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Developing a Product, and Being an Entrepreneur

Alright Chef Fan’s it’s time that I talked about my last class of Mod 5, the one that I haven’t talked about the whole time I have been updating this Mod. There are a number of reasons that I haven’t talked about this class so far, mostly because I had other things to do then sit around and talk about a class where I read a book and did mindless case studies and SWOT’s. The other half of this class was to put on a fine dining tasting diner for about 24 people. That doesn’t sound to bad right? Well here is assignment…

*Over the past few decades we have become far more aware of the impact that food has on our health and well-being.  There is no question that there is a strong correlation between diet and health.  In America – cases of diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease continue to increase due to the combination of and volume of food that we consume.  It thus becomes an un-written responsibility of the chef and restaurateur to address these issues through the menus that we design.  In 2012, the FDA is requiring that any restaurant chain of more than 20 units conspicuously post basic nutrition data on menus and provide more in-depth information upon request.  This will likely drive all restaurants to be more proactive in building healthy choices on menus.

Your charge is to work as a team in the development of a Healthy Restaurant Concept that reflects your collective backgrounds and interests and stems from a requirement to create a wellness oriented food environment.  To add a level of complexity, the concept must also fall under the categories of fine dining, fun, and educational. The concept will be (as outlined in this packet) presented as if to a Fictitious Venture Capitalist Panel for investment and an audience of people from the NECI and Montpelier communities.

CONCEPT COMPONENTS:

  1. The Opportunity (explain why your restaurant is a good idea)
  2. Your Solution (State very clearly what your concept is)
  3. Your Position (how do you want to be perceived by potential customers)
  4. The Magic (what is uniquely different about your concept – why would I invest – WOW the Venture Capitalists)
  5. How will you Deliver (what does it look like, how will it be presented to the public)

THE PROCESS:

[]    Conduct a “DEEP DIVE” session working from the individual team member concept ideas presented on your test.  After debate, come to an agreement on a concept.

[]    Outline the concept by defining how it fits into the 5 CONCEPT COMPONENTS.

[]    Develop a name for the product/concept that inspires, excites and defines what the product is all about.

[]    Develop a mantra that depicts what you are trying to sell and attracts followers. (example – Just Do It – Nike)

[]    Create a visual impression of the concept through graphics that define the menu and the restaurant environment.

[]    Develop a six-course tasting menu that includes:

  • Amuse Bouche
  • Fish Course
  • Intermezzo
  • Entrée with a vegetable and starch
  • Salad
  • Dessert

 REMEMBER FOR THIS CONCEPT IT IS ALL ABOUT FLAVOR, ORIGINALITY and BALANCED NUTRITION.  The menu must define the healthy orientation of the restaurant and depict the basic nutritional information required:

  • Calories per dish
  • Total Calories
  • Calories from Fat
  • Additionally, the menu items should be low in sodium and empty calories.

It is important that the restaurant concept is educational and fun at the same time.  Your goal is to demonstrate that healthy food can be exciting and flavorful as well as “good for you”.  The total caloric intake for the 6 courses cannot exceed 1,000.

Now because I have taken so long to get around to posting about this, the dinner is already over and done with. It was actually last night… Truth be told I really liked the idea of the project. Yes it was hard and challenging to come up with a 1000 calorie 6 course tasting menu in a fine dining healthy restaurant, but the problem I had with the project was that I had no passion for it. I think that was what caused some of the problems with our group; I don’t think that anyone was really passionate about the project as a whole. For me this was a very large contradiction to what we were learning about in the other part of the class. From an Entrepreneur stand point and from everything we read in Guy’s book he is always talking about creating something with passion or working with passionate people, and that if the person you are looking to hire doesn’t have passion for your ideas then don’t hire them.

A solution for this for future projects I think would be to pick groups (still blind and random) and then spend 30-45 min brain storming about what the perimeters of the project would be. That way everyone has a say in what the Entrepreneurial venture is going to be and they can have some passion for the project. It also introduces the deep dive process as a whole and can be used as a point of reference in later lessons for the class.

Speaking of the group/ team, I think that the phrase “We got the job done” is a great way of putting it, but I am really proud of what we accomplished. We talked for Hours about what we were going to do. First with our concept, then with our menu. We didn’t have a finalized menu until the day our requisition was due, and this was because we couldn’t agree on what we were going to do. We had an outline and agreed about one dish early on and then we would meet and talk about another dish and get it outlined, the whole time updating and drafting our menu. When the tasting diner came we did learn from both teams that went before us but our menu did not change because of this, even when we found out that the second group was doing the exact same thing as us for our fish course. Yes ours used a different fish and garnish but it was still a seared fish in a clear soup served table side. However when it came time to actually put on the dinner we worked perfectly together, we prepped the first day to the point that all we had to do was fire and do day of tasks. Service in the kitchen worked great, and everyone had a say in how everything was seasoned and plated and everyone had a hand in each dishes preparation. We did good and I am very proud of the work me and my team put out.

When asked to do a self-evaluation of our team and concept This is what I would have to say:

1.         Rate your personal involvement in project planning and the presentation of your product:
            []         Over the Top

[X]       Excellent

[]         Did What I had to do

[]         Barely Made an Effort

2.         Assess the following:
            a.         Your Teams Pitch Presentation:

[]         Excellent

[X]       Average

[]         Needed More Work

b.         Your Project Marketing:

[]         Excellent

[X]       Average

[]         Needed More Work

c.          The Product Taste:

[X]       Excellent- Based on reviews from the guest

[]         Average

[]         Needed More Work

d.         Food Presentation:

[X]       Excellent- Based on reviews from the guest

[]         Average

[]         Needed More Work

e.         Organization and Execution of the Event:
[X]       Excellent- Talking with the “chef observer” in the kitchen after the event and asking for his feedback.

[]         Average

[]         Needed Work

3.         Rate your Overall Team Cohesiveness:
            []         Very Solid

[X]       We Got the Job Done

[]         Could Have Been Better

In the next few days when I get pictures back from the event I will post them for everyone to see and I will talk about our concept. So stay tuned for the next part Chef Fan’s.

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