B.C. Beer Blog

The who, what, where, when, why, and how of B.C. craft beer

Posts Tagged ‘restaurant

SYWTOABP: Writing a Business Plan

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This may not be the final post in the series, but writing a business plan is one of the key steps necessary to opening a brew pub or starting most any business.  You need the business plan to apply for financing or perhaps to secure a lease or even a key permit or license.  Writing a business plan is work.  A great amount of time can be spent refining a business plan and more business plans get written than get financed.

Writing an entire business plan was never a goal of this blog series, but providing some of the numbers, resources, and information that goes into a business plan was among the goals.  I found a pub business plan posted online that was made available for free, specifically to help others open a bar.  Brewing beer was not part of this business plan.  It is dated but with the exception of including brewing as part of the operations and brewmaster among the key staff it has all the major sections you can expect to see in the average business plan.

It is still available on the forum I found it, but I also put a copy on WordPress.com to ensure that it remains available as long as this blog is online. The numbers are mostly all there, but need to be revised and adapted for the new decade and British Columbia.  Part of that work was done by me in my big spreadsheet post.  I thought we should look at the major sections of an actual business plan and the information they should contain. Potential investors and funders will want answers and if you don’t even know the questions, you will look foolish in a key meeting that may determine the future of your dream.

You can’t anticipate every question, but the most important questions such as the experience of the team, the depth of the market and industry research, the veracity of the sales forecasts, the details of the startup costs, these can be researched and written up prior to any important meetings.
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SYWTOABP 6: How much does a commercial kitchen cost?

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6 Burner, Twin Oven, with grill commercial ovenAnother dry but necessary set of costs to estimate when planning to open a bar, is the equipment and construction necessary to install an efficient commercial kitchen.  Hopefully, I can both make this more interesting and less anal than my list of equipment I developed and priced for our fictitious brew pub. Now that I’m approximately half way through the process, I sort of wished I had selected a location, and made explicit the square footage and liquor license size.

I’m not a greedy man.  I think a liquor license for over 100 people but under 200 is large.  If I had a license like that and could just plop down a pub wherever I like, I would.  Alas, this series isn’t about what I want. It is being written for the benefit of the community of craft beer lovers in BC to, hopefully, take some of the guess work, and even the leg work, out of opening a pub, or in this case, a brew pub.

Many restaurants open and close every year in BC, so finding a location with some of this equipment installed or finding some of this equipment used isn’t hard.  Once again determining whether something is used but in extremely serviceable shape or whether something is going to need replacing very soon is a skill and a risk you take when purchasing used equipment.  It is my intention to price out new equipment.  But as I alluded to earlier I’m not sure what type of equipment this brew pub kitchen needs.  I’ve worked on quick service and cafe business plans several times.  I mentioned the W2 Cafe which should be opening next Friday, as an example of a real venue that I provided advice and expertise to.  Our proposed brew pub will need a much larger and full featured kitchen than was included in the W2 business plan, but does it have to have a deep fryer?  Are we specializing in Greek food?

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Written by Muskie

July 23, 2011 at 1:52 am

Beer That’s Balilicious

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Balilicious logoI’ll be hosting an exploration of pairing ales with Indonesian food on July 14 in the intimate setting of Balilicious. Most Asian restaurants only offer a selection of mass-market lager and Guinness. This delicious dinner will demonstrate the excellent options other beer styles offer, which are always available at Balilicious:


  • Gado Gado Salad & Special House Peanut Sauce
  • Perkedel Jagung (corn fritters)
  • Martabak Asin (Indonesian beef pancake)

Balilicious Modern Indonesian restaurant interiorMain (choose when reserving this dinner)

  • Kari Ayam (red curry chicken) or
  • Sayur Kari (red curry veggies) or
  • Rendang Sapi (dry curry beef brisket) or
  • Ikan Bali (fried fish filet in tamarind chilli garlic sauce)

Trio Dessert

  • Bubur Injin (black rice pudding)
  • Pisang Goreng (deep-fried banana)
  • Chocolate-and-Avocado Parfait

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Brewing Up a Biz: Real Estate

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Ahhh, the increasingly oft ignored blog.  Well, this time, I have good reason, not that the winter sniffles & blahs were illegitimate, but this elixir is a bit more potent.  No longer must I speculate as to the “why’s” behind so many leaving corporate careers to seek endeavours of their own. Was it not having to answer to a boss, the freedom to make one’s own decisions, or, perhaps, potential for riches? Nope. I have discovered the true motivating factor which drives all start-up entrepreneurs:  sheer and unending terror.

You see, I (and by “I”, I certainly mean my girlfriend and I) have purchased a restaurant business; signed on the dotted line; fait accompli. Our realtor, and even a local merchant, had warned me long ago about the concept of “buyer’s remorse.”  So I had braced myself, but I was ill-prepared for the reality that goes along with such a commitment.  Questions and concerns which routinely pop into my head (usually at 3:00 or 4:00am) include, but are not limited to:

“What the hell am I doing?”

“What if no one comes?!”

“I’ll never make payroll!”

“I’m leaving a secure 18-year career and a regular pay cheque!  Have I gone insane?”

A little comfort, however: that same local merchant, a well-established music shop owner, assures me that this process is not only normal but critical. It keeps the fires going, so to speak. And, frankly, I’ve never been so motivated about anything in my life.

It’s been a couple of weeks since we bought the business, and we still have a number of weeks before opening (July), so I’m starting to accept this new reality.  I now have to wipe less sweat from my brow as I place $2,000 orders of beer and $4,000 orders of fish.

At the same time, my previously-mentioned girlfriend and I have started sneaking out to the movies or to a hockey game more often, as we both know that 1) we both need the stress relief and 2) the door will soon be slammed shut on “free time.” Sounds terrible, right?  Well, look at it this way: this restaurant will eventually become our brew pub.

As we go through the early stages of the learning curve that is the restaurant business world, we’re keeping our eyes on the prize.

~ Rod Daigle, Triple Island Brewing Company

Written by BCbrews

June 12, 2009 at 11:39 am

… & Cheese; … & Dine; Food & …

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If you were inclined to fill in the blanks with “wine,” don’t feel bad. These are clichés that will take some time to be struck from our vocabulary. The more people discover beer’s affinity with food, the less people will subconsciously utter the phrases. This has already happened with tea and especially coffee. How many cafés can you walk into and order “a coffee” without getting any further questions from the staff to determine what exactly it is that you want. Similarly, there are fewer and fewer places where you can order “a beer” and expect to leave it at that.

On May 20th, Two Chefs and a Table are contributing to the evolution of our culinary lexicon by hosting a six-course dinner with both beer and wine pairings for each dish. Diners can choose for each course whether they want beer, wine, or both. Paul Watkin of the Seacove Group worked with executive chefs Karl Gregg and Allan Bosomworth to build the menu for this unique event.

“We wanted to keep the spirit of fun from our Wine Drinker Dinners while offering something to please beer advocates just as much as wine lovers,” said Karl Gregg. “Creating a menu which includes outstanding beer pairings alongside the wine choices seemed like an excellent way to broaden the appeal and give our diners a more interactive experience. There’s no reason a couple couldn’t have beer and wine with each dish to compare.”

The cost for the Wine and Beer Drinker Dinner is $65 per person (not including tax and gratuity) with the option of having both beer and wine with each course for $80; reservations are recommended. Call (778) 233-1303 to book a spot.

Amuse Bouche
Wine: Monmousseau Cuvee JM Brut 2003  Beer: Deus Brut des Flandres

1st Course
Polderside Smoked duck salad w/baby arugula, fresh pear, candied almonds
Wine: Villa Chiopris Pinot Grigio 2007  Beer: Pyramid Haywire Hefeweizen

2nd Course
Salmon Rillettes – wild sockeye salmon, olive oil soda bread, cornichons
Wine: Domaine Lafond Tavel 2007  Beer: Propeller India Pale Ale

3rd Course
Pan seared pork loin: Cinnamon,cardamon,and grilled onion, concerto tomato polenta
Wine: Leyda Pinot Noir “las Brisas” 2006  Beer: Anderson Valley Brother David’s Abbey-style Ale

4th Course
Double Braised Short Ribs w/wild mushroom risotto, roasted heirloom carrots, and braised tomato
Wine: Chateau Val Joanis 2005   Beer: Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar

Chefs’ Table smores: Dark chocolate, house made marshmallows, graham crackers,
Wine: Chateau la Rame Ste Croix-du-Mont  Beer: Unibroue Chambly Noire

Needless to say, I’m delighted Two Chefs and a Table are taking this approach. It’s rather silly to be pro-beer and anti-wine or vice versa. Allow the two to stand side-by-side and give people the opportunity to discover which they prefer. It could be one, it may be the other, perhaps both but for different reasons. There’s only one way to find out.

Two Chefs and a Table
305 Alexander Street, Vancouver
Tel: (778) 233-1303
Hours (subject to change): lunch M-F, 11:30am – 2:30pm; dinner W & Th, 5:30 – 10:00pm, F & Sa, 5:00 – 11:00pm, Su, 5:00 – 9:00pm; brunch Sa & Su, 10:00am – 2:00pm

Indonesian Restaurant Reaches Beyond Lager

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When it comes to beer, most Asian restaurants typically offer little but lager because that is the dominant, if not only, style of beer brewed in their respective countries. For the lager loather, they may have Guinness, but that doesn’t mean it actually pairs well with any items on their menu. This is a shame because there are a number of beer styles that go very well with different Asian dishes. For example, every Indian restaurant should have an India Pale Ale (Alexander Keith’s not being an IPA), not only because the style was created for India but because it also happens to go well with many spicy Indian dishes.

Saison Dupont, Fernie First Trax, R & B Hop Goblin

From top left: saté lamb chop, krupuk (shrimp chips), coconut prawn & sambal mayonnaise, green beans & kecap manis, beef rendang (centre). The beer, from left: Saison Dupont, Fernie First Trax, R & B Hop Goblin'

A Vancouver restaurant is changing this stereotype. I hosted beer-tasting dinners on April 27 and November 8 at Saté Satu, an Indonesian restaurant in Cambie Village, to highlight pairing Asian food with ales (more photos on Picasa) . The menu was as follows:

Salads pair well with wheat beers. In this case, I chose a Belgian wit to go with the Gado Gado. Wheat beers also pair well with seafood. But to change things up a bit and showcase another style of beer, I chose to match the prawn with a saison, a very versatile and palate-cleansing food beer.

Darker beers typically pair well with dark meats. The trick is to discover which style. Depending on how it is prepared, lamb can have a strong flavour. In this case, the spices it is marinated in cut down on the gaminess, while grilling brings out some sweetness from caramelization. Therefore, I chose a brown ale that complements this, but won’t overwhelm the taste of the food with heavy body and full flavour.

One might be tempted to pair the beef rendang with a porter or stout. However, this one was spicy. If you aren’t able to handle a lot of chili heat, either of these styles will be completely inadequate to stand up to the spiciness. Therefore, I chose an India pale ale to dampen the heat. If you can find one, even better would be an India brown ale. The hop bitterness would counteract the chilis on the one hand, while the malt sweetness would be a better match for the beef.

How much spiciness you can handle in your food actually makes a difference as to what style of beer will pair best with your food. The less heat you can handle, the bigger a beer you need; the converse is also true.

Finally, the deep-fried banana has some options, depending on how it is presented. If there is any chocolate sauce, a chocolate or roasty imperial stout would work. In this case, however, it was plated with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and fruit. Consequently, I chose a wheat Eisbock because the caramel of the beer goes well with the carmelized batter of the banana. Also, the banana esters from the wheat beer yeast complement the dessert perfectly.

The owners of Saté Satu were very pleased with the outcome of the dinners, not only because their customers were satisfied with the experience but it gives them an opportunity to distinguish themselves from their competitors. Consequently, they modified their beer selection to include the ones above.

My next beer pairing dinner will be on November 19 at the House of Dosas (1391 Kingsway, Vancouver) with dishes from Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu.