Q & A with Chef J Stephen… What are the most common problems at restaurants?

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What are the most common problems at restaurants?

Q&AEmployee scheduling and food cost management are the biggest challenges for a restaurant.

Making sure you’re fully staffed for your projected traffic each shift is always an ongoing nightmare.

Food prices vary with every delivery. Since it is unrealistic to vary your dish prices on a daily basis, assuring your food costs are in line with your targeted profit margins is always a challenge.

One Drop of Water

1-drop of waterMED.jpgDid you know that one drop of water holds all the freshwater in the world?

As Florencia Ramirez’s book Eat Less Water states, “If we poured all the water on our planet, both salt and fresh water, into a gallon bucket, the proportion of water available to shower, water lawns, drink and grow food, is one single drop.

We live on a water planet. The earth is two thirds water, 97.5 percent of that is saltwater. Only 2.5 percent fresh water, 69.5 percent of that is frozen. Another 30.1 percent hides in deep aquifers. The remaining 0.4 percent – a drop in a bucket – sustains all life on this planet.”

So what can we do to save water? Sure, we can drink less water. But that’s not only impractical but also unhealthy. We can use less water by wiping the car down when it rains, instead of running to the car wash. We could install drip water systems for our landscaping, take fewer and shorter showers, which would help a bit … or…. we could eat less water. Yes I said “eat” not “drink”.

The majority of water used by humans (seven out of ten gallons) is used to produce the food we eat and there are both efficient and inefficient methods to produce that food.

When humans migrated from hunting to farming, early farmers grew their crops naturally, in effect, their crops matched the local climate. Because they grew more efficiently, heavy water reliant plants naturally grew in wet climates and drought resistant plants grew in drier climates. But as the world population grew, methods were developed to enable farmers to expand their crops into areas less acclimated to one particular crop. And that’s when we became inefficient users of our planets limited supplies of water. Water hungry almond groves in the deserts of southern California, herds of thirsty cattle in the midwest are all signs of the ever-expanding “growing zone”.

All the ingredients we use at Crumbzz are produced organically. Most people would think that’s because we know chemical free food is healthier and that’s true. But, did you know that growing food organically, without chemicals, also saves more fresh water than any other water-saving strategy.

In addition, although some plants require more water to grow than others, that doesn’t mean they are inefficient water abusers. It’s not only about how much water is used but where it comes from. Water from rain is efficient, water from aquifers is limited and  inefficient. So, watering the same head of lettuce naturally from rain is far more efficient than from the local aquifer. If you look at the amount of water used to make a chocolate bar (449 gallons) you would feel pretty guilty every time you took one bite of that sweet treat. But, if you realized that most of the water used to grow cacao comes from rain, you would feel a whole lot better. Conversely, that steak you so enjoyed at your favorite restaurant last Saturday cost you 1,851 gallons of water and most of that water came from aquifers. Ah, but it goes deeper.

We use lots of eggs for our cakes and bistro offerings. At your typical grocery store, one dozen chicken house grown eggs uses 276 gallons of water to produce. That’s 25 gallons per egg! How is that possible? Believe me, it’s not because chickens are thirsty critters. It comes down to all that grain they eat and the water needed to grow that grain. Now, if you buy free range eggs, produced by chickens that eat in fields grown with rain and moisture trapped in the soil, like we do, you just cut your water usage by 97%, and that’s just on one food item!

So how can you become a good Shepard of your planet? Understand that organic, naturally grown foods are not only better for you but also better for your planet. But not all organic is watered efficiently. So make sure you buy your food from local growers. Confirm that your produce is rain watered or at worst, drip watered. Make sure your chickens, eggs and meat are produced free range.

Do this and you can wash that car without the guilt we just smacked down on you!

J Stephen Sadler


Q & A with Chef J Stephen… If monopolies are price makers, why don’t they charge an infinite price?



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If the price (profit) of an item gets too high, a flood of (usually more innovative and fast moving) competitors will rush into the market.

The goal of a monopoly is to keep their prices just below that benchmark.

A great example of this is the current vanilla market. Controlled by a few monopolies in Madagascar, Tahiti and México, because of cyclones and terrorisim in Madagascar, prices have risen from $26 per gallon in 2015 to $426 per gallon (US) in 2017.

Because of this rapid rise in price, hundreds of more innovative companies are rushing into the market to cash in on the bonanza. This will eventually flood the market with product and bring prices back to a more normal equilibrium.

In short, unless there are extensive gateing factors preventing entry into the market (e.g. excessive capital requirements, extreme technical challenges, etc.) short term excessive profits always results in increased competition