Menu Development for a Startup Restaurant

This article is designed for an Independent restaurant startup, and not an existing proven restaurant concept, or a restaurant franchise that is providing franchise style operating systems. In designing your menu, consider why you have selected the menu items and how they relate to your service system; be it fast food, fast casual or fine dining. Ie making a Caesar salad table side does not work in a fast food restaurant. The menu and your service system are the foundation of your restaurant and must be compatible. Begin with what you personally feel would be the right menu for your concept. Do not focus only on what is practical and functional. By focusing only on the practical aspects of a menu, you will lose inspiration and creativity. Only after you have settled on what you think are the most appealing items for your menu is it time to consider their practicality.

Cost of product is a main consideration. For example, if your concept is fast-casual, then your price point will probably be in the $ 6.00 to $ 14.00 range. But since the wholesale cost of lobster or a prime cut of New York steak takes you out of the fast-casual ballpark, they would not be compatible with the pricing of your menu. Your pricing must reflect your decor and service. A high-end gourmet menu would be completely out of place in a fast food outlet, with its simple decor and speedy service.

Another consideration is the skill level of your employees. If you plan on opening a fast-food or fast-casual restaurant, you need to hire kitchen personnel which skills are commensurate with a pay scale driven by your menu price points. Conversely, a gourmet, table-side service restaurant, with higher menu price points, requires a higher level of employee skills and experience, and obviously a more appropriate pay scale.

The equipment needed for certain menu items is an important factor. The tools and equipment for a restaurant may differ from those of a construction company, but both are equally critical to getting the job done correctly. Your menu will dictate the needed equipment and its related cost. For example, do you need a grill, or a deep fat fryer? If so, then you will need to factor in the cost of a grease trap and a vented hood with fire suppression equipment. This can easily add $ 25,000 to $ 50,000 to your equipment package.

Inventory requirements are another essential factor. In designing a menu, how you determine its offers is critical to controlling your food and labor costs. Consider the number of items on the menu: the more you offer the more labor hours it takes to prep and serve each dish in a timely manner. An excess in inventory is money sitting on the shelf. And, the more menu items and ingredient inventories you have to account for, the more waste you are likely to incur. An important corollary of this – think how to wheel menu items …

Beautiful Kitchen Decor That is Also Practical

Here are a few simple tips that will help you keep your kitchen functional as well as beautiful.

Be creative with glass displays. If you have glass pane cabinets, display some pretty wineglasses on the second shelf and keep the use everyday items on the bottom. You can also install extra racks that will allow you to hang some of those beautiful wineglasses. You should consider changing the decorative items in your cabinet with the changing season. You should also change the other decorations in your kitchen with the changing seasons. This includes your apron, potholders, tea towels, and other decorative items. You can have holly and mistletoe hanging around Christmas, fake bats and pumpkins around Halloween, hearts and flowers for Valentine's Day, etc …

Keep the top of your refrigerator clean. A modest display of books, especially cookbooks can be quite attractive. When you keep them at an arm's reach it increases the amount of tasty treasures that will make an appearance. Using decorative bookends makes your space looks beautiful and will also ensure that your books are not falling all over the place.

When it comes to your counter top, there are two types of people. Some people like to keep their counter top completely clear and then other people like to see everything that they own gadget wise out and ready for action. You should sit in the middle of these two types of people. If you use something almost everyday, such as a coffee pot or your food processor every night with supper, then keep it out. On the other hand if your new state of the art blender is only being used once a week or only for the holidays find a home for it within your cabinet space hidden below the scenes. Remember though that items that you have on top of your counter can also be clustered into categories that are relative to their function. If in the morning you make toast and coffee, and then have them plugged into the same outlets as they will make lovely companions to each other. If you're a mother that cooks every night, your food processor and electric can opener would make another great cluster with the same outlet.

Plants are a very positive addition to your kitchen. If you have a window in your kitchen and the available counter space, add a bit of life with a plant. If you can not remember to water them, set an alarm on your cell phone once a week that says to water plants. Everyone has a cell phone now a day and uses the alarm or calendar features on them quite frequently. A plant does not only look beautiful, but it cleans the air of the pollution and gives you oxygen in the atmosphere.

A kitchen rug can be a great solution for a kitchen that has damaged or worn out floors. These rugs can also help keep someone from slipping on the floor when it is …

How to Finish Wood – Varnish Or Seal?

Being involved in DIY workshops I am often asked about the difference between whether to varnish or seal a finished project. Both are excellent finishing techniques – when applied in the right circumstances.

Did you know that the internal structure of wood contains thousands of microscopic cells or tubes that run up and down the grain of the timber. These tubes carry nutrients that are essential for tree growth and, once cut and dried, they continue to expand and contract under conditions of high moisture and humidity.

Even after a synthetic finish has been applied to the surface of wood, the wood continues to expand and contract depending upon the external ambient conditions in which it is placed. It is not a process that you are going to notice but there are some obvious indicators that this is happening. In very wet weather you may find that a exterior door, garage door, or even a timber gate, will swell and stick, or you may struggle to open a timber window. This is due to the fact that the wood has swollen (expanded) as a result of excess moisture being absorbed into the wood. The swollen wood will eventually dry out and revert back to its original shape, although sometimes a bit of sanding down may be required.

Taking the above into consideration, when deciding what finish to apply to your wood projects it helps to know a few facts beforehand.

What is varnish?

Varnish is a blend of resins and oils that are applied to the surface of wood to provide a protective layer against damage. Varnish is available in various formulations from gloss and semi-gloss to a matt finish. The most common varnish used today is polyurethane varnish.

Varnish does not penetrate into the wood, rather the first coat of varnish blocks the surface of wood to offer protection from ambient moisture. However, due to the constant expansion and contraction of timber, over time the varnish layer may crack and perish allowing moisture to gain access to the wood and further exacerbating the problem.

What is sealer?

Sealer is combination of resins and oils, but with a lower viscosity than varnish, which means that sealer actually penetrates into the wood itself to nourish and protect from within – rather than on top. It is essential to apply three coats of sealer to wood surfaces, as the first coat penetrates into the wood, the second coat bonds with the first layer to form a seal, and the third and final coat provides a surface that is heat, scratch and water resistant.

Sealer can be applied to almost any timber surface – interior or exterior – and there are various types of varnish specifically designed for interior or exterior conditions. UV stabilisers are added to exterior sealers to protect against sunlight and some even contain mould and fungus inhibitors. Before applying any sealer to your exterior timber be sure to check the label that the sealer meets with all your local …

The Importance of Good Kitchen Lighting

With the kitchen being one of the most traveled rooms in many homes, good kitchen lighting is important to its overall design and feeling.

The practice of implementing good lighting design is a popular and cost effective project that many homeowners choose to underake in order to give their kitchens an extra personal touch and have it stand out from others.

There are several places, many of which some do not ever consider, to add lighting. Did you ever think about kitchen lighting or kitchen lighting over the sink? These are just two places where extra lighting to go in order to accent your appliances and other kitchen fixtures.

Through the right design decisions, you can improve your kitchen's look and create a positive ambiance that you, your family and guests will greatly appreciate.

In order to do that, however, it's important to know what the different types of kitchen lighting are and how they are typically implemented into the design of a kitchen.

The four types of lighting to consider before beginning a kitchen remodeling project are task lighting, ambient lighting, decorative lighting and accent lighting. Each of these types of lighting serves a different purpose than the others, so getting acquainted with each one would be to your advantage while you're in the planning stages of your project.

Ambient lighting is often the most prevalent type of lighting. Its low intensity creates a soft glow that makes it safe to work in most areas of the kitchen. Many people associate ambient lighting with setting the mood in a room not just in kitchens, but in places like restaurants and bars as well. The right amount of ambient light can make a room welcoming and homely.

Task lighting is a type of kitchen lighting that provides a more high intensity glow. It's because of this task task lighting is often limited to places like the sink and cabinets, where being able to see is important. To get the most use out of this type of lighting, look into putting it not only over your sink, but over type other heavy-use kitchen items like cutting boards and stoves as well.

Accent lighting is designed to show things off. If you have an expensive new refrigerator or another item in your kitchen such as rare dishware that you want people to notice, then this is the type of lighting to use for that. It does not make the working areas of your kitchen more functional places, but its aesthetic value has made it popular with homeowners performing kitchen renovations nonetheless.

Lastly, there is decorative lighting. This type of kitchen lighting allows you to make the space truly your own. Whatever the design of the lights, it's important to remember the old adage of "less is more" with decorative lighting. Overdoing it with decorative lighting can make for a gaudy and flashy appearance whereas a minimalist approach can bring an understated refinement to the room. …

Black Ants – Get Rid of This Household Menace

Do you have black ants? Get rid of black ants by following the procedures laid out in this article.

Most black ants are Carpenter Ants. Carpenter Ants do not eat wood, but they will tunnel into it. They use the soft, decaying wood to make their nests.

You can’t just spray black ants. Get rid of this household menace by putting out bait for them to take back to the nest. When you spray, you only kill the ants you can see, but when you put out bait, you can kill off an entire colony.

While there are commercial baits, these use harsh chemicals that can harm children and pets. Instead, use a natural remedy deal with black ants. Get rid of black ants using a bait of Cream of Wheat. The dry cereal is carried back to the nest by the worker ants. All the ants in the nest eat the Cream of Wheat and when they ingest it, the cereal interacts with the body juices of the ant and the ant explodes.

If you do want to spray the visible ants, that’s okay, but don’t use a toxic commercial product. You can mix a few drops of peppermint essential oil with water in a spray jar and spray the ants with that mixture. It works as well as the commercial stuff without leaving a dangerous chemical residue behind.

Do you want to permanently eliminate black ants? Get rid of Carpenter Ants by leaving coffee granules around the kitchen. The ants won’t come near dry coffee.…

Types Of Kitchen Cabinets Explained

The kitchen cabinet which was basically designed to store kitchen appliances has evolved tremendously during the last few decades. Today’s kitchen cabinets are worlds apart from the cabinets 20-30 years ago. In this article we are going to talk about different types of kitchen cabinets which are currently available in the market.

A kitchen cabinet falls into three different groups which are based on their shape and specifications.

Base cabinets:

These are perhaps the most common type of cabinets available in the market. The base cabinet rests on the floor and usually have a counter top. These are the most preferred piece of furniture for flats and apartments which usually have very moderate kitchen space.

The height of this cabinet is around 34 inches to 36 inches. The depth can vary anywhere from 24 inches to 30 inches. It usually has a single door and some newer models can have a double door and the inside of the cabinet can either have shelves or multiple stacked drawers. This is the most preferred kitchen cabinet mainly because of its simpler design.

Many altered versions of base cabinets are also available in the market. The most popular ones are the sink base and the corner base. The sink bases are probably the most commonly purchased kitchen cabinets in the world. It usually has a false drawer and an open area where the plumbing work is hidden. A corner base on the other hand is just like any other shelf which is mainly used to store some day-to-day stuff which are commonly used around the kitchen.

Wall cabinets:

These cabinets are designed in such a way that it can either be integrated in the wall or simply hung on the wall. They are essentially shaped like a base cabinet, the only difference is that these are mainly used like an overhead cabinet for storing things in the kitchen. These cabinets are unique and are commonly used in apartments or individual houses. The most common thing that one needs to consider when they are buying this type of cabinet is the height of the kitchen ceiling and the person’s height. You do not want to end up buying a tall cabinet and not being able to reach the top shelf. So make sure you buy a cabinet so that you can use all the shelves and drawers of the cabinet with ease.

The factory standard height of this furniture ranges from 12 inches to 42 inches. The depth of these cabinets is somewhere around 12 inches to 18 inches.

Tall cabinets:

These are thin and long cabinets. These are essentially like a closet. They are very ideal for narrow spaces. This tall cabinet offers enough places to store many things. The industrial dimensions for this cabinet are 84 inches to 94 inches in length and 12 inches to 18 inches in-depth.…

Kitchen Carts – Turn your Entertaining Area Into an Arena

In a time when kitchen gatherings are fast becoming the en vogue method for entertaining, kitchen space is paramount. The need for organizational structure, convenience, and freedom to move about the kitchen are priorities atop most household lists. Our society is growing more streamlined, and therefore so are our lives. We find the need to not only bake cookies and create theme-inspired meals, but the need to create the space to enjoy our family gatherings. Recent trends in kitchen design are incorporating kitchen carts for just this purpose, and the modern kitchen carts have been successful in adding the space, storage, and convenience we need to turn this room into the cooking and entertaining arena we're searching for.

A variety of kitchen carts exist on the market today. Rolling carts feature mobility, an important function to consider when buying. These kitchen carts also lock for stability when necessary. They are portable and can operate as both a serving cart for guests or as a storage device when not in use. Microwave carts are another form of kitchen cart and are very popular. These carts help eliminate the need to utilize counter space and instead offer easy access to the microwave while providing much needed storage space in its cabinets. Butcher block kitchen carts are equally growing in popularity. As kitchen carts with at least two inches of wooden cutting area on top, these carts are available with both mobile and stationary options. They make space available for food preparation, and since they contain high-quality, thick butcher block wood, these carts also do not scratch or chip.

Kitchen carts also exist in the form of kitchen islands or tables. Kitchen islands are kitchen carts for larger spaces and can be positioned in other rooms of the house. This kitchen cart features more storage and ample work space and can double as a breakfast bar or seating area. Kitchen carts designed as tables are equally versatile. They present longer surface areas for ideal kitchen work space and often have multiple layers for storage. Kitchen carts in this category are great for time when more people want to assist in the food preparation.

Since, there are a number of different types of kitchen carts, prioritizing your kitchen, cooking, and space needs is the best way to approach when making a decision. How much space is needed? What sizes of cart can the kitchen accommodate? What is the design of the kitchen? What primary functions will the kitchen cart serve? Does the kitchen cart need to be stationary or mobile? All of these questions will assist the buyer in selecting the most functional and aesthetic kitchen cart for their home. …

Does Sex Really Begin in the Kitchen?

How does this idea of “sex begins in the kitchen” work? We know it doesn’t mean getting creative with the utensils and appliances, but what does a woman mean when she says romance begins elsewhere than the bedroom?

These may be difficult things for men to really understand, but that shouldn’t stop us trying. A husband with potential is the desire of just about every woman’s heart.

Ideally, on the other hand, the wife who is the desire of a man’s heart doesn’t require him to change, but supports him as he tries.

So the picture we are developing is of a husband who is committed to learning and becoming better, with a wife who is committed to extending grace, never requiring change. Those two things in tension give the marriage a substance of mutual submission.

The husband submits himself to God, and to his wife, in learning to serve her. The wife submits herself to God, and to her husband, by allowing him to grow without forcing matters.

Both are required to submit. Marriage is about mutual submission.

But let’s get back onto the subject of sex – and its imminence emerging from the kitchen.


Love can begin in the kitchen or in the laundry or out in the yard, simply through the act of service; the husband plies his skill and uses his humble strength to work diligently.

It may be an old-fashioned value, but women love working men; not necessarily blue-collar men, but the willingness of a man to lead his family in cheerfully doing the tasks of the home.

Tasks like ironing, washing up, cooking, vacuuming, etc, may once have been the domain of the woman. But now no more. The issue is more about the willingness of the husband to pitch in. His heart is to help.

A woman knows she’s loved when her husband seeks to please her because he loves her. This is an act of faith for the husband, because when he does nice things for his wife she is romanced. He must be genuine, committed, sincere.

The husband never does these nice things for his wife for his personal gain. He must do them sacrificially. Wives can smell a fraud from a mile off.


Wives desire a sincere, thinking husband, who is willing to sacrifice himself in doing tasks around the home, and being actively involved in his family. When a husband acts with such integrity his sexual relationship with his wife will usually have more mutual joy and satisfaction about it.

© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Acknowledgement: to my wife, Sarah.…

Three Points to Consider When Purchasing Recessed Down Lights for Business Premises

There is any number of options available when it comes to choosing a lighting system on the grounds of appearance, but lighting concerns extend beyond that. The practical role of lights means that wholesale lighting stores will always provide efficient and safe options, rather than just the aesthetic.

When it comes to recessed lights, meeting with the set safety regulations is perhaps even more essential as the entire fixture fits within the surface, be it a wall or a ceiling. However, for all types of lights, whether fluorescent, flood or track lights, this is not the only consideration that comes into play when choosing the recessed option.

The Necessary Amount of Light

Options in style are so varying that often the practicalities of lights are forgotten about. When it comes to recessed lighting, attention has to be paid to the depth of the recess and the strength of the light. Remember that recessed lighting will direct light in one direction, not radiate it in all directions like the everyday light.

With that in mind, in some cases it will be necessary to offset any such lighting loss with the inclusion of more lights. Typically, the rule is to space these lights approximately seven feet apart. It may also be necessary to strengthen the power of the bulb to ensure that sufficient light is provided. However, bare in mind that light that is too strong can be counter productive.

Low or Line Voltage

This is especially important because of the perpetual desire to keep costs down, and electricity costs can be debilitating when not controlled. So, there is a choice to run a lighting system off a low voltage system or off the line voltage. Low voltage generally means powering the system on 12 volts, with a transformer fitted to change the 120 volt current that is predominant in main power supply to a tenth of that energy. This type is recommended when there are a large number of lights being used, reducing to increase lighting bills.

The alternative is to run the system off line voltage, but the addition of dimmers can also help to reduce energy consumption while also allowing one the freedom to set the lighting tone. For that reason, it is a particular favorite amongst bars and restaurants, serving to create intimate in the evening while properly lighting the awards during the day. Generally, incandescent lamps are used but halogen lamps are growing in popularity because of their greater efficiency.


As with all recessed lighting systems, insulation must be considered. It relates to fire and safety, which means it is essential that corners are not cut and that the required standards are met, so it is wise to take a careful look at what insulating measures need to be taken. Know what the ceiling insulation status is as this may affect the type of housing needed for the light so as to to fully comply with the set standards. It may also be necessary to install …

Must-Try Vegetarian Recipes for Healthy Snacking

Starting a healthier lifestyle means adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. While meat isn’t completely off the table, most healthy eaters prefer greens and grains in their daily meals. You can start small by snacking on nutritious dishes made out of fresh fruits and vegetables only. So clear your fridge and kitchen of all things junk and start making these quick vegetarian recipes you can enjoy as snacks:

All-Veggie Delicious Nachos

What you need:

  • 1 bag tortilla chips
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 3/4 cups refried beans
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup jalapeno salsa
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir refried beans and salsa together for 5 minutes or until well-blended and heated through. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foild then arrange tortilla chips on the sheet. Pour refried beans mixture over tortillas then top with green bell pepper, onion and cheese. Bake on a re-heated oven broiler for 3-5 minutes or until cheese has melted. Garnish with lettuce and olives before serving.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Dip

What you need:

  • 2 cups reduced fat ranch salad dressing
  • 2 cups reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups hot buffalo wing sauce
  • 1 cup seasoned chicken-style vegetarian strips, diced
  • 1 cup Colby-Moneterey Jack cheese blend, shredded

Mix together ranch salad dressing, cream cheese, hot buffalo wing sauce and vegetarian strips in a slow cooker. Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 hours or when cheese has completely melted. When ready, stir in shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese. Best served with whole wheat bread slices or vegetable sticks.

Butter-Garlic Mushrooms

What you need:

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup tarragon vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 small packet dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
  • 6 drops hot pepper sauce

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat then cook mushrooms for 5 minutes or until browned. Place in a bowl. On a separate bowl, whisk together garlic, vegetable oil, tarragon vinegar, water, white sugar, Italian-style salad dressing mix and hot pepper sauce. Pour mixture over cooked mushrooms. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving. Serve with toasted bread slices.

Look forward to snack time with these delicious vegetarian snack recipes!…