The week in ideas, June 25, 2012

Two big, fancy ideas this week that most restaurants can't pull off. One great idea from a chain that usually doesn't do this kind of thing. One really, really bad idea. And a good rule of thumb for any new restaurant.

Idea #1: Rotate the star chefs. St. Regis Aspen Resort has teamed up with Food & Wine magazine for a new restaurant with a rotating staff plucked from the magazine’s Best New Chef award winners. The magazine’s staff members are also developing wine pairings and other offerings.

Idea #2: A $1,000 pizza. A tried-and-true gimmick: class up an ordinary menu item with fancy ingredients, slap a ridiculous price tag on it and wait for the media attention. The Bellisima Pizza from Nino's Restaurant in New York City features six kinds of cavier and Maine lobster among other ingredients. It’s a good way to find people with too much money on their hands.

Idea #3: Be transparent. In an uncharacteristically candid move, McDonald’s shows why its burgers look so much better in pictures than in real life. A novel move. Worth watching the video.

Idea #4: Operate a heroin ring out of your restaurant. Eighteen people, including owner Amado Pardo, were arrested from Austin restaurant Jovita’s last week for selling heroin. "The investigation into this organization revealed that Mr. Amado Pardo, AKA 'Mayo,’ led this criminal operation and was responsible for daily heroin trafficking," Austin police said. "The organized criminal drug operation was estimated to have daily sales between $3,400 to $6,250.” This isn’t Pardo’s first run in with the law. Police said he’d been convicted twice in the past for murder.

Idea #5: Have enough food. It’s the dream/nightmare of every new restaurant: people love you! But you run out of food on opening night cause there are so many people. "Closed until further notice," the sign outside Crowbar and Grill in Laramie, Wyoming, read after its grand opening. "Probably Monday. You guys ate and drank everything last night."


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