The Professionals’ Choice
This week Jerry Brand, Owner and Managing Director, Caternet talks about two distinct hospitality experiences in the Algarve, both with similar values…
Jerry has worked in catering for over 30 years and founded Caternet in 2004. Caternet is an integrated catering management system for all types of caterer, from restaurants, hotels and bars through to education, care and into foodservice operators. The company works for purchasing consortiums and provide a trading platform for suppliers to service their customers. The system comes capital free (the user pays a percentage of turnover for a multiple licence and free training, support and upgrades) and starts with eProcurement, before moving into menu forecasting, margin management and recipes. It also provides a full budgeting and finance system with nutritional analysis and marketing support for labels and menus. The system is designed by caterers to provide an intuitive process, but developed by Microsoft experts. Caternet has over 300 users and is growing rapidly. Live supplier prices drive the system which is tailored to each operator, depending on how they run their business.
PecunoMundo and the Chicken Shack – heaven in the Algarve!
If you are ever down in the Algarve, between Vale de Lobo and Loule, then you may wish to visit what I can only explain as heaven!
These are two restaurants that could not be further apart, but which both tick the boxes that we in the hospitality industry are always striving to achieve. In my mind there are three key attributes to a successful gastronomic experience; product, service and environment. If you can get all three stars lined up, then bingo!
Joaquim at PecunoMundo will charge you between €60 to €90 per head depending on how hard you want to hit his enticing wine list (probably don’t take the kids – leave this one as either the romantic dinner or night out with friends). The Chicken Shack will charge you €10/€15 per head tops (bring as many kids as you want), no matter how much you end up eating and drinking!
So how do they do it?
Easy when you look at it on paper, but how many restaurateurs and foodservice team get these three factors either wrong, or overly complicate them in pursuit of today’s TV catering trends?
Product: PecunoMundo is a French based cuisine, simple with a delicious rustic style. The Chicken Shack is barbecued chicken (there are other offers on the menu but don’t go there). In both cases the food comes up perfect every time because of its simplicity, freshness and flavour.
Service: at Pecuno, you get fawned upon, but not obtrusively – help just seems to appear, plus the faces are always the same, year in, year out. They know what they are doing, are well supported by Joaquim who should slow down, but doesn’t. Chicken Shack is owned by a family and they work their butts off as they turn their tables at least three/four times per evening (and twice at lunch)!
Environment: two completely different approaches here, but they work. The Chicken Shack is exactly that – a shack (they recently rebuilt it from a genuine shack to exactly the same look, but a properly built shack complete with brick wallpaper!) – but it is just spot on for the menu and the experience. PecunoMundo is a little slice of luxury inside old walls, with a front courtyard and pond, an inside area that is decorated in terracotta type colours with a warming feeling in the winter, and a back terrace that feels like you are in Kew Gardens!
Two completely different offers, but both delivering the same, consistent end result. When Family Brand is on holiday we hit the Shack twice per week and Pecuno once per fortnight – like clockwork!