and dining. Many Harvey girls did find marriage and adventure. Many had lifelong, fascinating careers in Harveyís empire that would have been impossible back East. Some paid for college and went on to become professionals in other careers. No matter what paths they found themselves on, the Harvey Girls became the matriarchs of the West.

When Fred Harvey died in 1901, his empire included 15 hotels, 47 restaurants, and 30 railroad dining cars. At its peak, the Harvey House restaurants were the most successful in the country, with 100 locations, and provided the Santa Fe Railroad with the marketing tool and support to become the largest passenger train company in the United States. During both World Wars, the Harvey House was instrumental in providing meals to the troops being moved across the country on trains. But the Wright brothers, the automobile, and the Great Depression led to the demise of the empire. Fine dining and civility in the West are legacies that Fred Harvey and his Girls bequeathed us all.

Mary Margaret Ambler is the Publisher and Editor of Black and Whites Magazine, a trade publication for wait staff, www.blackandwhitesmag.com.

This article was researched and references, The Harvey Girls: The Women Who Civilized the West by Juddi Morris. Published in 1994 by Walker Publishing, Inc.

Discover Mijares Mexican Restaurant In Pasadena California

Mijares Mexican Restaurant in Pasadena, California is extremely well known for two things, their margaritas and their all you can eat Sunday champaign buffet brunch, both of which are excellent. This restaurant has been around for what seems like forever and has developed a crowd of very loyal patrons.

Although it is justly well known for it’s Sunday buffet, this is a good place to dine in at any time. Their food is always fresh and well prepared and their service is usually above average. The atmosphere is casual, relaxed and friendly and their prices are very reasonable.

Every once in a while someone will tell me that the food here is not authentic Mexican cuisine (most of these people, by the way, are not Mexican or Hispanic and have never been to Mexico). When I ask them why they feel that the food is not authentic, they say that the food is not spicy or hot enough. They say that Mexican food is very hot because of all the chili that is added during cooking. Well, I have news for those people, not all Mexicans like their food extra spicy and many that do enjoy it hot like to add their chili while they are eating. Every Mexican that I know who has eaten here likes the way the food is prepared and likes the chilis and salses that are served with the food. My son, who is one half Mexican, likes his food hot, the hotter the better, yet this is one of his favorite Mexican restaurants. He says that neither the food nor the salsas can compare with those prepared by his mother or grandmother but they are better those served in most Mexican restaurants that he has been to.
I have been a fan of Mexican cuisine since I met my wife in 1966. I do not like hot or very spicey food but I do like well prepared food with good flavor. I do not think that anyone can cook better than my wife, however we both like to go out to eat and we both enjoy good Mexican restaurants. While there are some Mexican restaurants that I prefer over Mijares, none of them are in Pasadena.

The Sunday brunch at Mijares is very good and at $16.95 per person is very cheap. Some people I know drink that much in free champaign and mimosas. If you are not that much into Mexican food the buffet also has eggs, hash browns, bacon, ham and delicious ribs. Their omelet chef makes excellent omelets and definitely doesn’t stint on the ingredients. If you are into Mexican food they serve menudo, fajitas, various types of tacos, enchiladas, carnitas, rice, beans and more. They have a nice variety of desserts including flan and plenty of fruit.

Mijares has a fairly small but well stocked bar. It seems, however that almost everyone goes there for the margaritas which are inexpensive, generously proportioned and made with good quality tequila. The bartenders are friendly and the patrons at the bar always seem to be part of one big party.

Mijares Mexican Restaurant is a family owned restaurant and is located in it’s own hacienda style building at 145 Palmetto Drive, Pasadena, California. It has plenty of free and valet parking except on Friday and Saturday nights when it seems as if almost everybody in the San Gabriel Valley is there partying, eating, drinking margaritas and listening to mariachi music.

Reservations are not required but they are a good idea. The telephone number for Mijares is 626-792-2763.

For a directory of restaurants and restaurant reviews in the city of Pasadena, California see http://pasadena.usacitydirectories.com/restaurants.html, a directory listing Pasadena restaurants alphabetically and by category or type with reviews written by restaurant customers.

Diets, Restaurants and Friends

When on a diet, it is wise to go out to restaurants less frequently, because you wonít always know the number of calories in everything you will be served, especially the secret sauces. But whom do you usually meet at the restaurants? Your friends, is the most likely answer. So if you cut back on restaurants, you might end up with too much free space on your social calendar. I find this unacceptable. I always want to have time to see my friends.

Realizing that I could not justifiably boycott dinner plans with friends, I decided to always have a backup plan. The reasoning behind this is that I wouldnít always know what restaurant we would eventually choose. My backup plan was to order the least complicated salad, with the dressing on the side. This allowed me to keep control over my calorie intake and see my friends as well.

I did not always believe that I could control my hunger when I frequented many different restaurants. Seven or eight years ago, I was very frustrated with myself over my failing diets. I felt like I needed to keep myself under control 24/7. When a friend would suggest that we meet up somewhere to grab a bite, I felt my control starting to slip. I would make up excuses like, ìOh, I just ate dinner,î or I would pretend that I had committed myself to a different dinner that night.

I even started to worry that friends might unexpectedly call me up for dinner on any given night. When my phone rang, I tended to let the answering machine pick it up as I listened to the caller leave a message. Suddenly, I didnít want to talk to my friends. What if they wanted to buy me dinner…Oh my, what a crime! I always had my standard excuses ready to tell my friends. It is interesting to note that these excuses are made because we donít want to eat. These are different than the excuses we make to explain why we ate something. Here are some of the excuses I use when I donít want to take in extra calories:

∑ Iím having a medical procedure tomorrow and I canít eat anything after 3:00 p.m.

∑ I just learned that Iím very close to becoming diabetic, and Iím on a very strict diet.

∑ Iím just so full right now, but I can take some home with me (then give it to a homeless person).

∑ Pretending to throw up in the bathroom (make sure someone hears you), and pretending to clean it up.

∑ Hiding some of the food where they might not find it (the oven, on top of the fridge). This way they donít realize how much food they actually have left.

I think most of my friends knew what was going on inside my head. They didnít call me on it. Iím sure they recognized that I was going through some pretty hard times, and luckily, I outgrew that phase.

When I ate with my friends at various restaurants, I noticed some recurring themes in the advice they offered. Almost all of my friends were very surprised to find that I was eating so little. They would say things like, ìJohnny, youíre a big guy. You have to eat more than that,î or ìYouíre not really fat, youíre just a big, husky guy.î To that I would say, ìOh yeah, youíve never seen me naked.î Sometimes that would draw laughter, other times silence.

These were times I had to reconcile what my friends were saying with the sanctity of my diet. I felt I had to take a side. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that most of my friends were just trying to make me feel better and save me from the misery of my diet. They really did like me just the way I was. The problem was that I didnít. I knew I had to hold my ground and order that Caesarís salad instead of that juicy steak nine out of ten times. Somewhere in this phase of my life, I learned how little I would have to eat, or how much I would have to exercise each day to lose weight. From that point on, it was up to me to perform.

Losing weight is an arduous battle that takes some time to accomplish. We can have our friends and our restaurants at the same time if we are willing to modify our thinking just a little. We all have habits we will need to change, patterns we will need to break, and emotions we will need to quell.