Family owned food businesses have been hit hard with Covid and inflation. They are slowly getting back to normal but slowly. I will be dedicating my efforts to meet as many family owned businesses and offer free advertising by telling their story and hopefully getting the peoples attention and hopeful that my efforts will provide more business.
If you know of a family business that might be struggling but has excellent food, let me know. Right now I'll look at business only in Maryland, so let's help small business together and continue their efforts to prosper and grow our economy.
I CAN BE REACHED AT CHEFWOOCAN@GMAIL.COM.
It's Winter and the temps are still cold. Once the warm weather comes, I'll be a travelling man.
Oh, by the way with any 1st suggestions, you'll receive one of my coffee mugs that says "Chef Woo Can, I Can Too"
Chef Woo Can
The food truck concept has been around but lately it has been a phenomenon in the United States. Entrepreneurs are tired of the high leases they must pay for a brick and mortar store. Utilities, rent can literally create a financial burden especially if your a new business owner. Is it really worth it today? Maybe 30 years ago, maybe yes, it was the only thing that a immigrant family could afford to do by starting a business, but today, rents are out of this world, gas, electric, water is going through the roof.
So, many entrepreneurs considered a food truck. A kitchen on wheels. Initial investment is small in comparison to a brick and mortar store, utilities, gas generator to power the gas grill, deep fat fryer, water heater, licenses is not as difficult than dealing with the health department although they could be strict but overall, its sorting out the right location, time slot, what type of food are you selling, who are your competitors ns the quality of your food. Are you providing good value?
Obviously the city that has all the foot traffic is preferred but more and more food trucks ae hitting the suburbs, you ask how, well, now fire departments are leasing their space and designating spots for each truck. They're advertising on Facebook when and what time they'll be there, the fire house I'm sure get a small percentage of sales and overall its a win win situation for everyone.
The cost of a food truck is a few traffic violations, disputes with brick and mortar store imposing on their territory. But more and more spaces are being leased to food trucks.
The quality of the food. I'll say my experience with them has been fantastic, fresh, and for the most part good value for the money. Of course there are some entrepreneurs that skimp a little on their products. They'll learn the hard way I guess because they're are plenty of new entrepreneurs waiting to take their spot.
Chef Woo Can
Tough time to start a food business with inflation increasing the price of food but to skimp on major ingredients and quality products to save a few bucks here and there, is it really worth it?
The customer that comes into your establishment is an indication of a possible repeat customer. They will judge by coming into your establishment and testing out the menu to see if its worth it to come back.
Employers right now are facing a dilema with hiring good help. I mean theres a pool of workers out there, more than you can imagine looking for the right opportunity. But are they really the right quality of help that you want or are you just looking or a body to fill.
Right now, employers are just looking for a body to fill by doing the following:
-Offering a above average rate per hour
-No prior working experience
-Don't understand that the customer is always right
-Have no respect for themselves nor the customer
So, the professional service is below average and they lose the potential customer from returning.
The food is substandard because since they bought inexpensive foods which means no flavor they have to add artificial flavor a tenderizers to make the meal eatable. Meaning lots of sodium and sugar the two most popular flavor enhancers. But what about the flavor of the main ingredient? like the taste of chicken or the taste of beef. The food enhancers drowned out the flavors of the beef and chicken. Tons of cheese is added to entrees more than ever, cheese represents salt and lots of sweet entrees are delicious but made with fructose & corn syrup.
So, the customer just spent between $30 and $40 bucks for a dinner that could be made at home for 1/2 the price and the service professional had an attitude, didn't care how she acted or looked and wasn't attentive to the customer and argued with them.
So, what is an Employer to do? It's their business on the line? Well, first thing, give the customer what they want. They want a steak, give them good quality ribeye with a trained cook that knows how a ribeye should be made in terms of raw medium raw, medium and so forth. If he does the job and in a 3-month probationary period succeeds, then pay him a salary he is happy with. Always have an alternative on the back burners. Where do you find them. Well, if he or she is good, rest assured they'll be overworked and ready to quit. Networking is important here.
Regarding service staff, train them. Develop a program to stress the customer satisfaction, cross selling, taste the various foods, be positive, etiquette. The training may take a long time but will be worth it. If an employee is willing to learn, improve on their service skills as OJT, then they are an employee that should reap the rewards of a higher rate, no question plus a bonus at the end of every month.
Prices, the evil that hurts most business, but the truth of the matter is if you serve good quality food, thy will pay the higher price. Good value, higher prices, they will pay. No question about it. You as the owner must negotiate everything with all vendors. You need to understand the business, the vendors, the markup, where you can trim expenses without compromising convenience and quality.
Lastly, the last thing that should be considered but is often overlooked. "Cleanliness." Employers forget this task but is a major consideration when a customer visits a establishment. If the bathroom is not cleaned, they're thinking then what's it like in the kitchen and how do they serve the food is a major consideration. The bathroom cleanliness will tell all.
So reverse psychology is that give the customer what they want. They'll pay to get good quality food prepared. Free advertising by word of mouth will increase traffic to your establishment and increase revenues.
Cutting back a little here and there, cutting a little cost by reducing the size of an order, people will know and they'll change at the switch of a dime.
Chef Woo Can
Don't You Love Cooking For The Holidays?
I get it, We've been isolated from our friends and family especially during the holidays because of this damn Covid Pandemic and Delta Variant!
However, this year we felt comfortable enough with some minor hesistency to have a family gathering like the way it should be. Grandma can see her children and grandchildren, siblings can finally get together to agree or disagree with the topic of the night, our children serving in the Armed forces and relatives travelling from a far to be close to family for a celebration feast or an extended weekend feast
Sounds great, everyone finally getting together. BUT, if your hosting the get together whether you volunteer out of the goodness of your heart or its your turn from the last meeting 2 years ago, your spirit is high and you can't wait to do the shopping, fighting crowds at the supermarket pushing your cart, fighting for a parking space and watching out for the other guy. Let's face it, during the holidays, everyone has thousands of things on their mind. We are not focused 100% on the road especially in the holiday cramped shopping center.
This year is special, you noticed that alot of items are not available, probably sitting in a warehouse with not enough truckers to deliver. Ok, what's a good substitute?
Lugging all the bags of groceries home, thinking is the turkey defrosted? You put on your apron but you gotta have some wine or beer to ease the tension, anxiety and nervousness.
You double check if the house to make sure its spotless, beds made, vaccuum, dusted,
The relatives that flew in come in early and they just want to have a long overdue conversation, you politely smile and nod your head, their kids are running into you screaming away, You start getting the appetizers ready in the oven, the dip is chilling, its key that nothing burns in the oven. You get the turkey in the oven. You tried a different way of roasting the turkey, cutting the backbone out and splitting it in half for uniformed cooking. Looks delicious, smothered the turkey with mayo to seal in the juices, then added salt pepper, thyme, sazon and paprika with the under side with scallion, ginger and fresh garlic.
Nieces and brothers arrive and volunteer to help set the table, enough ice, check, red enough red cups, check, wine chilled, beer ready, soda chilled, hard seltzer ready?
Everyone comes in, everything is in the oven, time to socialize, have to shower and dress nicely, where's my beer? Ok, my mind is running like a Stock market ticker tape, just smile and nod. Really worried that everything goes well. Turkey is cooking in 1/2 the time with this new way, yeah!.
Checked dining table, setup is perfect, enough sitting? double check, ok
Will everything be ready, fingers crossed! I looked outside, sun is setting, thank god I put the turkey in when I did.
Turkey test, meat is ready, so moist, so flavorful, need to drain the giblet for the delicious gravy.
Told everyone "DINNER IS SERVED" Everyone rushes to the table and we say grace and jumped right in.
Conversations, drinking, eating and more drinking eating and conversations. About 20 minutes and everyone is stuffed! Everyone leaves the table to relax in the living room, talking, watching TV specials and chilling.
Thank God for dishwashers, but some pots and pans need to be washed by hand, clearing the table, leftovers in zip lock bags and frozen or for carry out later.
No, the coffee and dessert! Whew!!!!!
BUT through it ALL, it was a pleasure to see everyone no matter how much effort in preparing a fantastic meal.
I finally got a few minutes to rest, a little achy but when all is said and done, I slept like a baby!!!!!! and a little snoring!!!! LOL
Chef Woo Can
I've always pride myself to make a home cook meal from scratch. American food
was a treat on the weekend way back when. On Long Island the treat on Saturday
was driving to Wetson's drive thru.
Today, fast food is now the norm during the week for lunch and dinner.
Yes, I'm a boomer and in the beginning my daughter appreciated my Asian dishes
for dinner. She didn't know any better, now she grew up and more picky. Yes, I
take responsibility for introducing McDonald fries to my little toddler and she
loved it. Yes, Taco Bell and Rita's ice cream, plus pizza both fresh and frozen,
corn dogs, hot dogs and I can go on and on. Not thinking how that might effect
her future appetite, school lunches didnt help much with nuggets, fried food and
God knows what else that is so unhealthy. The less I know I guess the better.
Then going out eating a soft pretzel or Cinnabon, fried chicken at the res stops,
Panda Express just wasn't the right direction to eat better. No matter where you
looked, we're being bombarded with food advertisement on billboard, running
across our TV/s is just a bad thing.
So am I really surprised that she wants a sub, plus since living in the burbs,
access to good food is limited.
So, what is a dad to do? Apparently not much. Trying to make smaller portions
tastier like a little more sugar flavor, always a good option but is it really healthy?
For me no way but for her everything in moderation is ok. She enjoys boney items
w dark meat, more flavor, mix it up a bit, one night Italian, then Chinese, then
Mexican but to me its a vicious cycle.
Then she makes her way to the kitchen and her famous annoying words are
blurted out "Dad Not Chinese again"! or One night I decided to make her favorite. I
prepped all items and started cooking. I was damn proud but when I presented it
to her, she said "Dad, I used to like it but no longer".
I was flabbergasted. So what is a Dad to do? That is the question that will haunt
me the rest of my life! Moving forward, I cook a small portion for myself and if
she likes it I give her a small portion.
My daughter who is going through terrible 13 will drive me to an early grave!
I'll always remember her famous words to be "Daddy, this is what you signed up for?"
By Chef Woo Can
P.S: Comment if you can relate?
Cultural Diversity & American Assimilation
Our families came to America for a better life. Many came with only what they can hold, in their hands, unable to speak the new language of English. In their own special way they found interesting ways to start speaking English.
One instance was with my grandmother on my father's side. She had aspirations of being a doctor. Her way of learning English was going to the movies. At that time "Gone With The Wind" was the top movie of the day. My grandfather told me that grandma tried her best to mimic Scarlett O' Hara lines. She understood how important it was to learn her adoptive country's English language. Unfortunately, grandmother's life was taken too soon and her dream of being a doctor vanished.
My mom & Dad were born in the states, my dad was born in Springfield, Massachussetts and mom was born in Manhattan, NY. They eventually settle on Long Island suburbia witnessing racism when purchasing their dream home in Massapequa, NY. Dad was a veteran of Korea and studied Engineering. There was a tremendous need for engineers since most of the defense contractors at the time were located on Long Island. So, started the assimilation process, being practically the only Asian kid in elementary school through high school, made friends in the neighborhood and enjoying suburbia life, going to McDonalds trying the Big Mac, Burger King's Whopper, Nathan hot dogs, pizza, hamburgers, steaks, corn on the cob, salad, birthday cake celebrations, fried chicken with KFC, you get the jist.
Hanging out with the guys playing football in the street or baseball, riding bicycles etc... etc... eating watermelon, apples peaches, cherries, going fishing at Captree State park fishing for blowfish, crabbing. and most of all watching my favorite TV shows.
T.V Dinners was a big thing with Swanson, Banquet fried chicken and Ellios pizza were #1 in my book.
Add in Chinese food that dear mom tried to make, really loved grandma's version. Because I was the oldest male, in the Chinese culture, we are truly spoiled so I would complain to grandma that dear mom didn't make a certain dish her way, she would scold dear mom and after trying on numerous attempts, she finally got it right.
Now my daughter, yes, totally 100% assimilated in Suburban Maryland, similar circumstances that daddy went through x10. As I am know a dad to my daughter, eating healthy is very important. My expertise is of course Chinese and every night of every day I make sure she eats a good meal. Doesn't matter to me the effort required to make a meal from scratch, but she's worth it. Mom, has her special diet and tries to resist the temptation.
Well, once upon a day, my daughter was less than enthusiastic when I was cooking a Chinese dish. She said, "Daddy, can't we have something other than Chinese? I was flawed!!!!.
I said what did you have in mind? "Daddy, how about Papa John's Pizza Hawaiian Pizza".
She added, can we take a break from Chinese food for awhile!
I said, sure, and made spaghetti with meatballs, frozen Gordon's fish fillet , hamburgers, hot dogs and everything American.
So as any of you can understand having a 13 year old daughter, they change in the wind, then one day she said, "Daddy, can you cook some Chinese food", I'm tired of hot dogs and pizza.
And life goes on! Your children will get the best of both worlds from a food standpoint!!!!
Chef Woo Can
Good Times Memories With Food
After being Mr. Mom which involved cleaning the house, cooking, doing you tube videos, being a chauffeur to my darling daughter, mowing the lawn, looking after the garden, weeding, doing the laundry, vacuuming, dusting and everything else that comes with the territory. These responsibilities were there while my wife is out making a living, so someone had to do it. Do I realize what she went through when I was working and she was taking care of our daughter . You betcha. Needless to say I enjoyed my sleep when all is said and done.
One night I had a dream of being invited by a good friend to share dinner with him. My wife and daughter travelled to visit her mom, so my buddy offered to cook a dinner one night. Now, to setup the scenario, I'm Asian and love to cook Asian. You say what's the point. Well, the point is that how I prepare food is to slice morsels of beef or chicken or seafood into bite size pieces and then stir fry with various vegetables. Whether I use a fork or a pair of chopsticks, that has always been my way of eating going way back to when I was a kid. It was only back in the heyday that on the weekend my Dad would buy steak and barbeque it on the charcoal grill. Prices for steak back then was really cheap. Each of us and I have 4 sibling received a steak, It was that cheap!
But as prices increased, the demand in our household focused on chicken and pork products. Everything was still cut into small pieces. That's just the way it was. When I did have a steak I felt bloated and too stuffed. My desire for steak faded slowly. If I did have a steak it was a small sirloin steak.
I just felt intimidated seeing a big cut of beef presented to me is a little scary.
Well, years later and getting back to the dream, I arrive at my buddy's place. His wife and 2 boys are at the table. I have no idea what he's cooking until I get there. I do appreciate the aroma of fresh beef grilling. but never did I imagine the huge steaks he was making.
My buddy is a beef lover. He loves steak.
So, the steaks are cooking and I'm conversing with his wife and playing with the kids.
Dinner is ready. We're all sitting down and I anxiously awaiting my meal. Well! He plop a huge gigantic steak on my plate . It looked delicious but it was huge!.
How the hell was I going to eat this monster. I took my steak knife and started to cut thin slices and it was cooked perfectly, medium rare, it was delicious juicy and perfect but after a couple of sliced pieces, I was full! I looked at my buddy and he took his steak and created with his steak knife a crisscross board with chunks of beef ready to devour. He grabbed the steak cubes which was medium rare , jabbed it and ate that huge cube of beef.
I was stunned to watch as he took another huge cube of beef and ate it with delight!.
I started to laugh as he asked me if there was anything wrong with the steak since I barely made a dent. I said it was delicious but what I found so amazing was that he ate that whole steak in 15-20 minutes.
He laughed as he saw me struggling eating the steak but we've been friends for a very long time, we had great conversation and shared some laughs with past memories we shared together as my daughter and her son were born at the same hospital and we went for training as our wives with shoulder massage.
That dream of eating steak brought a smile and a laugh. I called him the next day and we both remember that experience. From then on when we go to his place, I always volunteer making dinner and everyone loves it!
Just wanted to share a funny story.
Chef Woo Can
Calorie Solution & Eat Mostly Anything
In my last article I demonstrated to you how we are bombarded with delicious high calorie foods and healthy parcels that probably will cost booku bucks. Not enough to sustain the right pattern. But at the end of the day, are we really happy be tempted 24/7 on TV, radio, magazines and store advertisement sales.
Those cookbook? Think about it, 1 diet cookbook for everyone? Who's really profiting? and who's getting the short end of the stick?
Everyone's body is different based on hereditary, eating habits, mental illness, psychological drama. So, if we follow these books without consulting with your physician, you could be risking damage to your body.
This is what I suggest: The Calorie Plan.
Find out for your height, and weight what your daily caloric intake is.
Then do research and gather all the foods you love for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Divide your calorie intake split amongst each meal. Choose whatever you like but emphasize high fiber veggies and fruits, drink water instead of soda and energy drinks, you can have starch but balanced , a protein, a veggie and a carb. based n calories. At the end of the day, you met all the calories for the day and you really enjoyed the food rather than depriving yourself of your favorites.
Now take a walk around the block with the dog or your friend or your children and wife.
If you cheat, than walk a little bit longer.
But to have more control and eat healthier if you want, spend the time learning to cook. It might be more expensive but believe me it will be healthier and portion control will help you save money.
Let me know how it goes.
Chef Woo Can at www.chefwoocan.com
How Do I Lose Weight & Maintain?
Well, the odds of that happening is very difficult. Why? Let's see what's happening?
Food manufacturers look at us as consumers with disposable income. Their mission is to find ways to maximize profits while retaining existing customers and bringing new customers into the fold. So what ae their resources to achieve their goal? First off advertising on television with fancy pictures that are artistically shown to make the product look mouth watering. Our sense of sight on these perfectly picture items is very enticing. We're pounded every day with new products until we basically mimic the commercial.
Fast food and fast food family establishment does the same every minute of everyday. Hundred of thousand of dollars are paid to advertising firms to see a companies product using adjectives, verbs, lingo and run every day of every minute of everyday.
Companies have advertised every facet of our life style and uses it to their benefit on how to make life easier for us all by providing fast service, fast food at a reasonable price.
The concerns of companies is to maximize their profits . How do they do this? By buying the cheapest grade of meats. Cheapest grades means no flavor. No flavor no body will buy, so for beef what needs to be done. I remember a time when good beef had their own flavor. Now, we need to marinate our meats. Mind you marinades consist of salt and/or sugar. Both are harmful to our bodies through high blood pressure and diabetes.
We've never been told that our diets must change as we get older. But emphasis is more on devices to monitor our ailments that preventive measures that ultimately can be used to ween ourselves off these medications.
So, what happens, the Millennial Generation puts their foot down demanding food manufacturers to cut out sugars and/or salt. No hormones has been discontinued. Great strives are being made at the request of Millennials generation. My hat goes off to the Millennials.
But the food service business finds loopholes like let's emphasize sugary drinks and offer them at a cheap price. Change advertising geared toward thirst quenching drinks, so we may eat a little healthier, we miss the mark with drinks that are so sugary.
Fried food is the essence of fast food eating. The crunch factor is very important. Crunchy with salty and sweet is the perfect flavor combination But with the onset of the air fryer you would think eating healthy fried goods is great, but its the flavoring agents in the batter that turns a green light to buy more.
So, can we lose weight? Yes we can by simply "Will Power" We never hear anything about "Will Power" and its quite difficult to achieve. Stress, Anxiety, Depression, impact and stand in the way of weight gain.
Companies are reducing staff meaning more work, administrative delays in hiring leave vacancies at its highest creating more stress working with less. Relationships, unhappiness all compound the problems we face each day. So, we turn to comfort food, ice cream, high fat foods, and constantly being bombarded every minute of everyday. We just want to relax watching the tube. But is it really wise. Personally, I though Cable TV was to be shown without commercials, but that's not happening.
No matter what diet book we purchase and you need to know that some of these diet books haven't been tested whether they are safe or not. And just think, 1 diet book applied to all? What about family history, preexisting cases, high blood pressure, diabetics, sometimes some diet books don't consider individual with these conditions. The stress that's put on your body takes a toll?
So be careful. Certain diets address certain issues and sometimes they achieve the goals on that diet but may cause other problems like deficiencies in other areas.
The diet books objective is to lose weight, maybe not so much to maintain that weight. So, you lose that weight and you now say, I'll have a treat and that treat leads to another favorite food and promising yourself that you'll get on the wagon back to diet and after awhile it never happens. The stress that your body is going through is tremendous.
So, what can we do? You have to convince yourself that weight gain causes other problems. Once you realize that that's great. Delicious food can be eaten in moderation but portion size is important. Fruits and vegetables must be part of your meal. Consider your age, younger there may be more mobility and exercise. Mental awareness may contribute to weight gain, were there events that is hard to handle or unresolved.
Do you know your body, high metabolism or low metabolism, life style change needed.
Diets are made to offer appetizing delicious meals but can you constantly sustain this diet or do you miss your comfort food?
The mail order meals are great but how long can you sustain eating healthy versus learning to do it yourself. Can I start cooking at home, controlling everything you eat. Control of salt, sugar, substitute items. Yes, its alot of work but after awhile you need to convince yourself your doing it for your well being and your family.
Adjustment is always a problem. Complaining is expected but like everything else, they'll appreciate healthy eating.
Let me know what you think?
Ok, as everyone knows food prices are going up. More people are unemployed, food banks are overloaded, Federal help has expired, so the question is what have our supermarkets done to lower cost and ultimately lowers prices for us? OK, they are offering on line shopping and curbside pickup, great and Instacart and Shipt are great shoppers for us but everything comes as a cost.
I was ready an article about Aldi and what they have done to lower prices even before this pandemic hit the USA. I personally love shopping at Aldi. Yes, they may not have lots of selections to choose from and may only carry some name brand items but if you think about it, this approach reduces inventory and ties up less money, more cashflow for them to invest in other areas. As you may have noticed, getting help from employees is rare and this is done purposely to reduce expense. Displays are designed with the box that the product was packed in my seem shotty but reduces expenses and time. Oh yes, the quarter to get a cart, believe it or not that idea saves money too.
And the most interesting part of Aldi is they rotate their inventory, there's always something interesting to choose from.
Portions are reasonable, less to freeze and more to eat fresh. Bulk packaging is great for large families but you'll pay a premium, however if its for you and a family of 4, there are portions designed for you.
I've alays been a brand name guy and God knows I pay extra, so I decided to buy oat meal. I was so used to Quaker Oats but bought another unknown name oatmeal and I can say it was so much better than Quaker Oats and cheaper too!
So, the Covid-19 Pandemic has affected the food chain. More migrant workers infected affect the quickness of harvesting and ultimately increase the cost and maybe a reduction of volume due to lack of help which increase prices, then not all distribution sites will be able to carry some produce and fruits due to low supply which raises prices, then our local supermarket needs to increase prices to take care of their expenses, payroll, utlities and benefits, so the bottom line is expensive groceries.
We're in this together but less and less are we seeing everyone pitching in.
You might not think about being laid off but more and more are getting laid off and not really prepared to see what desperation is really like.
So, overall, Aldi Supermarket is my favorite and I save lots of money. Chef Woo Can You Can Too!
By Chef Woo Can at www.chefwoocan.com
#Aldiisgreat, #cutexpenseslowerprices, #savemoneyshoppingataldi