Kruse’s Korner – Spring 2016
AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
This year we are proud to introduce the Good Time Kruser Award. This annual award will be bestowed upon an employee who embodies the principles upon which the company was founded and is a guiding force in our operations. To qualify, one must first be a good person. Any company worth its salt knows that to succeed they must only employ people who are good to the core. Secondly, they must treat others the way they wish to be treated.
This year’s recipient is Adam Wolfbauer, affectionately known as “Wolf,” the Assistant Kitchen Manager at Kruse & Muer on Main. Adam has been with us for 12 years and has proven to be capable, hardworking and well-respected by his co-workers. However, the feedback we frequently receive from our guests regarding his conduct is what made him stand out.
On several occasions I’ve heard from guests about how Adam had come out of the kitchen to address their dietary concern or request, or taken a kid into our kitchen to demonstrate how we make our pizzas, or shared his passion for working in a kitchen with a school class on a field trip (who still talk about him to this day.) This kind of enthusiasm cannot be taught. It comes from within, and you either have it or you don’t.
Over the course of time, businesses will come and go. The ones that will be remembered are those that embrace and encourage the Good Time Krusers of the world. I’m proud to say that we have quite a few in our organization, most of whom go about it quietly, like Adam. It’s only when our guests are so impressed by our employees’ actions that they single them out and go out of their way to tell us. When that happens frequently, it is important that we publicly recognize that example of excellence.
We all want to congratulate Wolf…this year’s “Good Time Kruser”.
2015 was not only a great year, but actually the company’s best year ever. Every year, we begin with a comprehensive plan prepared months in advance, which allows us to manage every shift, every day, to monitor sales projections and costs to assure budget achievement. This plan is our goal, but the reality is that it’s just numbers on a sheet of paper. It is our great associates who actually grow our businesses. We recruit and train quality people, continually develop and implement new recipes, plan attractive promotions and spend time on the restaurant floors interacting with our guests. I’m very proud of this year’s effort, and the results speak for themselves. We always seem to go from one thing to the next without ever having much time to reflect upon the successes of what was just accomplished. So it would be very wrong of me not to acknowledge and thank all the wonderful people who make up the Kruse & Muer family, because without YOU we are nothing. So many people were involved in this year’s success and all the hard work that went into it.
Thanks to everyone for all that you did to make 2015 our Best Year Ever!
THE WORLD OF SOCIAL MEDIA
As I laid out my personal goals for 2016, I committed to “getting with” the world of social media. I understand this is where everything happens today, and that our restaurants need to formally and professionally establish themselves. I have chosen to do so beginning with Facebook. I’ll have to admit that I didn’t even know how to access it, or what I would be looking for once I did. As I got clued in a bit, I first asked my grandkids if they would “Friend” me…denied. My work associates….denied. My wife… denied. So…as the president of the company, I declared to those I could, ”You have to!”
During my introduction, I was absolutely amazed at how these things work and how so many people communicate with one another without doing so in the “traditional” sense of the word. What I have learned is that if there is something we want our guests to know, one of the quickest ways to communicate is by using this technology.
So, here I go. With the helpful guidance of Kelly Lupu, our Director of Marketing, and Greg Evans of Synectics Media, who we have contracted to assist us with our social media efforts, I’ll be posting some pretty cool stuff for Kruse & Muer Restaurants on Facebook. So please…DON’T DENY ME…and do respond. I’m looking forward to interacting with you.
HEADING INTO THE FUTURE
The new generation of chic, modern-looking restaurants popping up in Detroit with chef-influenced menus seems to have mass appeal, and I can see why. I love them too, and was inspired by them to make some changes in our restaurant, starting with Kruse & Muer on Main. This past fall we were closed for six weeks for updating and remodeling. The results have been better than expected. It looks great and the introduction of the new menu items has been a big hit. We have found that today’s diner seems to be more willing to try new things. Chef Chris and I spend a lot of time working on items that sound good, look good and taste good. We want uniquely prepared entrees paired with to-die-for accompaniments. I am excited about our new menu items, and based on the great response we’ve had from them, I have committed 2016 to adding even more things that are created with the “wow factor” in mind (a labor of love for me, honestly).
Not only are we working on items for our existing properties, we are developing menus for a new concept and investigating locations for same. I’ve been spending time with my friend and designer of 40+ years, Ron Rea. Ron designs most of the new restaurants in the area and has a natural gift for creating the unexpected. We have made a proposal on a familiar location in our area and we’ll know soon if we have a deal or not. Look for a combination of affordable, “wow factor” food with a new Ron Rea design. We’ll keep you posted on our progress and search.
CARIBBEAN FOODS FESTIVAL
More than 20 years ago, my Mom and Dad introduced Cindy and me to Grand Cayman. Since then, we have been lucky to spend a little time there every year. We are surrounded by beautiful skies, blue waters, sugar sand beaches, great weather and happy people, which quickly reminds me of why I love it there. This is especially true when the kids join us. Casey and I are both early risers and scuba dive every morning on one of the world’s greatest reefs, only to be back on shore by 10 a.m. when everyone else is having breakfast. Late mornings and early afternoons are spent on the beach – in the sun, in the water, reading, snorkeling, throwing the football and just relaxing until the conversation turns to what we are doing for dinner.
As a restaurant family, eating out is an experience, and every restaurant is a competitive shop. We look at everything, including the staff, equipment, layout and design, but are usually most interested in the food. We are always looking for new food ideas to introduce back home. We’ve discovered so many delicious foods throughout our visits there that 10 years ago we changed our Winter Promotion to the Caribbean Foods Festival so that we could share with you what we have found and love.
This year’s favorite was Blackened Mahi Mahi with Tropical Fruit Salsa & Island Rice. You’ll have the opportunity to try it when it is featured in the restaurants, but in case you want to make it at home, here’s how…
Caribbean Mahi Mahi with Island Rice and Tropical Fruit Salsa
Blacken four 6-8 ounce portions of Mahi Mahi by brushing the fish liberally with vegetable oil and sprinkling all sides with Cajun seasoning. Cook 2-3 minutes per side in a preheated, oiled, black cast iron skillet.
Island Rice Preparation
Boil white rice in mix of 3 parts chicken broth and 1 part heavy cream in place of water for amount of time listed on package. Melt ½ stick of butter in large sauce pan, add and sauté ½ of a diced sweet onion. Add in cooked rice and remove from stove. Stir in 1 cup crushed pineapple, 2 tablespoons Coco Lopez, 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice, ½ teaspoon salt and an additional ½ stick of butter. Mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
Place blackened Mahi Mahi onto plate and brush with melted butter. Serve one spoonful of rice alongside. Top fish with 3 ounces of store bought tropical fruit salsa. Garnish rice with toasted coconut (if desired).
Nice Addition – Caramelized Bananas
Cut banana into thirds on bias. Sauté in butter until caramelized.
Serve along with fish and rice.