I’m not going to be the chef at the YamDaisy Cafe.
I’m not going to be writing menus or dealing with suppliers.
So why have I been writing menus? Why have I spent an interminable time painstakingly working out every ingredient needed, exactly how much of it, and then how much it will cost? Am I completely mad?
Well pretty close I think, but not completely!
I write the menu to give people an idea of the kind of food we are talking about: delicious, freshly made, every day food. Healthy, but also the best comfort food. Simple, no expensive ingredients, but so satisfying. The sort of food you want to keep coming back to, all your life.
We will be arguing in our business plan that the YamDaisy chefs can make and sell this food at prices even pensioners can afford. We are claiming that it will be manageable for the small staff, and that the budget will hold up. I’ve got the budget in broad brushstrokes at the moment, and I’m arguing that ingredients will come in at no more than $2,000 a week. Time to test it! And since I wasn’t getting around to it, my consultant chef ordered me to! Thanks Eric!
The Summer Menu was not the best for the test! I had added dishes I didn’t know anything about. I had recipes in pounds, in metric, in cups and dollops. Recipes for 4 or 6 or 8 people, or numbers unspecified. I included ingredients I had never tasted! Smoked salmon anyone? And oh yes, because I didn’t do things in order, I got the weeks mixed up together.
Huge thanks to Rose who helped me start the stock list, and Trudy who took me from the middle to the end of it. It was a brain bursting task.
Then Eric gave me the links for the suppliers and I found myself even deeper in alien territory. I was trying to do it simply and quickly, but I found about three hundred and seventy two ways to make it harder for myself. Phone messages left, and missed. Wholesalers stock lists that always left out just what I needed. Things sold by the tray or the box, with no clue to how much was in a tray or a box.
I got some help from Libby here: thanks Libby! But I spent day after day trawling through. (And there is SO much else I need to get done!). I had to ask my local providers for extra information: thanks to Brenta Meats and George at Psarakos, and pen to paper as I prowled around ‘Naturally on High’. I was horrified at the price of a pork chop. Avocados and yellow capsicums have been badly effected by the weather, pine nuts are twice the price they usually are! That’s why there is an expletive in the title of this post!
So I got my calculator out with a feeling of resignation. This was all done backwards, with the menu written before I knew the cost of things; but I could see where the problems were and I knew it would be easier next time. It was just a matter of how much over I had gone….
Well the cheery news is: it came out under budget! (I did double check at every stage!) Two weeks worth of ingredients came to $3,535: the budget for two weeks is $4,000! That gives so much leeway!
I’ve backed my argument that we can provide good meals at low cost, and I’m going to do the Autumn Menu much more smartly!
One thing I decided as a result of all this, is that we will put ‘YamDaisy Soup’ on the menu a couple of times a week so the chef can make use of all the bits and pieces needing to be used up, to make a special, tasty, (varying) vegetable-based soup for the customers: less waste and more deliciousness! Please let me know of any other good tips for making the menu work!
Thankyou for reading, and good bye from your exhausted but triumphant project manager!