sans titre-1
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roaster drive in.jpeg

Concept for:

- big budget

- investors

- urban periphery

- fast food / sandwich shop

- deliver / take away

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Roaster's Drive In

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With the advent of fast-food, the Americans didn’t only globalize the hamburger, they also globalized the drive-in and that is the idea we are focusing on in this concept. We’re going to use the drive-in to sell, in as modern and intelligent a way as possible, something that everyone likes and which is particularly well-adapted to the concept: rotisserie food. Why? The reasons are numerous. People nowadays have less and less time and desire to cook. Worse still, implausible as it may seem, there are people (and not just men) who are totally clueless when asked how to cook a chicken or a joint of roast beef! And I won’t even mention a leg of lamb or a duck!

It’s true that some butchers or delicatessens sell mouth-watering roast chickens but, alas, that is usually all they have to offer. There is the occasional rotisserie in some two centers but just think about the effort of getting there, finding a parking space, queuing even when it’s pouring rain. And the icing on the cake, they often close early in the evening.

A rotisserie usually has a wider choice of meat at the weekend or on market day. The rest of the time if you enquire as to the possibility of buying something that isn’t actually cooking on the roasting spit, you’re told “you should have placed an order, sir”. And they probably won’t even have an advertising leaflet to give you with a list of what they propose, their prices, phone number etc… So if you want to order something you have to go to the shop at least two days beforehand and to top it all, you may even have to pay a deposit!

Do you honestly believe this is how to work in the 21st century? I certainly don’t! we’re going to devise a modern and profitable business where we’ll be able to sell a wide variety of roasted meat to a clientele living in a much bigger catchment area –a clientele whose needs we can respond to. In so doing, we’ll build up customer loyalty and your customers will keep coming back, perhaps a few times a week for some.

The business will operate economically to ensure high profitability. You’ll see that this is an ultra modern and innovative concept, putting the means of internet to our use.

You’ll need a catchment area of about 200,000 suburban inhabitants. I prudently say 200,000 given the novelty of the concept. But, in fact, once the business is up and running I think you’ll realize that you could operate with a smaller catchment area. Bear in mind that when the big names in fast-food arrive in a country they set up business in only the biggest catchment areas and then little by little they invest in smaller catchment areas until they end up operating with just 15,000 inhabitants!

If I mention fast-food it’s because it has a lot in common with this concept. You are going to use their know-how to choose the best possible location. In all likelihood you are going to buy a piece of land to build on. Yes, I said buy and that is the unique reason for ranking this concept in the big budget category. This is also an opportunity to acquire real estate.

Ideally, you should be located near a busy main road, preferably in the direction of home from the workplace, and if possible in the vicinity of a large supermarket or a shopping-centre. Your location should be visible and easily accessible, ideally it would be accessed by a roundabout. And if there isn’t a roundabout you’ll need to be able to do a u-turn and if possible to turn left. These criteria are not insurmountable, speaking as a professional I can assure you I have in mind dozens of possible locations in several different countries. So give it your best shot although I’m well aware that the right areas are often crowded and it may not be all that easy to find a location meeting all the above criteria. Don’t forget that demolishing an existing building also counts as a site. Contrary to a generally held belief, demolishing is not costly. If you find yourself in this situation, shop around for several estimates and you’ll be astonished at the discrepancy between prices.

As for the building itself, the good news is that it will cost far less that a fast-food outlet.

You’ll need a premises of between only 150m² and 200m². Pay special attention to the planning stages of your premises and particularly to the fact that you have to be able to drive around it, with the building on the left (in countries where you drive on the left, it’s the opposite).

The ordering and payment windows will of course precede the collection window. You’ll provide space for a small parking area, as well as a delivery area, as well as a delivery area, bins included. 70m² is ample for the area where customers can order and why not eat standing up (install some tables to this effect) if they so wish, although this is, of course, not the primary purpose of your business. But you’ll find that some customers prefer to park and come inside to pick up their order.

Have your kitchen fitted by professionals who will meet your requirements, in fact you should work hand-in-hand with them from the outset. In order to succeed, you’re going to have to adapt your offer to the customers’ needs. The huge difference with existing rotisserie outlets is that you will tap the lucrative lunchtime market by selling individual portions which may be taken away to eat in the workplace. Most companies nowadays are too small to have in-company restaurants but they usually provide their employees with an eating area equipped with fridges and microwaves, so that they can either bring food from home or buy take-away in the vicinity. You’ll also attract the custom of all those who return home on their lunch-break but who don’t want to actually cook a meal. These customers will drive away with their individual portion of roast chicken, or perhaps a couple of slices of roast beef, cooked ham or leg of lamb. Apart from these four basic products which you’ll have on offer every day, you could vary your menu with spare ribs, chitterling sausages, pork knuckles and lamb shanks. You’ll serve your meat with either chips or roast potatoes, with gravy. You’ll also present a variety of the usual sauces. As for beverages and desserts, just do the same as the take-away pizzerias but I’ll come back to this point later.

So you see, far from the tacky, old-fashioned rotisserie we were used to, your drive-in will be in a position to tap the fast-food and sandwich bar clientele. The important thing is to keep your prices reasonable.

Now let’s take a look at your evening and weekend trade. Firstly, you must maintain your lunch-time weekday offer because in this day and age people work at all hours of the day and night and at weekends and therefore don’t necessarily fall into the lunch-time rush hour bracket. Not to mention the growing number of people who live alone. Nor should you forget that not all members of a family have the same tastes. So the availability of individual portions is an important part of your business.

In addition to that, in the evenings and at weekends you’ll concentrate on selling bigger joints of meat to be shared at home. Chickens, roast beef, entire legs of lamb, already carved or not, will provide the bulk of your sales turnover. You’ll sell them with the same accompaniments as your individual portions (chips etc…).  You’ll have a few sorts and sizes of chickens on offer. Your joints of roast beef will weigh 1kg and when you buy vacuum-packed legs of lamb they usually weigh 2kg or just under. Don’t forget to include spare ribs on the menu which, although served in individual portions, are always a success and will fit in to your menu perfectly.

The hardest part of running a rotisserie business is, of course, the timing: when to star cooking which meat and in what quantities. I reckon after a few months’ experience you’ll have a fairly good idea. But rather than using a rule of thumb, let’s turn to that wonderful modern invention: the internet!

Have somebody create a website for your business. As it stands, many restaurants have one where customers can consult the menu, their whereabouts and perhaps even book a table. Your website will provide the same information. More important, your customers will be able to order online, to pay online and to know precisely at what time their order will be ready. You’ll be able to inform your customers that they can order from their workplace, their home, from just about anywhere with a smartphone. Even if they want to order a leg of lamb, which takes quite a while to cook, they can be certain it’ll be ready two hours later. Internet is one of the bases of success of your business, indeed it’s a fundamental point of this concept.

And internet will also offer other means to develop your business. You’re also going to tackle the market of large family gatherings or parties by providing whole roasted hams, suckling pigs and why not a roasted piglet or lamb.

Ready for ultimate weapon? What is the ultimate treat for a carnivore? What is the highlight of every barbecue and carvery? Why, the prime rib of beef, of course! The customer will choose between a 1.2kg and a 1.7kg rib of beef and will specify the degree of doneness desired when placing his order. I’m absolutely convinced this will be a best-seller.

One last piece of advice, particularly in relation to legs of lamb, joints of roast beef and ribs of beef. The pieces of meat are best when allowed to rest before carving and the time it takes your customers to return home would be perfect, so make sure you let your customers know that. However, if they insist that you do the carving and slicing, then do it.

Obviously, you should take advantage of your evening and weekend trade to widen your choice of drinks and desserts. Have a few bottles of good quality wine for sale but do avoid anything too expensive. When calculating your profit margins, don’t apply the ridiculous ratios used in traditional restaurants, a ratio 1:22 seems to be the most you can apply.

You could propose two or three types of rosé and four or five red wines, and find a nice champagne de vigneron (independent producer) which you’ll sell at a reasonable price. For desserts you’ll easily find vacuum-packed cakes and pastries; that means no work for you (and a larger profit margin!)

There you have a full description of your business and how it will work. When advertising, the best is to massively distribute leaflets into letter-boxes throughout your catchment area; three times over a 2 month period. Your leaflets will be good quality, full color with photos and clearly stating your menu and pricelist, and inciting customers to order online.

I hope you’ll soon be glowing with success at the helm of your business. I’m certain that the emergence of this concept will soon become a landmark in the history of modern catering.


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