Creating Menus for your Restaurant

MenuLast week we discussed how going to food shows can help you come up with new ideas for recipes as well as enable you to network with other members of the restaurant industry. Today we will look at how you can take all the ideas for new recipes and put them all together to create a menu that will not only be enticing for your customers but also something you can be proud of! Here are some of our top tips:

Budgeting

The first thing you need to consider is what ingredients your restaurant can realistically afford, and this usually depends on how much you think your clientele will be happy to pay for each dish! If you think that you could charge £20 for each customer’s main course then you can start thinking about making dishes with ingredients such as lobster and caviar. However, overly expensive dishes could drive your customers away, so sometimes it’s best to stick with more simple ingredients and give them an unexpected twist! You could also invest in fresh local produce that will taste great and help fund other businesses in your community!

Think about Flavours

One of the most important things to consider when deciding your menu is to think about what flavours go together as a whole. For instance, it’s generally not a great idea to have something overly spicy or flavoursome for a starter and then have it followed by a creamy pasta dish as the flavours may not go well together. The best thing to do is think about what you would order in a restaurant and go from there. Don’t forget the best way to know about flavours is to try the food, so why not get your staff together and have a tasting session to see what everyone likes the most?

The Chef

It’s all well and good picking a dish that you like and will impress your customers, however before you even think about adding it to your menu you need to talk to the person responsible for cooking it – the chef! Not only do you need to make sure that he has the skill to create each dish you want to put on the menu, but also that he has the realistic amount of time to do so each and every night. Furthermore, you will need to make sure he has all the kitchen utensils he needs so he can create the dish quickly and safely. The last thing you need is a kitchen disaster and having to claim off your restaurant insurance!

Choosing a menu is not always easy, but with a little time and effort you will be able to create one that will be tasty, exciting, and will hopefully lead to your customers coming back for more!

Visiting Food Shows

tomatoesIf you own a restaurant you know how important it is to keep your menu fresh and exciting so that you can retain your normal clientele and also entice new customers. Restaurants that put time and effort into their menus usually reap the rewards, and one of the best ways of coming up with new ideas is visiting a food show. Here we look at what you can expect to find at one and how to get the most out of them!

Food and Recipes

Obviously the most important part of a food event is experiencing new types of food, and also new variations of recipes that you would have never thought of on your own! At most food shows there will be companies trying to sell their foods by hosting demonstrations on how to cook recipes using their product, and most of the time there are free samples for you to try. Even if you don’t want to use the specific ingredient they are trying to sell, you can still think about ways to adapt their recipes with ideas of your own. The inspiration these stalls can provide is truly amazing!

Networking

One great thing about food shows is that there are so many like-minded people all in one place, so you will be able to talk to caterers, wholesalers, cooks and even other restaurant owners. By putting yourself out there and engaging with as many people as possible you can get advice on things such as kitchen appliances, cheap restaurant insurance providers and tips on finding and hiring your staff. Most food shows also have a celebrity chef there, and if you’re lucky you could bump into one of your idols!

Upcoming Events

The great thing about food shows is that there is not a specific ‘season’ which they are all in, in fact you can find a food show happening near you practically every week of the year! This is also handy if you want to change your menu by the season, as shows in the summer will generally have different exhibitions than those in the winter. The BBC Summer Good Food Show is coming up in June in Birmingham, which will sure to be a great day out or you could visit the Love Food Festival 2013 which is one of the most popular shows in the UK.

Going to food shows is not just about getting some great ideas for your restaurant, it’s also great fun! So why not get online and start looking for one in your area?

Becoming a Commercial Property Landlord

officesWhen thinking of landlords the first thing that comes into most people’s minds is private rented accommodation such as flats or houses. Whilst this market is doing extremely well at the moment there are other types of properties that landlords can invest in, and doing so will not only give you a more well-rounded property portfolio but also give you a deeper knowledge of the rental and property markets. So what do you need to know before becoming a commercial property landlord?

Buying a Commercial Property

Generally, if you are planning on investing in a commercial property it will be based in a town centre or industrial estate nearby. However, there are companies which choose to be based in areas that are more suburban as they feel it is a nicer setting for their employees, so make sure you have a look around and see if you can spot something special you could convert! At this point you will have to think of what type of commercial property you would be happy to let and whether there is demand for it in the area. For example, if you want to let out a shop then it’s a good idea to be near to public transport services, whilst offices need areas with good parking facilities.

Your Responsibilities

Becoming a commercial landlord means that you will have to adhere to regulations such as making sure that the property is safe and well maintained. If you are planning on letting out an office space you will need to check if there are regulations on the building concerning how many people are legally allowed to work in the office before you place it on the market. Most commercial properties will also expect certain things as standard such as facilities that enable them to set up the internet quickly and easily, and the ability to modify and personalise the property so that it is in line with their company’s image.

Damages

It is more likely for damages to occur in commercial properties rather than residential ones due to the fact that so many people will be there for long periods of time during the day. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have commercial property landlord insurance that will help pay to keep the property maintained if there are damages. If you are letting a shop commercial property landlord insurance will also cover damages caused by customers, as well as other situations such as malicious damage caused by passers-by.

Whilst becoming a commercial property landlord may sound difficult at first, remember that many companies are prepared to pay for well-maintained properties. And if you keep the property in good order you could find your tenants wanting to stay there for years on end!

What Dishes to Have on your Motorhome Trip?

Motorhome foodThe benefits of having a motorhome or campervan are that you have the choice of making homemade food away from home, as well as spoiling yourself at a nearby restaurant. This means that if there are quite a few of you on holiday, you can save a bit of money by cooking your own food and spending quality time together around the campsite rather than eating out each day and night.

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Motorhoming in Europe

EU flagEurope is one of the most popular destinations for motorhome owners due to the fact that once you cross the channel you can then drive to any country you like! Furthermore, due to the fact that Europe is so large and made up of so many different countries there are multiple experiences to be had and endless opportunities for a fun day out. But what do you need to know about Europe before you go?

Busy Seasons

Every country in Europe has their own busy period so you need to do some research first before you go! For example, getting to the South East of France during the ski season could be extremely difficult, and if you haven’t booked a caravan site ahead you may find it hard to find somewhere to park your motorhome legally in the evenings. Don’t forget that traffic will probably be a nightmare around this time too, so make sure you have plenty of fuel and your motorhome insurance documents in case you break down!

Currency

Being from England we are all well aware that every country which is part of the European Union doesn’t use the Euro as currency, which means that you need to check the currency of each country you are planning on visiting before you go. For example, if you are planning on going to Denmark you will need to exchange your money for Krone, however keep in mind you will probably want to take some Euros with you as well for when you are travelling through different countries along the way! It may also be a good idea to invest in a debit card that doesn’t charge if you take money out abroad, that way no matter where you end up you know you are covered!

Laws and Culture

Even though Europe is just across the channel from us the laws and culture in many countries may surprise you. There are some that are obvious, like driving on the right hand side of the road and reading speed signs in kilometres instead of miles per hour, but others may be more elusive. Some countries require more paperwork than others to visit, so you need to make sure all of this is done before you get to the border! You should also make sure that everywhere you plan to visit is covered on your motorhome insurance, as even if you have European cover you may find there are some which are excluded!

One of the great things about Europe is that as it is so close you will probably find areas you love that you will visit again and again. Just make sure that you plan ahead and learn everything you need to know about the country before you go!

How the Budget will affect Landlords

pennyOn Wednesday we discussed how this year’s Budget would affect those in the restaurant trade, and today we are looking into how it will change the private rented accommodation sector in the next twelve months. Housing was one of the most important topics for the Budget this year as not only is there a massive shortage of housing across the UK but also an increase in the amount of people now renting properties as they cannot afford to get onto the property ladder. Here we explain some of the key points of the Budget that will affect landlords the most:

Construction

Lack of housing throughout the UK has led to the government making some rather unpopular decisions recently, such as introducing the ‘bedroom tax’ which will lead to anyone living in a property that has a ‘spare room’ having their housing benefits cut. At the same time as trying to use what property is currently available to the best of its ability, the government is also investing heavily in the construction sector, however they have stated that they are not planning on borrowing more money for projects as this could adversely affect markets.

Mortgages

As well as investing in housing construction, the government have also launched a new ‘Help to Buy’ scheme that will give 20 per cent loans to anyone that manages to save a 5 per cent deposit for a new property. The aim of the scheme is to help first and second-step buyers and improve the overall market; however there have already been criticisms from members of the housing industry. Many have argued that previous schemes of this type have not worked, and that the government should invest more in the private rented sector as at this point in time it is providing more accommodation for people across the UK than privately owned houses.

Banks

Even though the government is against borrowing more money for housing projects, George Osborne is planning on incentivising banks to lend more money to those in the housing sectors. This is good news for landlords as it means it may become easier to gain funds for buy-to-let properties and expand their portfolios. This also means that landlords may be able to remortgage their properties more easily in the future, which will help with their overall business. Landlord insurance providers will also be happy to hear that landlords will have more access to funds as it means there will be less chance of them defaulting on their payments.