Student Feedback ~ Winter 2020

"Great, I'll have your $8-est bottle of wine please"  ~ Jake Peralta

February 3rd
Frenchie's Canadian Comfort  menu
Food Sales $529.50,  78 Guests
Having guests seated well before the kitchen was ready to receive orders created a small amount of stress to be ready sooner than anticipated and could have reflected badly on the front of house staff for long wait times for the food. The pizza dough recipe used was different from the standard one and had some flaws when scaled up to 30 portions. This required a lot of extra help in making sure the dough was usable for service. Even though the dough needed fixing, there were still many compliments on how the pizza turned out. The dessert for the day was pancakes with ice cream and candied bacon. The plating was never demonstrated to the student responsible for dessert and created some confusion and stress. Additionally, the pancake batter recipe did not yield the amount it was intended to and made almost half as many servings as intended. Some positive critical incidences were that the restaurant day ended up overbooked. This created some stress in making sure there was enough dishes to feed everyone that showed up but was a good way to kick off the student restaurants this semester. Students had a chance to see a full restaurant and were kept busy with a full restaurant of guests. The last incidence was that the restaurant kitchen line was fully staffed. This can be rare in commercial kitchens, but it allowed each student to be responsible for a single dish from start to finish. Order turnover time was very fast as students could focus on a single item at a time and reduce wait times.

 

February 4th
Get'em To The Greek  menu
Food Sales $210.05,  29 Guests 
The first most critical instance in the running of our restaurant was the tremendous help and teamwork offered by classmates, who were willing to help with prep a day prior to our restaurant as well as coming in early the day of. Our classmates came with a positive outlook and were ready to help each other out, making sure the tasks on hand were completed in a timely manner. Having completed a large portion of our cooking tasks prior to the restaurant day allowed the day-of-service duties to run much smoother, with operations completed ahead of schedule and food ready for assembly when guest orders came in. The next critical instance for the operation of our restaurant would have been time management, and this was crucial as it impacted the restaurant in several ways. While we would have loved to serve at least 40 guests, our group had started advertising a little less than a week before our restaurant day and given the time constraints it was not likely that our advertisements reached as many people as we would have hoped nor would it have given them enough time to consider when they would book a reservation and/or if it worked with their schedule. Although our methods to advertise gave us good results, we would have benefitted more from starting this process earlier. Additionally, another factor relating to time management would have been the completion of the menu inserts to be put onto the PJ’s website under our restaurant, as the final inserts with our intended graphics had not been submitted until the time of our advertising. Having the graphic menu up at that point may have helped to catch the eye of potential guests interested in our restaurant. Ultimately it is imperative for restaurant managers to be punctual and manage time well, and although we were the first group to run the lab for our section, this only meant that we should have been even more concerned with our time constraints. Another critical instance that impacted the running of our restaurant was communication between the FOH and KM, which could have been improved to ensure that staff were fully aware of any changes in the day’s running of the restaurant (such as an absence or arriving to the restaurant later than expected), and as a result being able to plan around unexpected events. Lastly, placing staff in roles they were familiar with from the soft opening a week before our restaurant gave us more time to focus on the remaining prep tasks before guests arrived while still having enough time left to communicate with staff about their duties for the day and ensuring that any confusion or questions were addressed. Overall, the staff understood their duties well and communication was maintained throughout the running of the restaurant between the FOH and staff to ensure that everyone was comfortable in their positions.
 
February 10th
Kaleidoscope Kitchen  menu
Food Sales $418.59,  59 Guests
One of the biggest factors for the success of our restaurant was our classmates coming in on Monday to help prepare food. We also had a lot of help early in the morning on Tuesday. This helped alleviate a lot of our stress and lightened the load for Tuesday morning. Having organized lists for prep on the blackboard allowed the KM to stay on track with what had been prepped, and allowed for her to be able to get other prep done without having to constantly tell others what their task was. When people arrived, she showed them to the board and suggested what they get started on, and had them initial beside the task. We asked everybody in the lab which job they would like, and made our choices for job rotations accordingly, which we think was strongly appreciated by our staff. Our choices for the job rotations were very meticulous and thought out, according to each person’s individual strengths. We felt that nobody was distracted by other classmates, and was motivated to do the job they were assigned.The communication between the FOH, KM and expo was excellent. The kitchen always made the front of the house aware of the stock for certain foods. The expo (Amelie) did a good job of telling the FOH manager or the TAs directly. As well, the front of house let the kitchen know when we had walk-in tables. This let us all be prepared for the amount of customers we had at a certain time. We had a few errors in our PO sheet. We did not order enough russet potatoes for the pulled pork, and were very lucky that we had extra potatoes, otherwise we may have had a larger problem on our plate. We also forgot to order pickles for our pulled pork sandwich. We misjudged the amount of carrots, lime juice and thyme that was needed. Overall, this was a good learning experience, and will ensure we are more organized for the next time we are in a similar situation. The KM could have explained how to properly dredge the cauliflower better, which would have resulted in a more even coating. Also, our feedback said that there wasn't enough sauce on the tacos. HThe FOH could have communicated this issue with the kitchen as soon as it was discovered, to ensure that the remainder of the customers were as happy with their meals as possible.
 
February 11th
Love at First Bite  menu
Food Sales $412.79,  48 Guests
We made a thorough “To-Do List” for the day before and the day of our restaurant. This made it easy to delegate work to those who came early to help us. We had a binder with all the recipes printed out and labelled in accordance with what needed to be made the day before vs. the day of.  On the day of our restaurant, it was helpful to write out all the tasks that needed to be done on the large chalkboard in the kitchen so everyone could see what needed to be done and who was assigned certain tasks. Obviously, we wouldn’t have been able to get everything prepared without the help of our classmates. About 4 people came the day before and early the day of! We suggest making a group chat on Facebook to help coordinate who is coming in early. It helps to be able to see everyone’s responses. It was also very helpful that we chose specialty items that were easy to execute. All our items were simple, easy to prep for the day before and still tasted great! We highly recommend sticking to something you are comfortable with, as it helps with your stress on the day of your restaurant.  Another positive from our restaurant was the way in which we marketed our event. We used multiple forms of social media (both our personal accounts and Pj’s account) and marketed to people specific to our programs and the Northside of campus. We made sure all our advertising was clear, contained constant features, and was appealing.  It resulted in us selling out! Some problems that arose during our event were issues with staffing. Our class is small in size to begin with, but we were also missing people the day of. As a result, we had no expo and multiple people assisting with serving. This caused some confusion with orders going to tables as well as confusion between what serve had already taken orders for certain tables. This also related to an increased need for better communication with the front of house staff. Additionally, we could have provided better training to the front of house staff. In the future, it may be a good idea to practice the POS system in-depth before your restaurant to ensure you know how to teach your staff how to use the POS. We had issues with people inputting orders but not sending them through the POS system to the kitchen. All in all, we were proud of the restaurant we ran! Organization and teamwork were key to helping our day run smoothly!

 

February 25th
The Breakfast Club  menu
Food Sales $499.56,  67 Guests 
Our first critical incident was the prep work that was completed on Monday and Tuesday morning prior to our restaurant. We had several classmates come in both days to help us with our prep and finish it in a timely manner, which greatly helped in the success of our restaurant. We had lots of time to prepare food and get ready for the opening of our restaurant without rushing, and we were set up for success from the beginning. Having lots of time to prepare limited the chances of mistakes being made, and having such a strong start set the tone for a successful, organized day. The second critical incident was the organization and planning involved for the days leading up to and including our restaurant day, beginning with the chalkboard To Do list. We came in on Tuesday morning and wrote out a list of everything that needed to be completed for each menu item so that as our classmates came in, they knew exactly what needed to be done. This made for smooth execution of the final things to get ready for our restaurant. In addition to this, our job packs that were sent out to the BOH and FOH a few days prior to our restaurant were easy to understand and thorough. We believe this helped everyone to feel ready, and our organization before the restaurant started lead to success during service. A third critical incident was the execution of our pancakes. We could have trained the line cook more thoroughly through technique and timing, as well checking in more often to make sure they were doing okay. When the line cook felt rushed or stressed out, we should have emphasized quality over speed, as a few extra minutes wait would not have made much of a difference, and we could have adjusted the timing of making other items for the orders. Our fourth critical incident for the restaurant is the turkey sausages ordered as an accompaniment to our pancakes dish. This was the first time ordering them as they were not on the PO, and many customers commented that they tasted like hot dogs. We didn’t know what this product would look or taste like, but we would not order this item again. Our final critical incident was bringing an order to the wrong table because the server number was called out instead of the table number. That table had ordered those items anyway, and we were able to resolve the problem easily. Following this, we were extra careful to effectively communicate table numbers to servers. Overall, The Breakfast Club ran very smoothly with only a couple minor issues. What ensured the success of our restaurant was excellent help from the staff and strong organization skills, which led to high guest experience satisfaction.

 

February 26th
The Cozy Hut  menu
Food Sales $423.75,  57 Guests 
Our restaurant day went smoothly overall but we did have a few instances that got our attention. In the kitchen, the line cooks asked a lot of questions regarding their specific tasks and were very enthusiastic about being there from the beginning. They came prepared and wanted to be as accurate as possible so as not to over or under portion the menu items. Also, we ran out of mayonnaise before finishing the sandwiches, this was unexpected and took us by surprise. This in turn called for an emergency to use Simon’s mayonnaise. That was not our intention, it is our fault for miscalculating the amount of mayonnaise that needed to be prepared. At one point, an order of 14 chicken sandwiches came through. This put the kitchen in a bit of a frenzy. However with our great teamwork and good communication, we were able to easily make 14 sandwiches in a timely manner. Another eventful instance was when a guest ordered an entree and a dessert, and he got both of his food served at the same time, he complained that he was watching the ice cream melt while enjoying his entree. I checked with the server and found out that it was a problem of miscommunication. The server thought the guest ordered both items together because he wanted them to be delivered at the same time. Therefore, we should have asked the guest for clarification when taking his order to see whether he wants both items to be delivered at the same time or separately. Lastly, two of the wait staff did not have the experience of serving customers and were able to perform really well and stayed calm during the busiest time of the restaurant. One of them was assigned to serve a table of eleven and a table of seven almost at the same time, but she was able to work under stress and delivered excellent service and made sure that every guest was enjoying their meal.
 
March 3rd
Northern Canadina Timberlands  menu
Food Sales $391.61,  48 Guests 
The first and most important critical instance was that we did not have as many reservations as we had hoped. Due to only have 47 reservations, we decided to remove one of our signature entrees, the Terry Fox Coconut Salmon, from the menu. Therefore, there was less variety on our menu and some guests were disappointed because they were looking forward to the salmon dish. However, removing this item had some positive ramifications because we had more time to focus on the Gretzky Cauliflower Wings and make them great. We ended up receiving a lot of positive feedback on the wings. Another critical instance was that the wings ended up being a much larger portion size than we originally thought. This made the purchasing cost of the wings higher than it could have been, but it also led to higher guest satisfaction due to the dish being an incredible value. The next critical instance was that the Justin Beavertails were not prepared properly. The dough for the beavertails was left out at room temperature after proofing, which led to the dough continuing to rise more than it was supposed to. This caused the textured of the beavertails to be different than expected. Another issue with the beavertails was that the ice cream was not pulled out soon enough before service, making it more difficult to scoop out of the container. We also had to quickly change our cooking method of the beavertails. We originally wanted to pan-fry them, but it was discovered that deep-frying them would be most effective. Therefore, the line cook had to be re-trained and quickly adjust to this new cooking method. This led to our third critical instance, which was that there were multiple different items being cooked in the deep fryer (the wings, fries, and beavertails). Therefore, there was a lot of “traffic” around the deep fryer and some items took slightly longer to cook than expected. Another critical instance was that many people were in roles that they had never been in before. For example, most of the servers had not been servers before, as they were usually in the back of house. A lot more training was needed in these circumstances, but all the students ended up picking up their roles very quickly. The final critical instance was the incredible amount of help we received from the students both the day before and the morning of service. We had many students reach out and offer a hand in the preparation for our restaurant. This led to the kitchen being prepared on time for service and the restaurant running very smoothly overall.
 
March 4th
Farm to Fork  menu
Food Sales $345.83,  43 Guests 
The first critical event that contributed to the success of our Farm to Fork Restaurant was the assistance that we got from our classmates in doing food prep on Tuesday and early on Wednesday. Specifically, we had at least 3 people come in on Tuesday to help us prepare our food, which allowed us to accomplish a lot more than we would have been able to by ourselves. The same people again came in on Wednesday morning at 8:30 am, resulting in many recipes being prepared in a short period of time. This allowed the KM to have extra time to ensure that the line was completely ready for the line check which occurred around 11:00 am. The second critical event that is worth mentioning is that all of our staff members were very willing to help with whatever was needed throughout the entire running of the restaurant. Regardless of whether or not the staff member knew how to do a task, they were keen to try to complete whatever was asked of them. The staff worked as a cohesive unit that was invaluable when the restaurant got busy. We had prepared a schedule and placed all of the recipes in a binder before our restaurant so we knew exactly what needed to be done by what time and what order to delegate tasks in. We were very familiar with the tasks that needed to be completed by both the front and back of house so we were able to stay on track and finish everything on time. Fourth, excellent communication between the front and back of house helped to promote the success of our restaurant. This constant communication ensured that the front of house knew which items were sold out so that they did not offer these items to guests. It also allowed the back of house to be prepared when a large number of pizzas were ordered at one time. This was extremely important as our fifth critical event was the fact that our pizzas were time consuming to prepare once ordered. Specifically, once topped, they had to be baked in the oven, which had a maximum capacity of four pizzas. Being aware of this led us to prepare pre-topped pizzas that could quickly be put in the oven once ordered. Preparing the pizzas for the oven in advance ensured that our guests continued to receive the signature entrée within an acceptable period of time. 
 
March 5th
A Tavalo (fine dining)  menu
Food Sales $1088,  Bar Sales $273.59   34 Guests 
Our fine dining event was quite a success. Our organization and attention to detail were large factors that contributed to the smooth running of our event. One tool that we used was an expo sheet. The sheet allowed for each course to be tracked as it went out to each table and when tables were cleared, which kept the event on pace and organized. Additionally, the mapping out of a time line and having that posted on the walls really helped servers and line cooks understand what was going to happen and what they should be doing throughout the event. However, there were a few areas of improvement. When setting up for the restaurant prior to the start time, there was a miscommunication about how the sorbets would be served and the appropriate plates were not prepared. This caused a bit of a scramble when it came time to serve the sorbet, but all servers and line cooks pitched in to ensure the service was not disrupted. During service, guests finished their dishes quicker than we had initially anticipated which meant that people were left with dirty plates in front of them for a while when we were serving the rest of the room. Having more servers staff would have made service quicker and therefore increased the speed of service. Finally, as coffee & tea were being served, tables were also asking for their bill at the same time. This created a bit of a hectic situation towards the end of the night, but the servers handled it very well.
 
 
March 10th
Grandma's Cozy Kitchen  menu
Food Sales $514.89,  70 Guests
Our first critical incident that led to a very smoothly run day was the nature of our signature menu items (i.e. turkey pot pie and vegetarian lasagna). Although the items were prep-intensive, we were able to get enough help from our classmates to have everything we needed done on Monday (our prep day).  This allowed us to breathe a little easier during our actual restaurant and allowed the Kitchen Manager to calmly focus more on supervising and organizing others rather than stressing over completion of the signature items on the day of service. The fact that our classmates had a say in their job that day and were assigned roles they asked for meant they were able to come into the room that day feeling confident before service even started. This allowed for nervousness to be eliminated all while allowing every person to feel comfortable and actually somewhat excited for the day. There were only two negative back of house (BOH) critical incidents that came up on the day of service and we were able to handle them appropriately before they escalated. The first one involved incorrect portioning of the lasagna at the very beginning of service. One of the cooks was tasked with cutting the lasagna into 12 equal portions.  As the Kitchen Manager had to check the rest of the line, he wasn’t able to verify the number of lasagna portions before service started. The first batch of lasagna was accidentally cut into 8 pieces by the cook due largely to miscommunication. Due to the increased size, they were harder to remove from the hotel pan and for this reason the very first lasagna portion was unpresentable so couldn’t be sent out. Luckily, we were able to discover the root of the issue after only three were sent out and in the end this minor mishap still allowed for 21 total portions of lasagna to be sold. The second BOH issue was related to the table tents we had printed (which, in and of themselves were a total win and very professionally done), but this was resolved quickly. We had selected a picture for our dessert (double chocolate cookie with housemade vanilla ice cream) that we found online. This online picture was plated differently and therefore looked different from what Simon's recipe proposed.  So, we quickly accommodated our desserts upon this realization and had them be made and plated differently to resemble the picture. As the cook assigned to cookies had only just started forming them, we were able to have her quickly increase the size of the cookies so that there would be minimal impact on the guests’ expectations.
 
March 10th
Mosiac  menu
Food Sales $381.47,  47 Guests
When working with the three students who were line cooks, I found the good communication and cooperation really made for an efficient team. Each one took direction well and were all willing to help out others as well as do their assigned jobs. Also, when something went wrong, such as only having 5 servings of the chickpea stew or only having 5 portions of soba noodles the great communication between all members made problem solving very easy and fast. I was able to teach how to make the specialty dish easily because the student who was assigned to make the dish was attentive when given instruction and excited to do so. During the morning of the restaurant I realized we did not order enough cream for all the recipes. This was brought to my attention when the dessert was being made. In a real life setting not ordering the right amount of cream would mean that the dessert for that day would not be able to be made, which would cause food sales to go down and there would be no dessert option on the menu. During one of the first labs, we were allowed to test our signature recipe. Despite following the recipe closely, we had missed a key element in the recipe. The chickpeas had to be dried and then soaked. We had mistakenly used canned chickpeas instead of dry ones. This had a large impact on the consistency of the falafel and made it too runny to cook. Although we were disappointed with the way the falafel had turned out, we remained positive and were eager to try again to get it right. As soon as we were able, we came back to the lab on our own time to perfect the recipe and make sure it would turn out right. The re made falafel turned out even better than we had hoped, and now were excited to serve it during our restaurant service. I think we handled this set back very well and remained calm and positive that our recipe would eventually turn out fine. If we were not fully confident with our menu, I think this would have caused a lot more issues leading up to our restaurant operation. Prior to service starting, our team was well aware with how the turnover was going to take place. Only one table was supposed to be turned over. While service was happening, some tables decided to stay a little while longer than we had accounted for. Because of this, the hostess needed to make some changes to the floor plan. She had decided to move one party to another table. Upon doing this, the system started to change assignments on its own without the hostesses’ discretion. This mix up led to some reservations having to wait longer than expected to be seated. The hostess and front of house staff was quick to brainstorm a solution and we ended up seating the guests shortly after the problem occurred. As guests started arriving on the day of our restaurant operation, we had noticed that we were not getting as many initial orders of falafel as we were expecting. Many of the other dishes were being sold out before the falafel was. Although we had advertised our restaurant as being vegetarian, it seemed like the guests were more eager to try non-vegetarian dishes. A lot of the falafel was being ordered closer to the end of service when other food items on the menu were no longer available. After considering some reasons for why this happened, some inferences can be made. One possible reason for this is that there are already 3 vegetarian entrees on the regular PJ’s menu which could have persuaded some guests to try one of those options instead. Another possible reason is that falafel is not always a popular food option to those who eat meat. If Mediterranean food were to be considered again for this purpose, it might be more popular if we had done a Mediterranean dish that is more familiar to the general public such as chicken souvlaki. Although it may have been a coincidence that more order came in during the end of service, it is also important that our dish was the most popular throughout our entire day of the restaurant operation.
 
March 10th
Memories of East Coast  menu
Food Sales $--, Bar Sales --  -- Guests 
 
March 17th
Irish Pub  menu
Food Sales $--,  -- Guests
 
March 18th
It's Your Lucky Day  menu
Food Sales $--,  -- Guests
 
March 19th
A Night by the Mediterranean  menu
Food Sales $--, Bar Sales --  -- Guests 
 
March 24th
Highlands Pub  menu
Food Sales $--,  -- Guests
 
March 26thth
Global Fine Foods  menu
Food Sales $--, Bar Sales --  -- Guests 
 
March 24th
A Taste of Summer  menu
Food Sales $--,  -- Guests