The Globe Trotters
- medium budget
- big cities
- urban periphery
- fast food / sandwich shop
Alcohol abuse is dangerous for health. To consume with moderation.
For your health, eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day.
Globalization. It’s true that the term conjures up not only positive things but it is a reality that’s here to stay. And here to stay in our plates too. In the western world, our cooking turns more and more towards foreign, exotic cuisine. Just flick through any frozen food brochure and you’ll see. At the beginning of this third millennium, chicken Tikka Massala is Britain’s favorite meal and France, despite its gastronomic culture, has placed couscous among its top three favorites! Aren’t pizzas, hamburgers and kebabs omnipresent worldwide? Of course, there will always be grouches who deplore the decline in values, the demise of good home cooking. I argue that they are completely wrong! In my opinion, a Belgian can enjoy a paella as much as a waterzooi and a Frenchman can enjoy a curry as much as a cassoulet. A real foodie’s heart knows no limits! What’s more, foreign cuisine contributes enormously to varying our diets and that is not an easy thing to achieve. Foodies are not the only people who like variety, so do cooks. If, like me, you have ever worked in a restaurant, you’ll know all about the boredom of preparing time after time the same dish. Almost 20 years later I believed I could prepare and present a manta ray with capers blindfolded!
I firmly believe that if the customers are to enjoy their food, the cooks have to enjoy preparing it first! What I’m proposing in this concept is to open a restaurant serving a range of international food, a brasserie whose menu will know no borders. Your restaurant will surprise and attract customers by varying the menu often, perhaps not every day but at least every week. You could propose lunch-time specials and evening specials, the public generally like this type of offer. Keep your menu brief: four or five starters, four or five main courses, between five and seven desserts will suffice. It’s more important to renew your menu regularly.
To add an original touch and indeed this is the very essence of the concept, you’ll dip into the cuisine of several different countries. Your customers will be able to savor deliciously steamed Asian food, followed by a paella and a tiramisu! Or start with a gravlax, followed by a curry and a slice of tarte tatin! The possibilities are endless. To keep any finicky customers happy, always put a steak on the menu! You’ll soon realize that a lot of these international recipes are plain, ordinary food in the country of origin and are in no way complicated to make. Avoid those recipes which seem excessively long and complex.
If this concept tempts you, I could advise getting a copy of the excellent “cuisine du monde” by Larousse which provides all the necessary basic recipes, and more. As for sourcing ingredients, nowadays everything can be found on internet. Don’t forget to go global with your wine-list too, choosing wines that adapt easily to different types of food. Bordeaux will be of no use to you and perhaps just one of your white wines will be a Bourgogne (although I consider the latter rather expensive). Let’s talk about your pricing policy. The idea behind changing your menu every week is to entice the customers back. So charging excessive prices would be counter-productive. Your prices should be what the tourist guide books call reasonable. You are targeting the loyalty of lunch-time diners, a young evening clientele and weekend family groups. Stay within the same price bracket as the neighboring restaurants who are targeting the same clientele as you.
On the other hand, you could raise your prices at the weekend if you raise the standard of the food standard of the food served, using more expensive ingredients. Don’t forget that the prices you charge depend also on the quality of your food. The customer won’t be fooled. So use a minimum of ready-made food, even if you’re sorely tempted to take short cuts. I’m well aware that this concept could be set up using nothing other than frozen and vacuum packed food bought ready-made and no doubt it would work. Suppliers’ catalogues prove that just about everything can be bought ready-made but I don’t believe that you’ll build up a steady flow of loyal customers in the long term. Anyway, it’s up to you. Maybe I can convince you with a story about how to make this concept fail. About 20 years ago, a few investors decided to set up a few international restaurants and then proceeded to make every mistake in the book: outrageously big premises (several hundred seats), ridiculously long menus (an hour just to read it!) and all of that to serve ready-made industrially produced food. The result was a resounding failure. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned…
You, on the other hand, will set up on a more human scale, no more than 60 seats. The theme of your decoration will be travel of course, but nothing too kitch. As for your location, there’s a wide choice. Avoid the country-side. A town of at least 50,000 inhabitants would be suitable. It won’t matter whether you are in the town centre or on the outskirts. Bear in mind the 3 sorts of clientele you’re targeting: lunch-time, evening and weekend. Stay close to other restaurants, your originality will make you stand out. Advertise in the local press and on local radio, explaining clearly your concept. It’s in your hands now… take us on a trip to foreign places!