When I was working out the viability of my YamDaisy Cafe structure I started with two different needs: affordable meals for customers, and a reasonable income for the chef/manager.
This was made trickier because the customers include the poorest people in the community.
With my housekeeping budget skills I pushed and pulled until I came up with something that I thought would work. In a housewifey way I figured that if we could get so many meals sold at so much each, and cover all the overheads we would end up with an amount for ingredients a week for ingredients. (You can look at my number crunching here. Feel free to comment!)
But then I read a chef friend talking about it a completely different way. He went from running a restaurant to working for a catering company.:
"The pricing scale was completely backwards to the way I was used to working out gross profit from a meal. In a restaurant you come up with an idea for a dish, then order in the food, cook a meal, tweak it a bit, then when it is good you cost up how much it costs to put that meal onto the plate then add 80 percent! simple... that gives you a price to charge for that dish... every one you sell ensures you that 80 percent profit!
Here I was given a capped chargeable price ... and had to make profit working backwards from that... the price was the starting point, not the finish point as it were!"
I remember Jamie Oliver complaining in a similar way under even more straightened circumstances trying to make school meals affordable, but also delicious and healthy. He talked about his usual practice of looking at wonderful ingredients and being inspired by them to cook something, rather than surveying the cheap ingredients and trying to work out something good that could be made from them!
My first thought was that family budgets are capped! The poorer you are, the more capped your budget is. The more you are stuck with the cheapest, saddest ingredients.
But the YamDaisy chef must not be like a stressed mum trying to cook good food with not enough money!
Yes, it will be topsy turvy thinking for a restaurant chef, but hopefully it will be good domestic economics for the YamDaisy Chef. There MUST be enough money to buy good, local, seasonal ingredients and to cook great, delicious meals with them. There must be room to be inspired!
This is another way the YamDaisy Chef must be like a great Mum Cook using the wonderful ingredients to hand and developing a community based menu of the best food. Not expensive, rare, food, but treasured local seasonal, loved food! .... and affordable!