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Old 16th August 2019, 20:33   #46
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I could see two differences between a typical Indian Restaurant and Restaurants abroad, there are exceptions to this rule in India as well.

Description of the Dish - Typical indian Restaurant leave a lot to people's guess as far as dish is concerned. It will usually be the name of the dish and nothing more. But, if you go to the restaurants abroad, you would also get a good description of the dish along with the name. Some even give indication of the portion size, spice level and whether it is a favorite dish of the customers as well. The description and details helps a lot in getting details about the dish and thus making an order is comparatively easy.

Portion size and spice level - There is sort of a standardized spice level and portion size abroad, but here it is anybody's guess. I find it easy to ask the waiter about the order size or a suggestion on spice level while making an order at a not so familiar restaurant, it usually helps as an indicator.

I understand it is my perspective.
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Old 16th August 2019, 20:50   #47
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No. When we talk about food cost, it is just the material cost. At the most some restaurants may want to include cooking gas into it. Labour is a fixed cost and is clubbed with other fixed costs such as rent and maintenance. In the restaurant industry it is a convention to flatten fixed cost into a per day basis. For example if my fixed monthly costs are Rs 1.5 lakh, it is Rs 5000 per day. Now let's assume my food+LPG cost is 50%, it means I need to do sales of Rs 10,000 per day just to break even. Any sales above that goes to profit (after deducting food cost). This is the 'back of the envelop' calculation that all owners work with.

It is surviving that is difficult.
That explains a lot of things. Thanks for taking the time to spell out the details. Not too conversant with the economics of Indian restaurants, though my daughter is a chef in Australia. She's reading this thread. Here's the thread where we talk food... (Journeying across Australia with food on our mind)
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Na na, this free meal comes after completing a task, the task has multiple steps; which are as follows:
1) Reach IGI airport
2) Get the flight to Bengaluru
...
So, when are we going to BLR?
Why complicate life? Come over tonight, and we can drive down to Bangalore and be there by Sunday lunchtime. Your car and fuel, my driving effort! Malyaj wouldn't need proof of identity then, and we eliminate steps 1-4 in your list.

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Old 16th August 2019, 20:53   #48
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Enjoyed this thread enormously. Thank you for that, Malyaj.

I am aware that some restaurants do tend to store (suitably) unsold preparations to be offered the subsequent days after due processing (reheating at the least). This is particularly true in cities, where the weekend business is probably equal to the sum of the other days of the week business. (Ahmedabad for example). Hence, if off-take does not follow the forecasted demand ( specially if it is a Sunday), the surplus food may be suitably stored for the next day. How true is this?

Was in the US recently and asked the owner of an Indian restaurant to bring us which ever item was freshly prepared. He surprised us by stating candidly that none of the dishes would have been (freshly) made from first principles- either the onion-tomato curry masala would have been previously made and refrigerated, or the slow moving items. Further, most of the (stuffed) parathas were frozen stuff. Their 'signature' dish was not available that day (Maybe the cook had taken a day off)

The whole business model, at least in such places and countries, seems to stock various offerings (which are outsourced to speciality manufacturers - desserts for example is commonly outsourced ) and have two or three 'signature' dishes-an euphemism for freshly prepared food.

I rather prefer to go to the neighbourhood udipi joint, where the food is freshly prepared as per a time schedule. Though the degree of hygiene maintained in these places is best left unanalysed.

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Originally Posted by RSimonS View Post
But, if you go to the restaurants abroad, you would also get a good description of the dish along with the name.
Not nitpicking, but sharing with you an experience in a gourmet vegan restaurant in the US.

The description:

Types of restaurant customers-img_3725.jpg

....and the offering:

Types of restaurant customers-img_3720.jpg

I had a difficult time finishing the course.

Last edited by aah78 : 16th August 2019 at 21:23. Reason: Posts merged on request.
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Old 16th August 2019, 21:19   #49
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Enjoyed this thread enormously. Thank you for that, Malyaj.

I am aware that some restaurants do tend to store (suitably) unsold preparations to be offered the subsequent days after due processing (reheating at the least).
Thanks @earthian !

It is not uncommon to prepare certain standard curries and store them in the refrigerator. For North Indian cooking this would mean 3 basic sauces - Red sauce (made mostly with Tomato and some spices), brown sauce (made of either boiled or fried onions, depending on what you intend to do with it) and white sauce (made with a mix of cashew nut and watermelon seed paste). These sauces have a good shelf life and do not spoil easily. Mind you, this is not the same as reheating and serving a leftover dish.

The tomato sauce, staple of most north Indian dishes needs to be cooked for a very long time to eliminate the raw flavor of tomatoes. If you are out of this and forced to use freshly pureed tomatoes, the dish will take ages to cook or will simply not taste good.

Chinese cooking (at least what is commonly available in India) is least dependent on pre cooked sauces and so is South Indian fast food. If one has an issue with stored sauces, these 2 cuisines would be the best bet.

Last edited by Malyaj : 16th August 2019 at 21:25.
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Old 16th August 2019, 22:14   #50
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Default Re: Types of restaurant customers

This thread is vintage Malyaj. His sense of dry humour all the way. Share some more corny customer episodes with us.
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Old 16th August 2019, 22:21   #51
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The description:
....and the offering:

I had a difficult time finishing the course.

You forgot to Google what tempeh is!

BTW, that GF mark at the top of the description means it is gluten-free.
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Old 16th August 2019, 22:44   #52
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BTW, that GF mark at the top of the description means it is gluten-free.
Will the better enlightened tell me what is gluten free supposed to mean. Does it mean they have removed the gluten and are charging you for removing it Three decades ago even on my trips to USA I never heard of allergy to nuts. Now every seventh person seems to have an allergy to nuts. We grew up in a time when we could not afford to have an allergy to any food. And if you had an allergy to exotics like karela or tinda your mother would make sure she sorted it out in minutes.
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Old 17th August 2019, 11:59   #53
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Originally Posted by VKumar View Post

So, when are we going to BLR?
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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Why complicate life? Come over tonight, and we can drive down to Bangalore and be there by Sunday lunchtime. Your car and fuel, my driving effort! Malyaj wouldn't need proof of identity then, and we eliminate steps 1-4 in your list.
Help! Here I am cozily fooling south Indians that I am serving authentic North Indian food and here are 2 people from Delhi thinking of visiting my restaurant and exposing me

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
This thread is vintage Malyaj. His sense of dry humour all the way. Share some more corny customer episodes with us.
Thank you Sir ! Let me jog my memory to recall some experiences. The daily stress of running a restaurant ages your brain cells 2x
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Old 17th August 2019, 12:25   #54
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You forgot to Google what tempeh is!
On the dot, SS-Traveller! The waitress did mention something, but the gap between what she explained and what i understood could fill a crater.

I had the most awful headache after that tempeh- no doubt caused by fermented soya. What made it more difficult was that i had to wash the whole thing down with water; the alternative being an evil looking greenish liquid, which i luckily passed.
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Old 17th August 2019, 12:29   #55
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I could see two differences between a typical Indian Restaurant and Restaurants abroad, there are exceptions to this rule in India as well.
We Indians don’t have the luxury of giving long names to our dishes because they start sounding like verbal diarrhoea of a foodie Ghalib. Consider this -

"Tandoor ke lababdar reshmi murg kabab aur khameeri naan"

One can almost imagine a poet with white beard sitting in a Mughal court pleading the emperor to spare his life.

Or ask a North Indian to pronounce "Jeedi Pappu Iguru served with Karempakku Annam and a side of Karimeen Pollichathu" 10 times in a row. He will be dreaming of curry leaves and coconut all night.

Have you ever heard of a young man bragging to his girlfriend that he had a meal of baingan ka bharta with jowar ki roti, washed down with lassi? Doesn’t sound as good as saying you had roasted eggplant with multi grain bread and a yogurt smoothie.

Last edited by Malyaj : 17th August 2019 at 12:45.
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Old 17th August 2019, 12:50   #56
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Default Re: Types of restaurant customers

Undoubtedly, an infotainment thread. It's always better to know the perspective from the other side of the table. Loved every post in it. Thanks to Malayj for starting it.

Someone had commented on the food cooked the previous day being served the next day. But doesn't the food prepared a day earlier taste better if properly refrigerated? Is this a practice at restaurants?

At least that's what we do every time we have guests at home. And it has more to do with making it finger licking than out of managing time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malyaj View Post
Help! Here I am cozily fooling south Indians that I am serving authentic North Indian food and here are 2 people from Delhi thinking of visiting my restaurant and exposing me 2x
My favourite anecdote on this. Once we had Chinese visitors and one thing that they most wanted to eat was the "Indian" Chinese food.

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Old 17th August 2019, 13:29   #57
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There are two sides always so let me share my experience on the customers and restaurant staff/service

Types of restaurant customers:

1) The ones who do not bother about their kids messing the place, they are hooked on to the phones or busy discussing something. There was one incident when kids were just running around and they hit a big pot that had few plants and dropped it on the floor. No apologies or anything, the mom came and just shouted the names of the kids and asked them to go sit quietly. The staff obviously had to clean the mess.

2) The ones who own the responsibility of feeding others on the table. I hate these kind of people, especially when they are in large group; there will be one uncle or aunty who starts bossing around and act strict in terms of who should eat what. I mean can't they do these at home ?

3) The overly sanskari ones. Especially when they are abroad. I was having a quick lunch at one of the Malls in Sydney on a Sunday - They have a nice food court and large seating area which is busy than normal.

So this indian family with two kids came in loudly (over excited lady screams "arey chachuuuu" and was loud enough that a train will stop ) and they all greet a slightly older couple who were seated earlier. Now the mom wants her kids to bow and touch the feet of the older couple. Both kids were slightly on the heavier side, reluctantly they tried to bend and touch the feet of elders. In that process the backside of one of the kid touches the table behind. On that table there was a family sitting with big glasses of coca cola and fries etc. The bending and touching action was strong enough to dislodge the glass from the table and floor is now enjoying the cola !.

No Sorry, no apologies, they just look around and noticed the attention they were receiving, they just walked away quickly to another direction - maybe embarrassed but isn't it basic decency to apologise and also offer help to clean the mess ? And can't they check surroundings before they do these sanskari offerings ?? Won't be surprised is such a scene comes in one of the movie or comedy show.

4) The confused and last minute change wale. I have noticed this multiple times during office outings and with friends. They take the menu, memorizes the menu but decides to pick on roti + Paneer butter masala combination. The order is taken and after few minutes they again call the staff and asks to change the earlier order with another item. Some restaurants oblige and some do not. Such denial from staff made few colleagues angry and they feel its okay to shout and scream, display high handedness. After all customer is the king, isnt it ? And no laws and rules to tackle rudeness/anger

5) Then the drunk wale. The most dangerous but sometimes funny too. Was attending a corporate dinner party at one of the leading 5 start hotels in Hyderabad, the staff gave enough notice that the restaurant will close at 11.30pm and requested final orders around 10.55pm. No one reacted or responded to the message but at 11.25pm they suddenly decided to order a few more. And when drunk, people just do what they do.

One of the team member had a special request - "Curd rice" Another wanted a few more pegs, was also trying to impress the onsite staff member about his influence but when the staff denied all the requests it obviously offended the team members. One tried picking up a fight with the hotel staff and retracted when he saw the well built security staff. Another picks the mobile and shot an email to the admin staff asking them not to pay the bill as the "food and service was not up to the mark" (It was a bill to company mode) and copied all the attendees requesting their support ! He also said that this particular hotel should be delisted from the choice or restaurants for corporate events. I do not think anyone cared !

Types of Hotel Staff and experience dealing with them:

1) I often wonder why you need so many staff members even in a restaurant that is having 1500 - 2000 sft dining area. Is it a norm ? I often see there are couple of supervisors/managers to take orders from customer tables assigned to them.

Then there are junior staff members who job is to just come, put the cutlery etc on the table. Another junior staff will be responsible for bringing and placing the food on the table. The supervisor guy comes running and asks the staff member to serve food - And he just starts serving. He is not bothered about who ordered what. Now the customers on the table will have to direct who needs Veg, Non-veg etc. The supervisor is nowhere to be seen leaving the clueless staff member in front of customers.

2) Visited an upmarket restaurant that's famous for their varieties of pulao and biriyani. They show the menu and highlights Chef special. I ordered it and after 10 minutes he comes back saying its not available Now i ask for another dish - he goes back to the kitchen, checks and then comes back saying No again. Shouldn't the staff member taking orders be aware of what is available in the kitchen ? Eventually i ate what they had but not the best experience to go through.

3) The other irritating breed of hotel staff are the ones who will keep coming every few minutes asking if i need another dish. Even after requesting them not to disturb and that i will order when i am ready for the next, they do not bother. These might be training issues but definitely irritating.

4) The ones who cant speak anything due to fear or low confidence. I do not know why hotels employ such staff. I often face this problem and i do not know what to do. There was a time when i felt really sad seeing a young guy dressed up but can't read or write. He is obviously afraid to speak though he understands Hindi well. He is coming from a village that's far away from Hyderabad and close to the infamous Maoist controlled area ! I ordered caramel custard and he could not figure out what i said. So i gently took the menu and pointed my finger to the line which listed the item. The poor chap kept his finger on the same line, took the menu inside the kitchen. Eventually they served the right dish but it is not the right thing to do.

Last edited by sunishsamuel : 17th August 2019 at 13:38.
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Old 17th August 2019, 14:44   #58
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Someone had commented on the food cooked the previous day being served the next day. But doesn't the food prepared a day earlier taste better if properly refrigerated? Is this a practice at restaurants?
Yes this is true for some preparations. Dal Makhni is absolutely one dish that tastes better the next day.

It is a practice to prepare enough sauces but this is more for operational reasons. Commercial refrigerators have lower temperatures than domestic ones and will preserve sauces well.

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There are two sides always so let me share my experience on the customers and restaurant staff/service
General note on staff

Restaurants have to be prepared for staff disappearing without notice, especially after salaries for the month have been paid. This could explain some buffer.

Secondly, some of the staff you see doing odd jobs could be trainees from Hotel Management institutes. In restaurant industry everyone starts at the bottom, regardless of where they are coming from. If you are starting your life in the kitchen, you will start with washing dishes then move up to peeling and chopping vegetables and so on. If you are starting at the dining area, you will be picking up used plates.

Occasionally you will have to oblige some local politico kind and hire some good for nothing relative who has been spending too much time loafing around with his friends.

Getting good staff is extremely difficult and during period of acute shortage you will take what you get, hoping he will learn along the way under supervision of seniors. It is not so much as shortage, but people not willing to work. I have come across many people with zero skills, poor attitude and unrealistic expectations who are willing to stay unemployed than move out of their comfort zone.
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Old 17th August 2019, 16:43   #59
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Can't imagine opening and running a restaurant ever! Gotta be one of the hardest jobs in the country (unless you're backed by a ton of cash I guess).!
Running a restaurant [apart from rent & recurring expense] is easy and requires as much cash as you can earn by the end of the day, means, you buy everything in the morning [raw materials] and you sell them by the end of the day. You only have to keep a tab on how much raw materials to buy that food doesn't go stale/waste.

Opening a restaurant is an expensive affair, plus picking out the decor, interiors, furniture, menu, chef is completely on another level. And then, you have to deal with staff & food inspectors and other bits.

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Old 17th August 2019, 17:59   #60
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Originally Posted by sunishsamuel View Post
Types of Hotel Staff and experience dealing with them:
I see this sometimes:
You want something and you look at your waiter / supervisor, who is standing some distance away. The moment he notices you are looking at him, he turns his head in other direction. He is aware that you want to call him but purposely he will look in another direction!
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