START A CRÊPERIE
1: Location, Location, Location
Hi traffic areas are essential to your business where customers are drawn by adjacent destinations. Shared parking areas are desired. Do not count on novelty or reputation to bring customers over a distance or away from traffic. Check with your local city planning commission and comply with local ordinances and obtain the necessary permits.
There are two primary manufacturers of professional crepe griddles, Krampouz and Equipex.
Krampouz griddles are made in Brittany, France.
Equipex griddles are made in Rhode Island.
Both of these griddle manufacturers make 220 volt griddles at 3600 watts that reach temperature quickly and hold temperature uniformly across the entire surface. Both of these professional griddles have a griddle diameter of 15.75 inches. The Krampouz griddle has a rough machined top surface. This surface can be seasoned ahead of time to provide an almost non stick surface. A liberal amount of butter or oil can be used on an unseasoned griddle before every crepe. The Equipex griddle has a ceramic top surface that does not need seasoning. We recommend single griddles and not the very heavy double griddles. We do not sell griddles but you can call us for advice on competitive griddle features, seasoning, and cleaning. Griddles are available on distributor websites and sometimes on E-bay.
4: Preventing Crepes From Sticking To The Griddle
Oils used for seasoning or oiling the top surface of the griddle include vegetable oil, rice oil, and sun flower oil. Olive oil will leave a taste on the crepes. We prefer vegetable oil. Butter can be used on unseasoned griddles and will make the crepes buttery if that is what you want. Seasoning a griddle surface requires setting the griddle temperature to about 550˚F and then applying oil generously with the oil spreader. The oil will hydrolyze into a solid and generate a lot of smoke so maintain adequate ventilation. This operation takes about ten minutes per application and requires about ten applications. This will result in an almost non-stick surface on the griddle. We believe that the best crepes are those that are not oily. Therefore a light vapor of oil on the Krampouz seasoned surface or Equipex ceramic surface gives the best results. A few drops of oil on the oil spreader and then starting in the middle and spiraling out to the edge of the griddle will give a light vapor of oil on the griddle and wipe off any edge debris from the crepes. Do this after every three or four crepes to re-oil the surface and wipe off any debris that came off of the crepe edges.
Be careful when applying any crepe filling that has a lot of sugar content like jellies, preserves, honey, syrup, etc. Sugar will bond to a hot seasoned griddle surface like epoxy glue. The best way to remove bonded sugar from a seasoned surface is to use a one to two inch wide putty knife with a sharp edge. Put the edge of the putty knife on the griddle surface and up to the bonded sugar. Then push down on the knife so that the blade bends allowing the leading edge to be parallel with the griddle surface. Then wiggle the handle of the putty knife back and forth to allow the blade to cut under the bonded sugar. This is the only way to remove bonded sugar without pocking the seasoned surface. If a seasoned surface has a large area that is pocked, it will need to have the seasoned surface removed and re-seasoned. Removing the seasoned surface requires a pumice stone and wire brush. The stone is used to grind off the hot seasoned surface at 300 degrees. Use a thermal gloves to protect your hands. A wire brush is then used to get down into the grooves on the griddle surface and remove seasoning in the grooves. Once this is done, the surface should be wiped clean and then re-seasoned.
The ceramic surface on the Equipex griddles will slowly build up a carbon deposit. This deposit can be removed with Carbon Off.
5: Setup Around The Griddle
We recommend using one, two, or three single griddles rather than double griddles. Single griddles are much easier to lift and move or send out for repair. One griddle can be used at low temperature for applying the fillings on crepes. Customers love to watch crepes being made but they do not like to wait for theirs. Depending upon counter top space, the bain-maries containing batter should be right next to each griddle along with the batter spreaders and their bowls.
6: Crepe Making Technique – View Videos Here
A: Griddle at 400˚F
B: Griddle lightly oiled if ceramic or seasoned.
C: Griddle heavily oiled or buttered if not seasoned.
D: Pour batter onto center of griddle from six ounce ladle.
E: Spread batter with water wet batter spreader keeping the handle low and working in spiral motion from the center of the griddle out to the edges.
F: Flip crepe using stainless spatula after about forty five seconds. The first cooked side is called the dark side.
G: Remove crepe and put on plate after about thirty seconds. The second cooked side of the crepe is called the show side.
7: Caution: Avoiding Over Cooked Tough Crepes
Avoid adding crepe fillings while the crepe is on the hot griddle. This will increase the probability of overcooking the crepe and make it very tough. Transfer the crepe to a warm griddle or surface and then apply the fillings.
8: Ingredients Costs, Menu Prices, Sales Margins
The delivered cost of Alamarra crepe mix per 14 inch diameter crepe will vary between 45 and 75 cents. The cost of fillings will vary between 15 cents and $1.75. The cost of toppings can vary from zero to 50 cents. Totaling this all up, the cost of ingredients can vary between 60 cents for an inexpensive honey and lemon crepe to about $3.00 for a gluten free buckwheat crepe with smoked salmon and ricotta cheese. The menu prices for crepes generally vary from about $4.00 for an inexpensive basic honey and lemon crepe to about $8.00 for a buckwheat crepe with smoked salmon and ricotta cheese. Sales margins of 60% are common for both savory and desert crepes. Depending upon traffic and volume, a creperie should yield a good profit margin after covering the costs of rent, utilities, labor, and licenses.