Owning a Restaurant in Beijing

I don’t actually have time to blog, neither does Maria, but I figured I should try to say something about what’s been going on, and I’ll leave it to her to tell about all that’s going on with her later, if she feels like it.

So I now own a restaurant! I am the general manager, and soon to be proper 25% owner. Or at least, all of this is pending actual finalization but for all intents and purposes I’m already doing the work and have been for no pay for some time. I’d like to think that I’m properly incentivized (huh…Firefox doesn’t think that’s a real word?) and so all my efforts, plus so much more effort in the future, will be worth it.

No matter what though, it is all terribly exciting. Imagining the renovations, because we’re changing the layout and the kitchen, imagining the new menu. Basically, this restaurant was already my father’s, but it’s not been doing too well per se, and my cousin, the previous general manager, wanted to change it to a YuNan Hot Pot franchise.

Hot pot for those of you not in the know is like Japanese shabu-shabu. In its simplest form: there’s a big pot of boiling water that you put vegetables and meats into to cook then eat. It’s really popular in China, among the Chinese, and especially in winter when it’s cold out. I’m not that into it myself though.

The restaurant was also supposed to be a Western restaurant, and the other shareholders didn’t want to move away from that idea. The new shareholders, plus myself, wanted to focus our direction. Right now, it’s like we’re a European restaurant, serving really fancy looking and sounding things like ox tongue salad and cylindrical potato salad with curry powder. All good in and of itself, I think since I’ve never had the desire to actually try it, but nothing out of the ordinary and just not good enough to draw the real fancy European crowd.

So we’re shifting focus. We want the tourists. We want the expats (the poor ones ;) ). We want the foreigners who are missing a good, old fashioned, American breakfast, pancakes and waffles and all, because you can’t get those in China! So all day breakfast, really good burgers and pizza, and apple pie! And beer, lots of beer, in bottles and on tap, and a soda fountain, and liquor…All the things that make diners in the States so good.

We’re working on the new layout right now, because we’re getting booths and opening up the new dining room in the back.

We’re working on the kitchen because they need more griddle space for the burgers and breakfast foods.

We’re finalizing the new menu (mostly me…) so we’re coming up with food we want to serve and how to cook it. Lucky me gets to cook all these things for the first time next week to a panel of tasters as well. This also means we’re setting up new suppliers.

We’re also getting new waitstaff and new cooks. It’s like starting complete anew, a clean slate. We’re writing hygiene regulations, I’m writing up employee operational procedures, I’ll need to write up the new recipes, I’m writing up employee incentives and review policies, we’re coming up with a whole new marketing strategy. It’s a big project, but I have high hopes.

My hopes and estimates, assuming we’re a raving success, which of course we will be, will have us making 3 million RMB a year, minus 50% to costs, split 4 ways.

I’m excited, scared, stressed, pressured. I’m anticipating having to work 100 hour weeks to get this thing off the ground, because we’re starting with a very skeleton crew, only 2 waitstaff and 2 cooks, plus me. But it will be worth it, I keep telling myself. No matter what it’ll be an experience.

Here’s the menu, as finalized as of two days ago :)

Breakfast

Breakfasts include one cup of coffee or choice of one juice
Toast comes with: Butter and a selection of Jam
Cheese varieties include choice of American, Swiss, Cheddar, or Mozzarella
Toppings for Pancakes, Waffles, and French Toast: Syrup, Fresh Fruit of the Day (e.g. Strawberries, Blueberries, Bananas), Chocolate Chips, Whipped Cream

Simple 1 � Two Eggs and Toast
Simple 2 � French Toast or Pancakes or Waffle
Chef’s Choice � Two Eggs, Two Pancakes, Two Strips of Bacon and a Sausage Patty
French Toast Combo � French Toast with Two Eggs and Your Choice of Ham, Bacon or Sausage
Three Egg Omelet � Choose any three of Cheese, Bacon, Ham, Mushroom, Spinach, Broccoli, Chile or Bell Peppers, Olives
Juices, Tea (refillable), Milk and Coffee (refillable) � Apple, Orange, Grapefruit, Pineapple, Tomato
Cereal and Milk

Create Your Own
Mix and Match Any Three � Bacon, Ham, Link Sausage, Sausage Patty, Eggs, Cereal, Grits, Fruit, Home Fries, toast, hash browns

Beverages

Beer On Top: Heineken, Yanjing, Tsingtao, Guiness
Juices, Tea and Coffee:
Apple, Orange, Grapefruit, Pineapple, Tomato
American Style Coffee; Espresso
Lipton, Oolong, Lapsang Suchong, Earl Grey
Full Bar

Burgers

All burgers come with French Fries
Double the patty for 10 RMB
Veggie or Mutton patty available for free

Chiliburger: Cheddar Cheese, Beef Or Vegetarian Chili
Classic Cheeseburger: American Cheese, Pickles, Onions, Lettuce, Tomato, Ketchup, Mustard, Mayonnaise
Hawaiian Burger: Mozzarella Cheese, Pineapple, Lettuce, Teriyaki Sauce
Italian Burger: Mozzarella Cheese, Marinara Sauce, Basil, served on Garlic Toast
Mexican Burger: Cheddar Cheese, House Special Hot Sauce, Lettuce, Cilantro, Sour Cream, Pico De Gallo, Chili Peppers

Create Your Own
Bun: Sesame seed hamburger bun
Patties: All-beef, veggie, mutton
Cheese: American, cheddar, Mozzarella
Sauces: Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, 1000 Island, ranch, House Special hot sauce, salsa, marinara sauce, beef/vegetarian chili, sour cream, Pico de Gallo, teriyaki
Toppings: Lettuce, tomato, onions, cilantro, pickles, sweet relish, grilled onions, grilled bell peppers, saut�ed mushrooms, chili peppers, pineapple, bacon, fried egg

Pizza

All pizzas come with tomato sauce base and mozzarella cheese, unless otherwise noted or created by yourself

Supreme � Onions, Bell Peppers, Black Olives, Sliced Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Pepperoni, Sausage
All Meat � Pepperoni, Sausage, Bacon, Ham
Vegetarian � Onions, Bell Peppers, Black Olives, Sliced Tomatoes, Mushrooms
Hawaiian � Teriyaki Sauce, Ham, Pineapple
Mexican: Cheddar Cheese, Chicken, House Special Hot Sauce and Salsa, Pico de Gallo, Cilantro, Chili Peppers
Margherita: Olive Oil, Fresh Basil, Sliced Tomatoes

Create Your Own:
Cheese: Mozzarella, Cheddar, Parmesan, Swiss, Stilton
Sauce: Tomato, Teriyaki, House Special Hot sauce, Alfredo, Olive Oil
Vegetables: Onions, Bell Peppers, Black Olives, Sliced Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Pineapple, Spinach, Chili Peppers, House Special Salsa, Pico de Gallo, Italian Seasoning
Meat: Pepperoni, Sausage, Bacon, Ham

Sides
Mozzarella Sticks: Marinara sauce dip
French Fries
Side Salad
Cup of Chili: Beef or Vegetarian
Chips and Salsa: House Special and Pico de Gallo
Spaghetti: Bolognese or Vegetarian Marinara Sauce
Soup of the Day, served with French bread

Breakfast Sides
2 eggs, any style
2 strips of bacon
2 sausage links or patties
2 pancakes
1 waffle
1 order of French toast
Hash browns
Home Fries
Toast
Yogurt

Sweet Things
Apple Pie
Date Squares / Apple Bars
Ice Cream
Fruit Platter

And for the sake of creating the necessary tags, the other businesses we’re involved in are:

FTC Art/Gen-Next
PDL
FTC

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