- big budget
- big cities
- urban periphery
- in trouble
A Tropical Island
Alcohol abuse is dangerous for health. To consume with moderation.
For your health, eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day.
It’s rainy and cold today. Wouldn’t it be nice to be lying on a beach in the Caribbean, sipping a cocktail just before having something delicious and exotic to eat, while listening to tropical music…?
There’s not much you can do about the sun and the beach but what you can offer your customers is a little bit of escapism.
Yes, this concept is all about escapism, transporting your customers to a tropical island. The theme I’m proposing will appeal to a wide spectrum of the public and has a legitimate place on the market, every bit as much as a fake ranch selling steaks!
You’ll need a premise where you can seat at least 120 people. Reception area, kitchen, stockrooms, office included you’ll need a surface area of about 400m² in all. An outdoor terrace would be a distinct advantage in summertime.
Whether it’s in a town centre or on the outskirts, you’ll need a catchment area of about 250,000 inhabitants. It would no doubt be cheaper to set up outside town. Look for proximity to shopping centers and multiplex cinema. You’ll probably be located in the vicinity of the better-known chain restaurants. If there are a few industrial or business parks in the area you’ll have found pretty much the ideal spot.
Decoration on a tropical theme is easy: furniture and flooring made from exotic wood, ceiling fans, artificial plants in abundance (not forgetting the emblematic palm tree!). Decorate the walls with some old-fashioned posters advertising cruises, some primitive art, some black and white or sepia photographs. And there you have your elegant Caribbean beach hut!
But it’s your menu that will bring your restaurant to life and guarantee escapism for your clientele.
When compiling this menu you’ll really have to make a difference to make your customers want to come back to this unique place you have created. So, no holds barred. Your strength lies in the fact that your establishment is inspired by ALL tropical islands in ALL the tropical regions. If you specialize, for example, in Balinese cuisine or West Indian cuisine you would only need a very small premise and even then, it may be difficult to appeal to a broad range of people. You, on the other hand, will take inspiration from every-where just look at an atlas and you’ll see thousands of tropical islands!
Your aperitif menu will set the tone, with a large choice of tropical cocktails and punches: piña colada, coco loco, daiquiris, planters’ punch, mojitos…
For the first course, apart from colorful salads composed of tropical ingredients, take some ideas from Thai cuisine. I would suggest beef and chicken satay on skewers, served with a dip. You could also propose a shrimp ceviche, Tahiti-style fish salad, stuffed crabs, accras (fritters), and West Indian puddings (choose them not too spicy).
As for the main course, you’re spoilt for choice. Here are some suggestions for the meat dishes:
-Mojo verde chicken (Canary Islands)
-Tandoori chicken on skewers with a yoghurt sauce
-Tikka Massalé chicken on skewers with a sauce
-Antigua-style pork on skewers (marinated in orange juice, brown rum, sugar, bay-leaf, pimento, ginger, crushed Jamaican pepper)
-A rougail sausage (the reunion)
You have more scope with the fish dishes:
-Tuna fish, swordfish, shark, red snapper, prawns all served on skewers and accompanied by exotic sauces, spicy or not, homemade or bought.
-One or two sorts of fish cooked with exotic spices and lime in a banana-leaf en papillote (parcel).
Your fish and meat dishes will be served with rice, sweet potatoes and plantain fruit… in keeping with your theme. But I do believe that putting fries on your menu will appeal to the more reticent clients.
Ice-cream and desserts will focus on fruit and exotic flavors. For example: beautiful exotic fresh fruit salads, blancmange, the exquisite sweet-potato cake from la reunion, a wide selection of sorbets and ice-cream (coconut, mango, guava…) and why not a good old banana-spilt!
Your soft drinks will be no different to anywhere else. You must bear in mind the exotic content of your menu when compiling a wine-list, so you should avoid Burgundy and Bordeaux. I reckon that Cotes de Rhone, Spanish and Australian reds would be suitable. Two or three whites and four or five rosés will complete your list. Don’t forget to stock a selection of beer produced in the tropics.
If you advertise your opening well (local radio works well), if you pay attention to detail when preparing your menu, if you keep your prices reasonable, you’ll appeal to a very broad spectrum: masculine, feminine, lunch-time or evening diners, young and less young, a business clientele, tourists and travelers….
Efficient, pleasant staff wearing colorful outfits, background music gently playing will all help to lure the customers back to your tropical island. The success of your restaurant may even causes the word “franchise” to cross your mind but that, my friend, is a whole different ball game!