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Michael's Gourmet Private and Professional Chef Services
Michael's Gourmet Private and Professional Chef Services

Crisis Management

At Michael's Gourmet Food Services, our goal is to quickly identify the problem, evaluate and find the optimal solution to get your business back on track. In times of crisis, you can count on us to provide the support needed to stabilize your business and make the right decisions. We have a proven track record of helping companies navigate through and overcome significantly troubled financial situations.

Our services at a glance:

  • Analysis of the current situation and the need for action
  • Analysis of process-relevant channels and potential sources of problems
  • Developing a restructuring plan with ad hoc measures
  • Support in implementing the restructuring and consolidation process




 Replace inefficient incandescent lighting with newer technology.

 Upgrade older T-12 fluorescent lights to more efficient T-8 fluorescents.

 Use occupancy sensors in infrequently used spaces.

 Use timers for parking lot lighting and restricted access areas.

 When appropriate, use task lighting rather than area lighting.

 Add reflectors to increase efficiency of lighting when appropriate.

 Make efficient use of natural lighting when available.

 Use photo sensors or timers to control outdoor night lighting.

 Use motion detectors for security lighting as appropriate.

Refrigeration Systems

 Set defrost cycles for optimum performance, and adjust defrost times to minimize peak electrical demand.

 Keep doors closed when possible.

 Put cold stock away quickly before it warms up.

 Disarm door heaters if not needed.

 Replace lights in walk-in coolers with compact fluorescent models designed for cold use.

 Install strip curtains on frequently used walk-in doors.

Hot Water Systems

 Add an insulation jacket to a water heater if it is warm to the touch.

 Insulate hot water supply pipes.

 Consider gray water heat recovery systems for constant-use appliances such as dishwashers.

 Reduce demand by installing low-flow spray nozzles.

 Reduce temperature of hot water supply if appropriate. Increase hot water storage capacity if needed.

 Install heat traps (check-valves) on all new water heaters.

HVAC Systems

 Use temperature setbacks appropriate to the season. A 1-degree change in the thermostat setting can save 4 percent to 5 percent on energy costs.

 Use programmable thermostats to reduce energy consumption for non-business hours.

 Use ceiling fans to economically improve comfort.

 Keep ventilation diffusers and air intakes free from obstructions.

 Seal leaky ductwork.

 Install solar blinds to reduce excess solar heat gain.

 Ensure adequate insulation is installed in walls and ceilings.

 Update old doors and windows with more efficient models.

 Replace cracked door seals and deteriorating or missing weather-stripping and window caulking.

 Install adjustable-flow vent hoods where appropriate.

 Replace constant-flow makeup air systems with controllable-flow technology.

 Replace aging or inefficient HVAC equipment with high-efficiency system.

Cooking Equipment

 Stagger preheat times for equipment to more closely match demand.

 Monitor plug loads, and turn equipment on only when needed.

 Shift nonessential tasks to slow periods to minimize peak electrical demand.

 Replace older, inefficient equipment with more efficient models.

 When possible, do baking during off-peak times to reduce peak energy demand.

 Make ice during mornings or evenings, rather than afternoons when energy premiums are in effect.

 Use covers on fryers to minimize heat loss.


Initial Needs or Damage Control Analysis

       In evaluating and implementing immediate damage control time is usually in short supply and equity is becoming scarce. Evaluating the operational procedures of a food service establishment requires detective like thinking and you might need to piece together several clues before the true picture can form. Under this program we have separated eight individual hours for eight individual areas of evaluation.  Luckily there are usually a few good places to start.   First check the controllable expenses and access areas out of norm with the industry standard for that type of establishment. (National Restaurant’s Association’s {NRA} Restaurant Industry Operations Report).  Food and beverage quality and taste are another immediate area that needs to be looked at. This will give you an idea of what the customers are getting.  Then move to line production and sales flow and this will cover how the food is coming out, how well it is being served and how the tables are being attended too.  After this evaluate the senior staff members and work your way down to all members of the team.

            After your initial assessment of the immediate problem areas, take a look at the longer overall picture. Taxes filed should not have any discrepancies from payroll and meal and sales tax, have been filed on time and have been paid up to date. Check them against the initial cash flow sheet and see how well they are doing against the original estimate. Also check the Initial Cash Flow Sheet to see what other areas are not hitting the original target.  Then spend time on the Balance Sheet and the Income statement and try to see if any over expensed areas have been increasingly deviating from budget. Also make sure the professional fees are in order and not using up needed capital and if so why.  Finally go over the legal obligations including loans, leases, and contracts that can be placing unnecessary draw on resources. This should give you a good starting point from which to bring some of the pieces together to find were money is coming from and going to.

            Chances are that this company will not have a Deviation Analysis report and probably lacking DSR log notes. It may also not have a Break Even report. Both of these are fairly essential to accurately depict were minute problems are coming from.


Hour 1 -  Controllable Expenses - Marketing

Hour 2 - Cost of Sales Food and Beverage, Quality, Taste

Hour 3 - Production and Sales Flow - Daily Sales Report

Hour 4 -  Marketing and Advertising

Hour 5 - Staff Evaluation: Senior Management, Salaried, Hourly

Hour 6 - Quarterly Filed Taxes – Initial Cash Flow Sheet

Hour 7 - Balance Sheet – Income Statement – Professional fees

Hour 8 - Contracts, Loans, and Legal Obligations


Hour 1 - Controllable Expenses

            Starting at your controllable expenses give you the advantage of finding discrepancies in the projected overall picture and shows you areas of immediate accountability. Areas of utmost importance will be Payroll and Benefits, Utilities, Direct Operating Expenses, Administration and Office, Advertising and Promotions and also review Occupancy costs. Although no single Controllable Expense outside of payroll will create a truly damaging situation, together they will add up to around 50% of your Daily Operational Expenses.

            Although cost of sales of food and beverage is a controllable expense and probably the largest, these are not under controllable expenses in the Income statement and will be covered after Controllable Expenses.

Payroll: General – review payroll costs and make sure they are within industry norms for this type of establishment. Make sure the payroll account is a separately funded  account with just the required amount after payday. Make sure they are fully funded, taxes are paid on time and all the staff begins at the budgeted time, completes their work on time and there is no down time that is paid for that is not specified in the employees manual.  

Payroll: Senior Management – review all salaries and job descriptions as defined in the employees manual or contracts of employment. Make sure the functions of each  manager is written, defined, and being implemented to achieve the desired sales  results. Set parameters for individual and corporate goals, complete with incentives, challenges, and expected time frames of completion.

Payroll: Salaried and Hourly Employees – review all salaries and hourly employees and  make sure there are no discrepancies from hours budgeted, actual hours worked  and actual work done in those budgeted hours. Briefly discuss employee’s areas of concern to the employees and expect them to have some of the solutions. Make sure they have written job descriptions and are fully aware of corporate policy towards their work, ethics, hygiene, and customer service.

Payroll: Benefits – review employee benefits and legal contracts and make sure they are  not an excess draw on company finances. Restructure any variances with and incentive plan that require sales to be created or personal cost to be reduced so excess draw can be diverted to areas of less immediate expense to the company.


Utilities: General – review current utility costs and functions making sure they are in line with the initial budget. Make sure they are with the parameters of the industry norm for this type of establishment. By making every employee aware of the costs of these expenses they become empowered to make a difference. This will greatly aid in lowering this expense category and concurrently your daily operational expenses (DOE).

Utilities: Gas – review gas charges and any contracts that have set a locked in price. Make sure there are preset parameters for gas used in the preparation and cooking production process and heating the building. 

Utilities: Electricity- review current electric bills and any contracts that have set a locked in price. Check Repairs and Maintenance receipts to make sure there are not a lot of excess repairs bill for the electrical work done. Review some of the bills for repetitive ongoing problems. Make sure there are preset parameters for electrical use, and all employees have been fully briefed on what is expected of its use. The use of electricity is usually the largest utility bill so focus on the dissemination of information to bring your costs down.

            Utilities: Cable – review the current cable bills and any contracts with                        locked  in prices. Make sure the company has the best package available for              the necessities of this location. Excess cable channels, unneeded broadband                and business discounts can be areas of concern. While cable lines are much                faster than telephone lines, new advances in fiber optics may make a cheaper              choice for your broadband needs.

            Utilities: Waste Removal, Grease and Sewage – check for contracts and                      timely fashion  for removal, see if you can sell or give away used grease                    andmonitor water and sewage cost, make sure costs are in line with other                    venders.


         Direct Operating Expenses: General - each area accounts for a good                           percentage  of the overall Expense category, but being off by a half percentage           point in each account for a drop of 7%. That’s a lot!                     

  •  Linens and Uniforms – make sure the prices you negotiated for are the ones your being charged. Check the linen as it comes in, table cloths, napkins and aprons should be cleaned and wrinkle free and the amount ordered should be the amount received. If uniforms are used make sure the sizes and amounts are correct, one for each shift needed.
  • Recruitment and Training – budgeting for recruitment is hard, there are a lot of intangibles. Make sure you have a system in place that includes hourly procedures that ensure the candidate is properly screened to fit into the culinary field. Training money should be budgeted out of payroll expenses. Again make sure you have the proper system in place.
  • Pest Control – pest control is mandatory by local officials and prices are somewhat industry set. Make sure the person that is applying the traps and spray is thorough. Occasionally accompany them and go over any trouble spots. Hold them responsible if problems occur.
  • Fire Suppression – local law mandates when the system needs to be checked. Budget the fee.
  • First Aid Supplies – buy a large box and keep it well stocked.
  • Smallware Table Settings – this is usually a silverware problem that can run into some money. You can use a magnetic trash cover to retrieve most of them. Theft is another problem. Front of the house smallware is desirable to some. Proper hiring and screening procedures can eliminate this. Losses can be costly, but you’ll k now soon enough after the second or third purchases for more. Make sure the amount you ordered is the amount that came in and you were charge for.
  • Smallware Kitchen – this is definitely an area of importance. Kitchen smallware that is cheap will not hold up under constant use. Replacement from use or theft runs into some money. Buy quality products that don’t have sharp or square edges. Try to get quantity package deals when possible. Buy just what you need for less used equipment.
  • Cleaning Supplies – review dishwashing, furniture, floor and tile, grease products for the line and request quotes from several venders for their systems. Over purchasing because of lack of par, purveyor minimums or staffs misuse a problem.
  • Office – paper and supplies usually not a problem unless computer hardware and supplies are over purchased.
  • Advertising and Promotional – make sure they are target market driven and focus on immediate area. Use free marketing tactics as much as possible. Utilize Chamber of Commerce events.
  • Administrative and General – make sure bank fees and permits fees, menus and wine lists are in line and up to date. Computerize as much as possible.
  • Computer – buy from a reputable dealer; make sure you have service contracts and warranties. Don’t buy more than you need but you have to be able to interface with cable, phone and scalable in case you need to add more. This can be tricky because companies will sell you more than you need with package deals.
  • Music and Ambiance – get only what you can afford in budget, don’t be amateurish or repetitive. Music focuses on ambiance, ambiance is derived from concept. Keep ambiance detailed but light. Always try to receive revenue from music but don’t change the theme to get revenue that doesn’t fit the ambiance.
  • Fixtures – keep in perfect working order; repair any broken units, fit to concept, theme and ambiance.

     Repairs and Maintenance: Building – make sure there is no repair work that may            cause financial difficulties in the future such as cracks in the basement,                      structural integrity or OSHA compliant walkways. Keep the outside as new                and fresh looking as you would the inside. Make sure any contractors are                    licensed and have very good references. Have no work done without at least              two to three bids. Any minor work done by a handyman with known                          credentials or do it yourself.

     Repairs and Maintenance: Landscaping – keep up to date and make sure your                  budgeted  amount includes money required for upkeep. Get rid of old and                  dying plants and shrubs. Make sure grounds are cleaned every  few days.                    This is one of the first costs you can eliminate because you can do it yourself.

      Repairs and Maintenance: Equipment – one of the areas that can run into as you            stay in business. Old equipment that requires excessive repairs should be                    replaced with newer equipment, especially heavy equipment that is no longer            under warranty. Usually the shell piece is still good unless seals are damaged              but the internal working parts can be new and under warranty. Older                          equipment with new parts can be refreshed with paints and rust solvents and              seals. Keep accurate records; make sure your getting the correct amount of                depreciation taken. Replace any light kitchen equipment that reduces labor                costs immediately. Make sure staff is well versed on how to use the equipment


      Repairs and Maintenance: Labor – Service contracts are required for all new                   equipment and are a good safe guard from loss of revenue due to loss of time             on the piece. Be sure the venders are reputable with references. Make sure                 their wages are in line with other venders and repairs services. Get an                         estimate and keep a record.




Classes with Wine Pairings

« Facts of Interest »


The undisputed king of cheese is said to have originated in the province of Reggio Emilia, south of the Po Valley. The area was formally under the rule of the Dukedom of Parma which was the main trading center, hence its name. It was called the “Great Cheese of Seven Countries” because the ancient formula remained unchanged throughout the 700 years of history which altered the face of continents.  Records dating back to 1200 to 1300AD describe the characteristics of Parmigiano Reggiano as they are today and it is assumed that the real origins of the cheese go back even further as written by early Latin writers. It is a cheese best known around the world in its grated form - Parmesan; but in early maturity it is a fine table cheese said to have medicinal purposes.

            It is produced from the 1st of April to the 11th of November in large drums weighing 52 to 97 pounds, the average between 72 and 79 lbs. with a height of 7 to 9½ inches, and a circumference of 28 to 36 inches. It is made with unpasteurized but tested milk of morning and evening milking in the “zona tipica” of Bologna, Mantua, Modena, Parma, and Reggio Emilia, where the soil, climate, vegetation, fodder and cattle rearing traditions has influenced its flavor and quality over the centuries. 



Kitchen cooking TIPS AND TRICKS


A microwave oven uses electromagnetic waves that bounce off the surfaces and into the food to heat it. The microwaves penetrate the food from ¾ to 1 inch, causing the water molecules to vibrate producing friction and thus heat. Microwaved foods cook from the inside out.

  • After water, fat absorbs microwaves the best.

  • Arrange the food in a circle for even cooking. Favor the edge of the rotary tray, more waves reach there than in the center.

  • Use round dishes, square dishes overcook food at the corners.

  • Cover the food to reduce cooking time, but leave a place for steam to vent.

  • Use clear glass to watch the food cooking, not all plastics are microwaveable and metal causes electrical arcing.

  • Salted foods heat faster.

  • The Microwave does best with vegetables, then seafood, then chicken, then meat.

  • Never run the microwave empty, this will damage it.


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