When you’re running a home meal delivery service, things tend to come up rather quickly. You need to keep on top of trends and changes in customer demand, cook fresh food daily, and ensure that your team are consistently executing quality recipes. As a result, you might find that you have to put out a call for help on social media from time to time, just to get someone to look at your recipes and give them a try. That’s how you end up with a whole list of copywriting clients who, for one reason or another, weren’t able to make it onto your personal chef’s roster.
While it’s always nice to have extra money coming in, it’s also important to keep a healthy bookkeeping balance sheet in order to avoid any surprises down the line. To that end, below we’re going to run down the year in review for chef-owned brand Pfaltzgraff, so you can get an idea of how much revenue they generated and how much money they spent.
The Year of the Kitchen Remodel:
2018 was a year of major kitchen remodelings for chef-owned brand Pfaltzgraff. After a busy year of selling their food truck and catering business, the brand decided to re-invent themselves as a full-fledged restaurant. To launch their new restaurant concept, they turned to HOK (Homesick Oregon Kitchen) for help, and hired local architects and contractors to create the perfect space for their grand opening.
To celebrate the end of their culinary school journey and the beginning of their professional one, chef-owner Kurt Gutenbrunner and his team hosted a big chef’s brunch to showcase their culinary creations. The restaurant space was decked out in all white, featuring large communal tables and a bar serving craft beers, ciders, and mocktails. Brunch was served all day, with a range of dishes from omelets to waffle houses, and eggs benedict at lunchtime and dinner. The restaurant also offered mac and cheese balls, fried chicken strips, and an elaborate dessert plated buffet for the guests to enjoy.
The restaurant’s name, Pfaltzgraff, is German for ‘peppergrass’. The German community in Oregon is very traditional and loves their spicy foods, so it’s no wonder that they gave the restaurant a German theme and name.
The Year Of The Marketing Campaign:
Marketing is undoubtedly one of the most important factors behind any business’ success or failure. For a restaurant that relies heavily on word of mouth (i.e. most of their business comes from referrals), creating and executing a solid marketing plan is critical for garnering a following and encouraging repeat customers. In that respect, chef-owned brand Pfaltzgraff did a great deal of research to formulate a marketing strategy, and launched a series of online and offline marketing campaigns to promote their brand and grow their business.
Firstly, they launched a weekly dinner party to celebrate German culture and cuisine, with all the trimmings and festivities that come with it. Every Friday evening at 6 pm, Kurt Gutenbrunner and his team throw a ‘German-themed’ dinner party at their restaurant, featuring wurst, sauerkraut, and potato salad served by a Chef in lederhosen. The chef encourages guests to join him in dancing to the German techno music playing in the background. Every week, his Instagram account features a roundup of the previous week’s events, along with new menu offerings and photos of the food.
Aside from the chef’s Instagram account, the brand also runs a YouTube channel, where they highlight various German and American cultures’ cuisine through short-form recipes. This is a great way to both educate and entertain audiences, while also encouraging them to try new things.
To further encourage people to eat at their restaurant, they hosted a Twitter party where they announced the Grand Opening of their new space and shared their menu for the day. Additionally, they ran an online giveaway for one of their 4-ounce cans of sauerbraten, a German-style spicy beef, to encourage people to try their products and become familiar with them. The can was on-brand for the restaurant, bearing the slogan, ‘World-class Food, right here in Portland.’
The Year of the Restaurant Expansion:
Since its inception, chef-owned brand Pfaltzgraff has remained committed to growing their business through organic means. They expanded their reach to more markets by purchasing and renovating two nearby buildings, and opened Gutenbrunner’s Bierhaus, a German pub attached to the restaurant. The pub features German-inspired interior design, an outdoor picnic area, and a large bar serving craft beers, ciders, and mocktails. Additionally, they leased out space in their current restaurant, turning it into a co-working space to encourage collaboration and networking amongst local businesses.
The Year Of The New Product Line:
It’s well-established that American cuisine has become rather popular amongst the German community in Portland, so much so that they formed their own sub-culture and style of cooking. To celebrate this, chef-owned brand Pfaltzgraff diversified their product line and introduced a new line of sauerbraten condiments and seasonings. Inspired by the German folk festival known as Oktoberfest, they named their new product line ‘Obermeier’. Available in both hot and cold varieties, the line features a blend of white wine, brown sugar, and garlic, with a hint of hot pepper. The new products are widely marketed and sold throughout both the restaurant and the retail side of their business.
Although Kurt Gutenbrunner’s journey began with a food truck, it’s fair to say that he and his team are true polymaths when it comes to culinary creativity. They’ve not only created a new restaurant but have also given themselves a new food truck to serve as their premier means of delivery. The truck, which they affectionately call ‘The Beast’, is a two-wheeled culinary work of art, designed in the shape of a traditional German sausage, and is emblazoned with the brand’s logo.
As mentioned above, the German community in Portland is very traditional when it comes to their eating habits, so they tend to be very picky when it comes to their favorite restaurants and food trucks. In that respect, the brand has worked hard to gain and maintain a strong reputation amongst the community. To that end, they’ve become something of a role model for other restaurants and food trucks in the city, particularly for those looking to diversify their customer base and attract a more mainstream audience.