WorldExecutivesDigest.com | 7 Smart Ways to Run the Best Authentic Italian Restaurant in Town | Italian cuisine is one of the most beloved in the world. For so many people, nothing defines comfort food better than pasta and pizza.
However, most pasta and pizza recipes these days are fusion creations, meaning they no longer have authentic Italian flavors. A lot of chefs call them bastardized versions of true Italian fare, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but this means they do not really deserve to be called authentic Italian dishes.
Thus, if you are thinking of opening an Italian restaurant, it’s imperative to stay true to traditional recipes, especially if you want to gain Italian diners’ approval. Famous chefs who are not from Italy say that the Italians are incredibly difficult to please because they are very traditional, particularly with food.
To make this easily achievable for your business venture, and to clinch the distinction as the best authentic Italian restaurant in town, here are some of the best tips you can follow.
1. Go to school.
If you lack professional culinary knowledge, then build it. Top culinary schools offer everything from a pizza chef certificate course to gelato training. These courses will serve as a good foundation for making a living out of great food. You’ll learn about the origins of recipes, the best ingredients to use, and how everything should be prepared and cooked.
Likewise, you’ll learn about all the devices or equipment to invest in to ensure a highly efficient and productive kitchen.
2. Look for apprenticeship programs.
Quite often, culinary schools also provide apprenticeship opportunities to their students, so you don’t always have to seek the program yourself. However, it will serve your advantage to take part in different apprenticeship programs with Italian chefs to bulk up the know-how you derived from school.
The most important benefit that you can derive from an apprenticeship program would be the experts’ techniques. You will be able to observe their unique approaches to work and determine the values and ways of doing things that not only make them successful but set them apart as well. It’s a learning experience that can prepare you even more for the business.
3. Take into account the external factors that create an authentic Italian dining experience.
A vital point of consideration for building an Italian restaurant is the ambiance. It’s not enough that you have the best-tasting Italian food; you need to focus on the overall experience, too, because that’s what Italian dining is all about.
Italians are big on togetherness. They like eating a meal together, which is why family dinners stretch deep into the night because everybody takes the time to be with family. And, for those outside of the family who are taking part in the experience, the communities look after them, too. Meals take place outdoors, making it easy to invite passersby to come and join in the feasting.
Therefore, invest in a warm and inviting interior that opens directly to an outdoor dining section. Likewise, make it a little rustic, because as unbending as Italians can be about their recipes, they are friendly people who are always ready to share a great meal with anybody. Plus, make music a part of the meals. Soft, happy background music never fails to set a good mood for mealtimes.
4. Know your wines.
Serving wine with a meal is often a luxurious treat in many parts of the world. However, for Italians, it is very much a part of their culinary culture. Thus, if you want ways to run the best authentic italian restaurant in town, study everything you can about the best vintages to pair with your offerings.
Naturally, Italian wines are the best options, but it’s still a good idea to have a selection of wines from different parts of the world. Having an extensive range of wines can elevate mealtimes at your restaurant because there’s a wine perfect for everything from your salads to your desserts.
If you take gelato training courses, you can expect a few classes discussing the best wine to have for different flavors of gelato, or wines that would be perfect to spike gelato flavors with.
5. Make your own bread and cheese.
Bread and cheese are staples in Italian meals. Thus, it’s best if your restaurant makes its own, which will be consumed heavily throughout the day.
Freshly baked bread and well-made cheese will reinforce the authenticity of the restaurant, and it will also show how much your Italian restaurant upholds quality. One of the known quality control strategies in the restaurant business is to make everything in-house.
That being said, aim to enroll in artisan bread making and artisanal cheese making classes. These courses will help you create all the different kinds of bread and cheese to serve with the dishes. Plus, you can sell them on their own and boost the restaurant’s sales.
6. Consider growing your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
Making Italian food more delightfully palatable are the fresh ingredients used for it. Nothing can beat the delicious goodness of fresh herbs and other produce. In big Italian restaurants, most of their ingredients come straight from the farms and into the kitchen. But, how much better would it be to actually have an herb and vegetable garden for the restaurant?
“Home-grown” produce will create a highly sustainable kitchen for your restaurant. Along with that, it will serve the image and reputation of the restaurant well.
7. Make your presentation beautiful.
Finally, food presentation can make a whole world of difference in the way people experience food. That being said, it will be beneficial for your restaurant to make sure that the way you serve orders is consistent with the images on the menu, and is as visually pleasing as possible.
It’s worth taking classes on food decoration and presentation as well. After all, eating is also a visual experience.
Studies show that restaurants are the most commonly opened new businesses, but they also are the quickest to throw in the towel. Among the factors behind a short operational lifespan are a confusing identity and poor product quality.
With the tips shared above, you’ll be able to overcome the prevalent reasons that prevent restaurant operation longevity and stand out completely as a high-quality Italian dining establishment.—
Shanaaz Raja is the Course Director at International Centre for Culinary Arts – ICCA Dubai.