how restaurants adapt to new conditions

In March-April the prices of many products increased and something completely disappeared from the price lists of suppliers. How to create collaboration with local producers and if there is a future for local cuisine, said the guests of the podcast Cone Cone Jam. We publish the most interesting excerpts from the discussion.

The third season of the Cone Jam podcast is dedicated to food-related businesses: catering, food retailers, suppliers and manufacturers. Together with the guests, podcast presenter Maria Skobeleva understands how entrepreneurs cope with the new conditions and whether they see prospects for themselves.

In the first issue, a look at the problems and opportunities of restaurants was shared by:

  • Sergey Miroshnikov, renowned chef of the KITCHEN FAMILY and ideologue of the Authentic Ural Cuisine movement.
  • Andrey Bova, chef of Barboris restaurant, presenter of the gastronomic show 5 Dinners on Domashny TV channel, co-founder of Authentic Ural Cuisine.
  • Ekaterina Sboeva, co-owner of the family Forel Farm fish farm.

The article contains basic ideas.

What changed in March-April

The events of recent months have had a strong impact on the work of restaurants: prices for most products have risen sharply and some products have simply disappeared: foreigners due to supply chain disruptions, locally due to rushed demand.

Sergey Miroshnikov says: “Food prices have risen by an average of 15 to 80%. For example, salmon, fresh fillet, we bought 1100 rubles and now it costs 2400 rubles. Butter and sugar have risen in price. This is a big blow to confectioneries: for them it is an important expense item. If earlier they spent 40 rubles on it, now they spend 85-89. Vegetable oil has also risen in price: we bought it for 56 rubles, now it costs 110.

Not only imported products, but also local products have risen in price, Andrey Bova noted: “We are luckier than others: we have a restaurant with modern Russian cuisine. Therefore, we use a Russian product. “But even for the Russian product: crab, scallops from the Far East, porcini mushrooms, prices have risen.”

With the strengthening of the ruble, many suppliers began to reduce prices, but not all and not to the previous level, says Andrey Bova.

New menu, new suppliers

Restaurants began to edit the menu again: replace the ingredients, add new dishes. According to the statistics of the Kontur.Market service, if in February a user processed 33 technical maps per month on average, then in March this number increased to 75.

Andrey Bova shared an example of one of the successful replacements on the Barboris menu: “We worked with frozen salmon and frozen trout. The salmon disappeared in March, the restaurants turned into trout and there was also a shortage. Therefore, I drew attention to other salmon fish, less premium – coho salmon and chum salmon. It is almost half the price of trout and salmon, but just as tasty when cooked properly. We, for example, bake it using our home smoker. It works very well. “

But the task of restaurants and chefs is not just to figure out what to replace with what. We need to find suppliers and manufacturers who will regularly bring the right products to the right volumes. Andrey Bova says that the Barboris restaurant buys products from both large regional producers and very small farmers who supply goods only to them: “We buy marbled beef in Altai. Two years ago, when we started working together, it was a small growing production, now they have become a serious supplier and are working all over Russia. Their meat is very tasty and high quality. But more often we work with small family farms. For example, for the past 6 years, a farm in the Kurgan area has been supplying us with goat meat. The farm is small, so they only work with us. Another example is the cheesemakers. Five years ago, at the Shartashsky Market in Yekaterinburg, I tried homemade cheeses: Adyghe, smoked Adyghe and Suluguni. I tried it and was just thrilled with both the taste and the price – 150 rubles below the market. It turned out that this is a family cheese factory near Yekaterinburg. Three generations of the family work there: they buy milk from neighboring villages and make cheese. We offered them a market price and signed a contract. Now they already have more than 20 items on the menu and they do not work only with us. There are places like this, you have to look for them.

In the future, local, agricultural products can be bought not only directly from manufacturers, but also from large suppliers, believes Sergei Miroshnikov: “When you are alone, your voice is not heard much. At 10, they already start listening to you. And when 1000, you are already done. The market adapts itself and gives you an offer. Until there are many of us, until we realize that we deserve something, there will be no offer. The question is all within us. “

Not all local producers are ready to supply products to restaurants

The “Farm Trout” is located in Mikhailovsk, in the Sverdlovsk region, 135 km from Yekaterinburg. The farm operates restaurants, but most of the fish still go retail – to ordinary people.

According to Ekaterina Sboeva, co-owner of the farm, there are two reasons for this. The first is that restaurants need big fish and Mikhailovsky just does not have time to grow to that size – they break it down. “Restaurants need big trout – from three kilos. We do not have such big fish. Look: it takes us three years to grow a fish from egg to kilo. Someone has less, but the water temperature limits us. In our facilities we can grow fish up to one and a half, up to two kilos at most. “But so far we are not in time, because there is more demand than volume.”

And the second reason is that the farm’s volumes are only enough to work in retail, and selling this fish in bulk is just unprofitable: “Selling all the fish at a wholesale price and leaving our retail customers without everything is not an option. for us . “In three years, we may reshape, but definitely not this year,” said Ekaterina Sboeva.

Authentic cuisine as a conceptual solution

And yet, podcast guests believe that regional vendors are the future. And the most promising way is not just the replacement of individual imported ingredients with locally, but the development of local gastronomic traditions. For chefs, this is an opportunity to prove themselves, to find their face.
An impressive example is the Authentic Ural Cuisine movement. Several chefs and concept bartenders from the cities of the Urals collaborated to spread local cuisine and gastronomy.
“We have such a national problem: we keep saying that our neighbor is better. The feeling that you are somewhat different is formed by generations. And we tried in a different way “, comments Sergey Miroshnikov. – We are proud of the place we live and we have our own cuisine, our own food, our own products. We do things in a way that no one else does, because it is us and the experience of our lives. Therefore, we worked with chefs from different parts of the Urals to study how it is – the cuisine of the Ural peoples and to talk about it.
The Authentic Ural Cuisine project has been around for two years. The ideologues of the movement hold gastronomic dinners, master classes, researches and festivals. For example, in January 2022, a Festival of Local Tastes was held, which was attended by 45 institutions from 19 cities. And this is not just the Urals: there were, for example, Vladivostok, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Simferopol. As it turned out, many areas have “authentic” capabilities, the only question is whether the chefs are ready to come together to understand and promote gastronomic traditions together.
“There are a crazy number of people and projects all over the country. Somewhere there is no established cuisine yet, but somewhere, in terms of marketing, the place is even cooler than ours. It’s all southern cuisine. Not long ago they started talking about Kuban cuisine. Among the latest discoveries is an idea such as arctic cuisine, which was started to be instilled by Katya Shapovalova from Murmansk. “Our advantage is that we came together and showed by our example that you can not compete, but do something together and get a great result.”

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