Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hot Air

So as I am checking my email the other day on AOL, and one of the news messages that flashes across the board is, "Look at what some restaurants are trying to pull on you."

OK, you have my attention, obviously. Some "freelance beat writer" (which is journalistic lingo for "jobless, mudraking attention monkey") has written an article on restaurant menus and what chefs are doing in attempt to hide the rising cost of food and surcharges on deliveries. This person stated that the 3rd item on most menus is the most popular, according to a study out of some Ivy League school.

Um, the 3rd item on our menu, if you go past the 10 oysters we carry daily at no more then $2.75 for the really good ones, would be our linguini with shrimp and scallops at 21 dollars. Hardly the most expensive, in fact it's ALMOST half of our most expensive item. The writer goes on to point out that restaurants are increasing their costs on the menus, hiding prices, or placing them strategically so the guest is not so inclined to search for them.

Just to clear the air on the surcharge piece...half of my vendors were putting a surcharge on our deliveries 4 years ago during the summer months. The cost per invoice of those surcharges never went over 3 dollars. It was only during the summer months and our menu pricing to this day has never changed because of it at any of my places of employment. In fact, those charges, at the 4 restaurants I have seen it occur in, never put it onto the food cost. It's not food...why would we charge it as such? Such low expenses don't get lost by any means, but they do get eaten up by the profit of a restaurant when 2 sodas are sold, for example.

The person also went to point out that with the rising costs, most chefs are trying to utilize any and every product of food that comes into the restaurant. Maybe she was trying to say that chefs are using bad food? Or trying to use the same types of food in multiple dishes? I don't know, she really didn't explain herself too well on that one and I will point out that any idiot that cooks wants to use every bit of the food they have. I was taught in culinary school to use the scraps of almost every vegetable for my stocks and bases for my soup. I wonder where someone would get the idea that this is something new???

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