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Starting your Own Restaurant, Overview of the Restaurant Business

The idea of owning a restaurant appeals to many people, especially those who perceive it as glamorous or a symbol of prestige. The restaurateur role has seduced a number of well-known sports and entertainment figures and personalities.

Self-proclaimed chefs dream of opening their own restaurants, confident that their talents will result in successful enterprises, in spite of the high percentage of new restaurant failures each year.

Starting a Restaurant

When starting a restaurant there are countless decisions to make, and making just one wrong decision in any of these areas can result in the failure of the business. Consider the location, menu, building design, marketing and training of the staff. Once the business gets going the work has just begun, with daily management and overseeing the staff.

The location alone can make or break the business. While you might select a good area, you may choose the wrong street. Two identical establishments situated just one street apart, might result in one being wildly successful while the other a dismal failure. Causes for the difference include a variety of possible factors, such as street exposure, visibility and access.

Creating the menu does not just involve planning delicious meals that will appeal to your customers. The ingredients must be obtainable at a cost, which will allow you to price the menu to make a profit, yet still be affordable to clients. If a restaurant hopes to make 10 percent of its gross sales as the profit, there is very little room for food waste. Another consideration is the cost of food preparation. Some meals are more labor intensive than others, requiring additional prep time.

Restaurant Management

Even if you have the ideal location, menu and marketing strategy, poor management will be the downfall of the restaurant. Restaurants require constant supervision to maintain consistent product. It takes just one bad meal for an unsatisfied customer to spread the word that your restaurant has horrible food.

If a server, cook, bartender or dishwasher fails to show up for work, someone has to be ready to jump in to do the work. Often that someone is the restaurant manager. Restaurants require continual cleaning, with floors needing daily washing. Refrigeration storage requires regular rotating, and improper food handling can make customers seriously sick.

Being a successful restaurateur is not a part time job; it require long hours, commitment and hard work. For those that enjoy the work, and love working with people, the business can be rewarding.

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Higgins Alley, Missoula, Higgins Alley Restaurant, Montana

Higgins Alley, Missoula

Every step of the way, owner Jeff Readman honors Zimorino’s, the beloved Missoula institution that Higgins Alley replaced.

“Zimorino’s was more than a restaurant to people here; it was a part of the community for more than two decades. Since then, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well we’ve been accepted,” says Freadman, who works four nights a week in the kitchen as the restaurant’s head chef.

Readman moved to Missoula in 1993. In 1998, he left to attend Tante Marie’s Cooking School , a private culinary institute located in San Francisco . Freadman found the school’s small class sizes and intensive nature (students prepare food together under the tutelage of the chef or cooking teacher) beneficial to his needs as a chef.

“That year, I learned the meaning of professionalism and I honed my skills. Most of the new dishes at Higgins Alley are based on my knowledge of food and training, and incorporate professional techniques I acquired from Tante Marie’s,” says Freadman.

Higgins Alley, Missoula Italian Restaurant

In 2004, Freadman signed the paperwork to purchase Zimorino’s. Still, many locals mistakenly refer to his restaurant by its former name, or they innocently call Higgins Alley “that brand new place.” These situations hardly irk or irritate Freadman.

“We still get phone calls asking for Zimorino’s, but that’s fine. For six months after I took over the place, I kept the old name and the exact menu, that’s because I didn’t want to alienate people.”

In March 2004, Freadman closed the restaurant for two months in order to have new carpeting installed, to have the kitchen remodeled, and to remove partition walls, in an attempt to create the impression of greater spaciousness.

Today, Higgins Alley epitomizes the vibrant and enjoyable Missoula dining experience – informal, mellow, buoyant, family friendly, not exclusive to an age group or a particular mode of dress.

“When you come here you can opt to spend $12 or $30 a person. We have a comfortable price range. You can wear a suite and tie or come in jeans. People should feel comfortable here, and are made to enjoy the atmosphere and the ambience. “

Readman’s philosophy as a restaurant owner is simple: quality control and fresh ingredients are key. “We don’t buy prepared foods. Pastas, breads and desserts are all made in-house daily. Nothing here is pre-assembled, or premade, and everything is cooked to order,” says Readman.

Higgins Alley, Missoula, MT

At Higgins Alley, patrons get a robust slice of neighborhood Italian, New York style, transferred, in a sleeker format, to the heart of Missoula ’s laid-back downtown district atmosphere.

“I love being downtown. This is the best spot, the four corners area (of Higgins and Spruce). It keeps us busy, and I love the building we’re in. I can’t picture us being anywhere else in Missoula .”

Offering multiregional Italian dishes served in a casual, dimly lit, old-fashioned setting to the strains of light music and chatty conversation, Higgins Alley radiates warmth and sentimentality. The restaurant’s hardwood oak bar is stocked with an ambitious variety of Italian wines, with enough interesting choices to suggest a favorite local hangout is in the making.

Freadman is glad that he and his restaurant have successfully developed a cordial rapport with the local community. For him, hearing the kind and favorable comments of his customers, makes the effort of providing delectable dishes and pleasing recipes worthwhile.

“I’ll tell you: I’ve heard how hard it is to run a restaurant, and it’s all true. It’s an around the clock job. But, after seeing people have fun here and enjoying themselves, those things really don’t matter.”

 

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Reno’s Ethnic Restaurants Mirror City’s People

On the dining scene, Reno’s diversity of ethnic populations have brought added ingredients to the area’s cuisine. As a result, it’s possible to dine on Salvadoran food one night; Thai, East Indian, Italian, Mexican, Japanese or Greek the next. A sampling of dining options follows.

Zagol Ethiopian Restaurant

The city’s only Ethiopian restaurant, Zagol, is located at 855 E. Fourth Street. Definitely upscale, the restaurant’s décor is sophisticated, with art from Ethiopia on the walls. Meals are served without cutlery, and food is designed to be eaten by scooping it up with a spongy flat bread called injera. Food is served on Ethiopian-crafted platters large enough for all diner’s entrees in addition to a communal salad. Among house specialties are several chicken dishes and a combination of cooked collard greens, yellow split peas and beef.

Dynasty China Bistro

Its storefront location (1185 California Ave.) at the Village Shopping Center makes Dynasty a popular eatery with Reno residents who live in the area. Décor is simple but attractive with red lanterns and Chinese art highlighting the white walls and dark wood paneling. The bill of fare includes traditional Chinese-American dishes along with variations such as glazed shrimp with walnuts, lettuce wrapped chicken and mango curry.

India Kabobs & Curry

India Kabobs & Curry (1091 S. Virginia Street) features an array of exceedingly diverse dishes. Best choice for diners unfamiliar with Indian cuisine is the lunch buffet, served from 10:30 a.m-3 p.m. ($7.95). It includes pakoras (cheese, chicken or other meats deep-fried in chick pea batter), samosas (turnovers with a variety of fillings), kabobs, breads and vegetables flavored with traditional spices from the various regions of the country.

Opa!

This Greek eatery at Airport Square (1290 E. Plumb Lane) is actually a combination sub shop, restaurant and take-away food operation. It’s a small restaurant, but the menu is extensive with mousaka,pastitsio, spankopita and gyros among the Greek offerings. A half dozen Italian pastas as well as vegetarian meals, subs, panini and other sandwiches are also available. In addition to the inside seating, sidewalk tables are moved outside during warm weather.

The Agave

At 1575 Vassar Street, this Reno old-timer was formerly known as La Pinata. Portions are generous, with traditional Mexican American offerings – tacos, tortillas, tamales, flautas and chile rellenos – on the menu. However, they’re of higher quality than their counterparts in most other Reno restaurants. The ambience (especially in the dining room on the right side of the restaurant) is pleasantly traditional, with comfortable booths and tables. Service is excellent and in addition to the regular menu, there’s also a buffet.

El Quetzal

Two doors down from The Agave, at 1555 Vassar Street, El Quetzal’s cuisine is Guatemalan. Tortillas and salsas are home made. Though the ingredients are much the same as those in Mexican dishes, they’re combined differently and the food is not as spicy as that of its neighbor to the North. For example, the salsa is milder orange in color. The deep fried and stuffed plantain is a popular dessert.

Bangkok Cuisine

With greenery-bedecked arches, blue and white serving dishes and other decorative touches reminiscent of Thailand’s capital city, the setting at Bangkok Cuisine (55 Mt. Rose Street) is matched by the authenticity of the cuisine. Most menu entrees can be made with either beef, chicken, pork or seafood. Salads can also serve as entrees since most of them include both meat or seafood along with vegetables or fruit. Exotic flavors of ice cream are among the dessert choices.

Almost all of the ethnic restaurants” meals are moderately priced at $30 to $40 for dinner for two. Hours vary. As do closing days.

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The opportunities that can be produced by slates in home decoration

You would have seen the usage of slates for interior decoration recently. I would like to mention about the job and business opportunities you get from these stones. I will explain what slates are before starting to talk about the opportunities. Slates are metamorphic stones that are formed gradually in nature due to the pressure and heat under the sedimentary rocks. Slates come with different textures and colors giving them a rustic look. These stones come in a variety of earth tone colors that are only found in the slates. The slates can be used for different uses like flooring, countertops, and other decorations. This is an industry where you can work independently and earn from it. I can give you some ideas about this.

slate plate with soap stone chalk

If you can buy slates from retailers you can set up a shop itself with decoration items made of slates. Most people know about the slates as the unique cheese boards. But that is not the only way you can decorate your house using the slates. These unique cheese boards can be used to decorate your living room, bathroom, kitchen and even bedroom. Now itself you would have understood the vast opportunities you get from this. You can work as an interior designer and decoration expert. People can also call you for renovations because they want to increase the value of their house. For this purpose slates are the best options.

Slate plates for serving food

Since these stones are cheaper when compared to the other tiles or stones house owners tend to buy them for flooring. So you can set up a business unit to provide flooring services to the new house owners. Next use of these slates is as the kitchen countertops. So you can set up an interior and kitchen designing business. Another use of these unique cheese boards is as the serving slates. Restaurants have started to use the slates as food serving plates recently. This practice is going to increase gradually because of the easy to clean and maintain nature of the slate. So you just have to buy the slates and cut it into shapes asked by the restaurants. Most of the time they will ask for rectangle shape so the work is easy. Just like the interior flooring, the slates can be used as tiles for the car parking area and lawn.

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What is the place of the slates in home decoration?

Slates have been used for the purpose of roofs and walls for a long time now. And more recently, as a slate cheese board – people are even using it for their restaurants! I do agree, that they are unique plates for restaurants. Using slates as interior decoration is not that popular among the house owners. But there are glimpses of hope for those who have been promoting the use of slates or these unique cheese boards for interior decoration.  Slates are rocks (metamorphic) that are naturally formed by the extreme heat and pressure from the sedimentary rocks. You get slates in different forms, designs, and shapes which is a blessing for designers who use slates for interior designing.

slate plates

Slate plates are widely used as cheese boards and they can also be used for decoration of the interior. You would have seen kitchen countertops made of slates that can give a classy look to the kitchen. As I mentioned earlier there are different designs available for the slates. This gives us more options to use these as the decorations. I can think of some ideas to use these unique cheese boards while decorating your house. You can buy these unique cheese boards from the market and stick or hang it in front of the rooms with inmate’s names written on it. You can use these slates as garden markers. Since you can write on the slate using a chalk piece it is easy to customize them with the names.

slate counter top

Another way to decorate your house using the slates is using it as a candle stand. You can either use it as a flat surface to decorate it with small candles or can buy round candle holders made of slates. These unique cheese boards can be used in the living room to keep the flower vases giving them a classy look. In bathrooms, you can use these slates as just a platform to keep your grooming kit, soap, shampoo, and conditioner. You can use these slates to draw pictures to welcome guests for a party. If you want to get something engraved onto the slate you can get it done from the shops. Even though there are other purposes for the slates they are widely used as the base for the decorations. Since these boards are jet black in color (most of the time) anything on top of that will look elegant and classy. In short, the slates are used for decoration when the house owner need only minimal decoration but should be classy and elegant.