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Sparkling dreams

Concept for:

- medium budget

- big cities

Alcohol abuse is dangerous for health. To consume with moderation.

For your health, eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day.

Obviously, this concept is all about champagne but not only, as you are going to add luxurious snack food to that most luxurious of drinks, to be enjoyed either on the premises or to be taken away. You’ll need a premises of between 90m² and 130m² situated in either a trendy, up market neighborhood in a large city or at the very least in a big town with a lot of spending power. You could choose to set up in a coastal resort, a ski resort or a spa town under the strict condition that the resort chosen is prestigious and luxury is obviously thriving (when I first imagined this concept Marbella sprang to mind).

Your premises should be tastefully furnished, reflecting the image of an up market establishment. You’ll need a few tables and chairs but give preference to comfortable armchairs, sofas and low coffee-tables. You’ll need only a small bar which will mainly be used for filling up champagne flutes. Remember, this ain’t your local pub and customers will be served seated at their table!

As for the catering material, you have two options. Either you’ll make nothing yourself and will therefore need only cold storage and reheating material (my initial idea) or you are a cook or, better still, a pastry-chef and concocting finger-food is something you enjoy doing –in which case you’ll have to allow enough kitchen space for suitable cooking material. In the case where you don’t make much yourself, the financial input is less onerous and you’ll be able to run the business almost single-handedly- in fact this concept would be ideal for a couple.

Your menu will be composed of only finger-food, both sweet and savory. If you like you could include slightly bigger individual pastries. The only thing you’ll really have to do yourself is to prepare some luxury tapas. These tapas will include a selection of smoked fish on toast or blinis, hand-sliced Spanish cured ham or pata negra (the taste is altered by an electric slicer).

I would also advise a wide selection of foie-gras based canapés, in fact you could almost devote a menu to these alone! Lastly, when your clientele is truly up market you must, without a doubt, have some caviar.

I must draw your attention to a very fundamental point here. Whether it’s you who makes the food or whether you buy your products ready-made, do not skimp on the quality. Your champagne bar will clearly be placed in a top-end niche and there is no room for mediocrity. The clientele you are aiming at will accept to pat whatever it costs for a moment of sheer pleasure and indulgence. If you disappoint them, they won’t come back. So, if you make everything yourself, be sure of the quality and attractiveness of your food and insist upon top class ingredients. And if you opt to buy ready-made, take plenty of time choosing your suppliers.

Everything you sell must be attractive, tasty and refined. In this day and age when suppliers are plentiful you can afford to be intransigent.

Naturally, your finger-food must be trendy. Take verrines, for example (small glasses filled with colorful layers of mousse, puree etc…). Verrines are still (just about) in fashion and another example, cupcakes which I personally detest and may be you do too but there’s no getting away from having them on your menu. We’ll console ourselves with a few gorgeous macarons or miniature éclairs!

Now let’s deal with the founding element of this concept. You’ll have very few beverages apart from champagne. No hard liquor (with perhaps the single exception of vodka to go with the smoked fish and caviar.) and no aperitif drinks either. In addition to champagne, you’ll simply serve the usual non-alcoholic drinks (mineral water, soda), the usual hot drinks and 3 or 4 sorts of wine including a sweet dessert wine for those who refuse to drink champagne with their foie-gras.

When buying your champagne, I’d advise you to find 2 or 3 high standard champagne producers, all in different localities and who can therefore provide different sorts of champagne, each with its own merits. My reason for urging you to deal directly with local producers is that they very often offer better value for money than the bigger, well-known producers whose reputation alone enables them to sell just about any old champagne at whatever price they want all over the world.

You’re going to need at least two champagnes bruts, a blanc de blanc, a rose, a millesime (vintage champagne), a demi-sec and, without a doubt, an extra-brut. Consult the specialized guidebooks to help you select your champagne and above all, visit the producers and taste their produce for yourself. You’ll also need to select at least 15 champagnes from the well-known champagne firms and the exact same criteria apply here.

The champagne you buy from the small local producers may be sold by the flute, the half-bottle or bottle. The champagne you buy from the big champagne houses will be sold exclusively by the bottle except for 3 or 4 sorts which you’ll sell by the flute as “champagne of the month”.

Pay attention when choosing your glassware, it’s an important detail and make sure you have enough champagne buckets. It is, of course, in this concept forbidden to sell any other sparkling wine, just real champagne of the highest quality possible!

Another part of your business will be a shop where you can sell bottles of champagne and your customers can take away your delicious sweet or savory treats in elegant cake-boxes. A sort of delicatessen if you like. You could even offer to deliver bubbly and finger-food. That way, any offices in the vicinity could improvise a little cocktail party to celebrate whatever. You’ll be everybody’s best friend when it comes to last minute get-togethers! Your success will depend entirely on your business flair and your ability to retain customer loyalty and one you have achieved that, to promote your luxurious snack food.

I imagine you would open around 11 a.m. and stay open until midnight at least. One part of your clientele will come for aperitif pre-lunch drinks. At lunchtime your regulars will possibility be a mainly active feminine clientele. In the afternoon you’ll have a mixed crowd, again a feminine but more leisurely clientele, older people too, couples (illicit or not) and remember the wifi for your business clientele.

After the early evening customers who drop in for an aperitif you’ll have people coming for something light to eat before moving on to whatever entertainment they have planned. The later evening clientele will be mainly dating couples and no doubt large amount of homosexual clients.

In fact, your potential clientele is so varied I would advise hiring the expertise of an advertising agency because, in this case, simply distributing flyers in letterboxes would not be the best way to spend your advertising budget.

I propose a toast to your success….

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