Free Ideas for Restaurants


We are all unimpeachable business owners in our fantasies, right? We are business geniuses! For instance, my imaginary restaurant has three Michelin stars and sandwiches under $10. The workers are paid ethical wages and tipping is not a confusing moral gymnastics act. The chips and salsa are unlimited, and no, it is not a taco spot.

I leave every meal with a host of can't-fail business plans. To wit: Recently, on a long weekend in Wilmington, North Carolina, I labored over the menu with my lip tucked above my teeth. We were brunching at a fine seafood restaurant, and I wanted to choose a highly involved "triggerfish Benedict" on a potato cake topped with various aiolis (aiolii?) and accoutrements laid gently with tweezers.

But the place also had peach pancakes. Wholly unfair. I didn't want to eat an entire stack of peach pancakes, a dish that comes with diminishing returns. Pancakes get out of control quickly. Before you know it, you've eaten a face-sized plate of CAKE, and since there is no protein for miles, you're hungry in two hours and saying things like, "You know what you said. No, I'm fine. I'm just tired."

What I wanted was... a taste.

"I have a free idea for a restaurant!" I proclaimed to no one except my husband, who does not own a restaurant nor have designs to do so. I waved my finger authoritatively so he knew I meant, ahem, business.

Actually, I have a couple free ideas.


"'Just A Taste' Menu"

Please understand: I am not attempting to reinvent tapas, nor raw-edge oak boards dotted with meat rosettes and cheese. I literally mean a taste. An amuse-bouche but pancakes. A bite you'd steal from the plate of a spouse who doesn't have issues about that sort of thing. Cut me off a corner, make sure it has the dabble of butter and syrup. Put it on a saucer and BRING IT TO ME AS IF I AM THE HUNGRY TYRANT OF A LARGE NATION. Charge what is fair. This could be a cash machine. Had there been a taste of pancake at that restaurant for, say, $4, I would have said, "Here is my hard-earned $4."

"Help Us Help You Card"

Back home in Florida, we did Taco Tuesday at a new place. We really enjoyed it, but as a young restaurant, they are naturally working out kinks. Folks there suggested customers head to Yelp to leave reviews, and I was thinking, no, it's too soon!


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