2009 February: Ask Chef Jeff

2009 February: Ask Chef JeffQ: I want to bring more families in to my restaurant. What can I do to make my restaurant more kid friendly?

A: I don’t know what you’re doing now, but I make up my own coloring sheets with a cartoon character of me in the different seasonal attire and hang the kids’ pictures up in an appropriate place. A coloring contest for each age category keeps them wanting to come back. A great kids menu is critical as well. So many folks don’t put enough thought into a great kids menu. Most kids have a say on where the family goes for dinner, so make them want to come to you.

I’m thinking of hiring a company to clean my windows and floors. Is it worth having someone else doing that, or should I be doing that on off days and save the money?

I’ve been both routes before. I switched from a window cleaning company to doing it myself for a short period. It’s one of those things that I just didn’t get to as often as I had planned. It’s relatively inexpensive, especially if you have them come out every other week. I pay 10 bucks every two weeks. Most of us can afford that. The floors will cost you a whole lot more than that, but if you have them stripped and re-waxed, make sure you keep them buffed to keep up that beautiful shine. Our stores look so much nicer when the floors look beautiful. Try to budget having someone do the floors. It’s a lot of work, and you’re busy enough.

Credit card processing companies call almost every day trying to “save me money”. How do I know who’s legitimate and who’s trying to rip me off?

I know it’s enough to make your head spin. About every six months, I give a real close look at a couple of companies that are known to have a good reputation. Credit card sales are not something to be taken lightly since they make up a big part of our sales. Give them your volume and make them quote rates without seeing any statements. If they’re not willing, they’re not worth the consideration. They will all claim to undercut who you have now — but they won’t necessarily keep their word.

I pay a lot for my breaded chicken breast that I use for pasta dinners and subs. Raw chicken breast is less than half the cost per pound of the breaded stuff. It seems like I should switch and bread my own. Is there a reason I shouldn’t?

Raw chicken is a money saver, but it could be hazardous if not handled properly. If staff is well informed on handling and storage of raw chicken and you have the time, then it can save an enormous amount of money. But, there’s a reason they call breaded chicken a value added product. Try breading some and see if it’s worth it. ?

Jeffrey Freehof, owner of The Garlic Clove in Evans, Georgia, is Pizza Today’s resident expert. Send your questions to: Ask Chef Jeff, c/o Pizza Today, 908 South Eighth Street, Suite 200, Louisville, Kentucky, 40203