Text 15 Oct Chef Discovery Round 2

The rumors are true, we’re on the hunt to find a new chef to help us expand the menu. When we first looked for a chef over a year ago, we were complete newbies. We had no idea how the business worked. The process is going to work a little differently this time around. We’re leveraging our network and food relationships we’ve developed over the past 16 months to help source a new culinary expert. Our mission is to build a long-term relationship with a chef who will become intimately familiar with our formula and our tastes and will be interested in future partnership. We’ve got 2-3 people on our short list and the interviews and taste tests are underway. Below you can see a summary of what we’re looking to do. It’s our RFP (request for proposal) if you will:

Overview

Schnitz, LLC is a quick-serve, single item menu food business based in New York City. We believe Schnitzel is poised to become a mainstream comfort food. Contrary to the options available to New Yorkers today, we aim to deliver a simple, focused quick service model for schnitzel.

The management team is seeking to expand the menu in preperation for the opening of a brick and mortar. Schnitz requires the services of an experienced chef with culinary and operational expertise. The project will be based on a fixed cost consulting agreement which clearly defines a timeline and deliverables.

Key Challenges

  • To expand the menu of an existing and measurably successful product
  • Recipes must be operationally simple to execute
  • Sandwich components must conform to the existing construction of a Schnitz sandwich (breading, sauce, vegatable topping)

Deliverables

  • 2 new sandwiches
    • 2 panko crusted breadings
    • 2 sauces
    • 2 vegetable toppings (similar to our pickled vegetable garnishes today)
  • 4 sides for a future platter option
  • A review of our existing menu and recommendations for streamlining
  • Creation of a catering program

Timeline

We are aiming to complete this project by 12/31/2012. 

 We essentially want to have a total of 4 sandwiches plus a solid vegetarian option. There are honestly so many exciting options that fit into our formula. I believe the challenge will be in narrowing down all the tasty goodness. But first things first, we have to find the right person to help us get there.

chef cartoon

Text 23 Sep Smorgasburg Sundays @ The Brooklyn Bridge Park

A new day but familiar faces. The good people at the Brooklyn Flea have launched Smorgasburg on Sundays at the Tobacco Warehouse in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Tobacco Warehouse is a historic site which was recently preserved by a number of community groups and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp to be re-used as a cultural and community facility by schools, local organizations and the public. It’s an absolutely phenomenal location with plenty of organic and tourist foot traffic. It’s right by Jane’s Carousel for those who are familiar with the area. You can access the location by taking the Empire-Fulton ferry or the A,C and F subways. Parking is a lot more difficult than the Williamsburg location but doable if you need.bk bridge

We’ve been there the last couple Sundays and the turnout has been fantastic. The Flea has done an incredible job of putting this space together and attracting crowds. I hope this pilot period goes well so we can continue vending there next season. It’s pretty incredible to have the opportunity to vend at this space. It’s extremely unique for New York.

We’ve been fortunate enough to have grown with the Smorgasburg market and we’re so happy to see it expand in a meaningful way. Regardless of how we develop as a company, Smorgasburg will always be a part of our identity and we hope to forever be a vendor.

Text 18 Sep Schnitz Review: Smoke Ribs, Not Crack

We must write a special thank you to Steven Leeds of Smoke Ribs, Not Crack (yes, that’s the name of the blog) for the latest Schnitz write-up. We met via a mutual friend Stav Vaisman so we thank Stav for the connection. Steve first tried Schnitz at Hester Nights and immediately fell in love.

The Smoke Ribs Not Crack website looks fabulous. Go check it out for some food humor, recipes, reviews, and the one of a kind foodcasts. We hope to work more with Steve in the future as we develop the menu further (more on that to come soon!) His take on the food world is fresh and lively. I believe there are great synergies between our brands.

Click here to see the posting. The Schnitz photos look great!

Text 27 Aug A Note to Citibank

Since September 2011, Schnitz has been a Citibank client. As a small business, we opened a commercial bank account. Being new to the retail business world, it was very interesting to learn about the different fees that banks charge businesses. It’s very different from the personal banking that we are all accustomed to. Below are some terms that we have for Citibank.

  • Up to 200 monthly transactions
  • Up to $5000 in monthly cash deposits
  • $19 monthly maintenance fee

Schnitz has extremely simple banking needs. We don’t require any merchant processing services to handle credit card transactions because we do all of that with Square (who by the way is revolutionizing Point of Sale systems). All we need is a place to make weekly cash deposits and a debit card to purchase weekly materials and supplies.

After reconciling our bank account in quickbooks over the past few months, we’ve noticed two things:

  1. monthly service charges are quite high (~$30/month)
  2. the Citibank online banking system is HORRENDOUS.

Citibank requires four pieces of information to login plus we have to carry around a token that displays random numbers every 5 minutes that are needed for login. I understand this may be considered a high level of security but it’s completely unneccessary.  We really don’t have much to hide in our bank account and a simple username and password will do just fine. Second, the user experience is extremely poor. It takes about 8 clicks to get to a list of recent transactions! It also prompts to log me out every 5 minutes. Even if I indicate that I want to stay logged in, it still signs me out sometimes. This can be very frustrating when you’re trying to go through weeks of transactions.

cit boa

We’re now planning to move over to Bank of America in the next couple weeks. While B of A, like most banks, may not have the best reputation, it does have a nice online banking system. A couple of us at Schnitz have used it for our personal accounts and it’s the same experience on the business side. They have a great mobile app as well. There is also no monthly maintenance fee as long as you complete one debit card transaction a month… that’ll be easy. The only charges we’ll receive are on cash deposits of over $5000/month which will happen but it’s not so bad. Let us know if you have any other tips. We’ll all be meeting at the bank soon to sign signature cards and get debit cards.

Video 14 Jul

Video Content

In today’s virtual and hyper social world, it’s not enough to simply deliver fresh food and run an efficient food operation. You have to constantly create content and points of engagement for your customers to interact with your brand and get to know the company. Schnitz has been able bootstrap the delivery of content over the past 12 weeks since the warm weather arrived. You can see our recent videos on ABC’s The Chew and I’m In the Kitchen. Video content is the wave of the future now that people can stream to their phones but it’s still somewhat expensive to create professional material. We’ve been fortunate for the last two videos and we’re lucky to have been blessed with another from Rebecca Yale of Rebecca Yale Photography. She stopped by the Smorgasburg a couple weeks ago and was inspired to snap photos and shoot some video which she has edited into a complete piece below. Thanks so much Rebecca!

Schnitz from Rebecca Yale on Vimeo.

Text 25 Jun A cheesy (but necessary) message to my bro

It takes A LOT to make Schnitz happen, well it takes a lot to make GOOD schnitz happen and I want to take a quick moment to get a little sentimental about my little bro: Yoni :) 

I am so proud to have such an amazing brother and business partner and we are doing three markets because of his unrelenting devotion to this business. He runs around like a crazy person for the better part of each week to make sure our kitchen is stocked, our uhauls are booked, our staff is ready to go, our fryer is fixed, our chicken and bread are scheduled etc. etc. and etc. 

So not to get TOOOOO wound up, let me wrap up by saying thank you, Yoni! You are the most hard working man in show..schnitz! 

Video 22 Jun

I’m In The Kitchen Covers Schnitz!

We recently received some phenomenal coverage from I’m In The Kitchen. Check out the beautifully edited video below. You’ll get to see some behind the scenes footage of the prepartation that goes into Schnitz each week.

IITK is a real-time information community custom tailored for chefs and food enthusiasts. They have a beautiful website and are publishing some great content about chefs and restaurants. I recommend everyone take a look. Click here to see a video about IITK.

Text 20 Jun Schnitz is on TV! ABC’s The CHEW

About a month ago we wrote about Mario Batali visiting Smorgasburg and paying us a special visit with his camera crew. We then heard from the producers for ABC’s show, The Chew, that we’ll be included in a special segment on the Smorgasburg food market. We were invited to the airing where they showed our sandwich on the set. It also happened to be one of the craziest days in our company’s history.

We’re proud to announce that the episode officially aired on Monday afternoon and below is a link to the video where you can see Mario’s visit to Smorgasburg. look im on tv

http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/videos/PL55125609/_m_VD55211706

Yoni gives a great description of the Bamberg and you’ll then see Donna and Yoni in the audience at the end of the clip. We hope you enjoy the video. It was a special moment for us.

[We apologize for not giving everyone advance notice. We were originally told it would air Friday, June 22.]

Text 19 Jun The New Schnitz Website!

Yes, it’s here…..the new Schnitz Wesbite:

www.schnitznyc.com - CLICK TO CHECK IT OUT!

For the past 8 months, we’ve been using Launchrock which is a service that let’s people design splash pages by leveraging high resolution photos. Our menu and business has developed and we’ve outgrown our splash page. No longer are we in a “Coming Soon” phase. We’re alive and well and we needed to have a more robust website.

Over the last week we’ve been experimenting with a couple of different layouts and we’re happy with what we’ve launched. The homepage maximizes a lot of the content that we want visitors to see without having to scroll or click. Our locations, a nice splash photo, our twitter feed (where we are very active) and navigation bar are all easily accessible the minute you hit the site. The challenge in building a website, and more specifically a homepage, is including as much information on the top half of the screen (or what they call “above the fold”) yet still giving a clean and uncluttered design. The key things we want to highlight are our locations which is important for us as we’re a mobile business and people want to know where we are on any given day; our social activity which is something we emphasize; and our style which is where the splash photo comes in.

We used a service called Wix to design and develop the site and I highly recommend it. It’s a website creation tool that can be used by non-programmers, which means you don’t need to know HTML code. You may need to watch a couple of video tutorials to tie up some loose ends but for the most part its very straight forward. Other similar tools are YolaWeebly and Moonfruit. These services typically come with beautiful templates which have been created by professional designers. You may still want to consult with a designer for advice but for $8.50/month, you can go live with an extremely professional website in a matter of days! Ah, the power of technology.

The site is in HTML5 so it should be viewable on your mobile phone without any issues. It’s also rather easy to update the content which is extremely important. We want to be able to implement new ideas and update the site with new press or media coverage.

If you have any suggestions or questions, please comment or email us. We’re all ears!

Text 13 Jun The Highs & Lows

My Fellow Schnitzers,

Another week in the books and yet another important lesson learned.  As has been well documented in this space, Schnitz has certainly been riding a wave of good press as well as high praise from our customers and supporters.  In addition to the write-ups and interviews we have done recently, our sales have also been quite good.  Smorgasburg in particular has been very steady for us.  Even on a cloudy day, the foodies over in Williamsburg make it out to the water to get their fix.  Hester has been so much fun and awesome, barring any rain we are always poised to kick some ass even with the shorter time span (4-9pm).  We at Schnitz obviously pride ourselves in being one of the freshest, most delicious and efficient stands at any market we are involved in.  We do this by working our asses off every week.  It’s that simple.  We never take short cuts, and we never settle.  The only factor that is entirely out of our grasp is the weather.

This past week, both Thursday and Saturday brought some erratic weather.  There were some sprinkles over at Hester during the beginning of the event, which also happens to be the same time most midtown workers are set to go home.  Saturday was generally gloomy and showered us for a good twenty minutes.  Neither days featured torrential downpours, but were enough to make an impact on potential visitors.  Being in the trenches, I sometimes get frustrated on these types of days when business is slow.  This is completely unfair.  The logic here is fairly easy to understand; no one wants to stand outside and eat food in the rain. 

Such is the business that we have chosen.  Right now, Schnitz’ livelihood relies entirely on weather and we must plan accordingly on a week to week basis.  Some weeks the weather looks utterly spectacular throwing our plans into overdrive as we prepare to break our previous gross record only to be greeted with rain in the morning.  Other times, it’s the exact opposite; we are cautionary not to overspend due to impending thunder storms only to see sunshine throughout the day.  While the latter isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it usually results in us selling out too early thus leaving some cash on the table.  Nevertheless we continue to make the necessary adjustments every week and fine tune the operation as much as we can to make our product and customer experience the best it can possibly be.  The key to our success has not only been to roll with the punches but to never grow complacent and never stop improving.  No matter what the weather looks like, you can bet your ass we will be out there. 

It also makes me feel better that this Thursday and Saturday look like Pleasantville type days…hope I didn’t just jinx it! 


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