It seems every club owner these days wants to also open a restaurant. Why? There is the standard, "I'm getting older and my friends are too" routine, where everyone pretends that people over the age of 29 never step foot in nightclubs anymore and instead demand that their club owner friends create more grown up places for them to spend their time and money. Like how Avenue was going to be a place where you could hear people talk! If you aren't buying that one (and you shouldn't), there is also the knowledge that opening a club-esque restaurant allows the owners to make even more money from their nightclub customers who were already going out to eat before coming to the club, luring them into their venues for food and drinks before ushering them into the club for a night of bottle service. It's win/win from their point of view.
But for club owners who are desperate to jump into the restaurant game, there are a few simple rules that you have to follow to be successful. Luckily for you, Eater has them.
1. Get a Chef From TV: You have to prove you are serious about the food, and what better way to do that then to grab a chef who has appeared on Top Chef or any kind of Food Network show. Getting an actual winner is not important and probably very expensive, but just being able to slap the words "Top Chef contestant" into a PR blast will be way more buzz worthy than some chef de cuisine nobody from Daniel.
2. Familiar Concept: You want food that doesn't challenge anyone's stomach or brain, so you want to stick to the tried and true concepts that will get your customers wanting to eat there. Italian (Lavo), American (Abe and Arthur's), Contemporary Asian (Tao) are your bread and butter, or you can be like Coop and Sons of Essex and mix them all together under one roof. It's also a good idea to offer all of these staples as share plates. Share plates are very cool and will help you drive up the bill to boot!
3. Design: You need to remember that you are building a restaurant and not a nightclub. Go to Keith McNally's restaurants, pick the style you like and have your designer copy it. Or like Coop's menu, use a combo of all of the designs, making sure you are heavy on wood, subway tiles, taxidermy, and vintage lighting.
4. Headphones and Clipboards: You may be running a restaurant now, but you don't want every Tom, Dick and Harry to think they can just walk in to have a drink and a nosh whenever they feel like it. You aren't running a gosh dang Chipotle. So borrow a page from the clubs and make sure you install several people at the door with clipboards and headsets to
reject greet people before they get to the host stand.
5. Create a Vibe: Your customers aren't dining at Per Se; this is nightclub dining baby! You want to make sure to crank the music up to 11 at all times to let people know who's joint they are in. Also make sure to
pay host tons of celebrities and reality tv stars the first few weeks to let people know that you are running a hot spot. Kardashians equal success.
6. Staples: No matter what kind of concept you have chosen to go with, you need to make sure your menu offers something for everyone. So tell your TV chefs that their menu better include a take on upscale mac and cheese (truffle or lobster preferred), sushi and steak, or you will find some other TV chef who will.
7. Brunch: Only an idiot would limit their new to just dinner. You have to have brunch. And not just brunch but a brunch party, where your customers from the night before wake up early, get ready, and come and drink copious amounts of overpriced rose and dance to insanely loud house music. Just don't forget to turn the music off in time to get the place ready for dinner service.
Follow these simple rules and we can guarantee that your new restaurant will be a mega hit.
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