The Making of a Restaurant

Thursday, January 24, 2002

It's fascinating observing the Google searches that lead people to our site. A lot of people Google "restaurant," for which we are in the top 20 of results. Many others Google "owning a restaurant" or "dream restaurant" (we're No. 2 at both).

Somebody recently Googled "owning a restaurant in Chicago," for which we are the No. 1 result. No. 2 is this profile of Richard Mott, a Chicago restaurateur. "Itís a tough business and a hard lifestyle: You work long hours, nights, and weekends, and youíre always on your feet. There are a lot of easier ways to make money.Ē

Mott owns the Jackson Harbor Grill and North Pond Cafe.

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Speaking of helping out our movie-going customers: If we managed to locate our place near a movie theater, we could put together a promotional tie-in. Anyone who walked into our place with a ticket stub from that night's show would get 10% off of their meal. The theater would scratch our back by sending us business, and we'd scratch theirs by advertising the promotion in our place, hopefully drumming up business for the theater.

If movie theaters aren't avaialble, we could also try playing off of the theatre-, sport- or concert-going crowds.

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

An idea for our menus struck me while browsing the food listings in the print edition of SF Weekly. What if we designed them like newspapers? On the cover, we'd put the story of our restaurant, and maybe a few pictures. The menu would take over the back page, and the rest of the paper would cover stories about our neighborhood, our city, the industry, whatever we felt like. Page two would, naturally, focus on the gossip surrounding the personal lives of our most popular customers.

It makes a lot of sense, seeings as how both of us have boatloads of experience in this arena. Luke and I would get a new forum for our design skills, and our J-school friends would have a free outlet for publishing their stories, in case they're having a hard time getting the Reader or NewCity to pick them up.

It'd be a great asset to our customers. Solo diners would be happy to have someting to read while eating. For couples, it would provide a great out for a bout of conversational distress. When the discussion come to an awkward standstill, they could whip out the menu/news (menews?) for inspiration. A movie and theatre listing would prove handy for anyone looking for some post-dinner entertainment. And when the customers left, they'd be encouraged to take the paper home and file it along with their piles of other restaurants' menus. There'd be coupons for future visits to our place, along with coupons to neighboring establishments.

Possible, though admittedly obvious, title: Food for Thought.

Monday, January 21, 2002

The dinner conversation at Matt and Kay's turned, as it's prone to do with them, to Iron Chef. It must have been Kay's homemade pasta that triggered her to recall an episode where a chef presented, as one of his dishes, a single bite of pasta, served to the judges pre-wrapped around a fork. What a tremendous waste of dishwashing power this would be, we realized, were it to be employed in a real restaurant. All those dirty forks! Surely, there must be an elegant answer to such a problem. Immediately, the idea bulb above my head flickered on.

Edible silverware! It was such an obvious answer, I was amazed it hadn't been thought of earlier. (Upon cursory googling, I've found no evidence that it has been.) We were now stuck with the task of determining the best material from which an edible piece of silverware would have to be made. Something cracker-like sounded right, as they have the right firmness, but they're too absorbant. Stick a saltine into a pile of warm, saucy spaghetti, and you'll pull out something resembling used Juicy Fruit. Matt suggested using a cracker for the shape of the fork, and then reinforcing the tips with something less absorbant, yet flavorless. Not sure what that'd be, exactly.

I doubt using edible forks and spoons exculsively would be terribly practical. Assuming we couldn't convince any supplier to start producing them en masse, we'd be shouldering the production costs ourselves. If nothing else, it'd be a cute gimmick, something we could use for certain dessert items. After all, the concept of purposing an item as both a food container and food itself has long been in effect in the common ice cream cone. We'd just be taking it a few steps further.

Sunday, January 20, 2002

Looks like Matt and Kay have warmed up to our idea of fun and danger.
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