Many families have opted to cook at home or order casual take out during the pandemic. While groceries stores and quick serve restaurants have fared considerably well during this time, some upscale and niche eateries such as seafood restaurants have suffered greatly. None-the-less, this hasn’t stopped ambitious entrepreneurs from seeing business opportunities in customers’ cravings for fine dining to return. In fact, experts have predicted that fine dining will make a huge comeback once restaurants open back up and we tire of eating at home. If you’re among those eyeing an opportunity here are our tips on opening a seafood restaurant.
Freshness is often why diners choose one restaurant over another. Make sure you serve fresh quality ingredients to distinguish yourself from others. Use fresh, local ingredients instead of purchasing prepackaged or frozen ones. Most customers can taste the difference between frozen crab cake and fresh one, or canned lobster bisque versus ones made from scratch.
One of the worst things to serve customers is rancid smelling seafood. No amount of garlic can hide the smell of fish that has gone bad. When shopping for fish at the market, a faint sea odor smell is normal but should not smell unpleasantly “fishy”. Fresh fish sold as “previously frozen” may have softer flesh and dull eyes but they should still smell fresh. Peeled crustaceans such as lobsters and shrimp should be moist around the edges but not slimy or dry. The same goes for mollusks like oysters and clams.
Never leave seafood out of the refrigerator for more than 1 hour, especially in busy commercial kitchens which are often hotter than the rest of the restaurant. Bacteria that can cause illness grow quickly in warm temperature.
Wash bowls, utensils, and countertops with soap and hot water often. Remember to use different cutting boards for raw food and cooked or ready-to-eat food in order to prevent cross contamination. Most importantly, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water after handling any raw food.
You might consider implementing a seasonal menu in order to take advantage of a more plentiful supply. Advertising seasonal dishes on social media will also remind eager customers that their favorite seafood is available again. If you would like more information about opening a seafood restaurant, Restaurant Design Concepts is now offering free onsite consultations. Contact us for details.