CHICAGO: It was something that Nick Kokonas and Grant Achatz never thought possible. That they would be selling an Alinea on the Go menu.
But the closure of Alinea as well as other restaurants of the group which includes Next, The Aviary, Roister and St. Clair Supper Club meant that they needed to do something to bring back staff to at least work part time.
What they have come up with are simple menus. Within a few days, they have managed to sell out over 2,000 meals which means that they will be able to bring back more staff members to work on the concept.
Nick Kokonas, who is also the founder and CEO of Tock, a restaurant experience booking engine, is being transparent about all this and intends to open source his business plan to help other restauranteurs in this time of crisis.
The menu for the first week for Alinea to Go was a Wellington Short Rib together with 50-50 mash and a creme brulee.
“Our goal is to make profit,” he said on Twitter, “so that we can share it with team members, rotating in staff so that they have at least part-time jobs. Any excess money that goes beyond paying overhead will go to all staff not to owners or investors.”
Asked how they were ensuring that the staff were safe, he said that they were screening temperature, ensuring staff worked with gloves, ensuring distancing and also having mandatory regular hand washes for every single employee.
The price per person for the Alinea to Go meal is $34.95 per person. He added that interestingly, through Alinea, they have also been able to sell $5,600 of Margarita kits. “We’ve been doing this all wrong for years,” he said.
For Next, they have revisited a popular Italian menu and are serving handmade rigatoni with vodka sauce, a caesar salad and a cheesecake for dessert.
For Roister, they have created a family meal with a fried chicken sandwich, tomato soup, cherry torte.
“As a result we have already hired back staff,” he said.