The enormity of the current recession on the culinary industry will be harsher for some than others. The reason for this may have nothing to do with the way a restaurant is run; the way the staff treats the customer, or the style and quality of the food.
However, these are all factors that contribute to the equation of success. Yet some owners have lost focused on what the true foundation of the business is built on: service, entertainment, quality food, enjoyment, value and comfortable ambiance.
Here is a tale of two operations that both handle their operations differently. One is a nationally known multi unit group, backed by a celebrity chef; the other is a small local operation with two units and a chef that boasts his local celebrity on the plate, mixing in quality, in not only the food, but also the service, value and hospitality.
Last week my wife, Kranston had a business meeting with clients in
A major Faux Pas especially in a joint bearing such a well thought of professional. Now this doesn’t mean, for an instance, that Charlie is to blame. Just because his moniker is on the door certainly doesn’t mean that Charlie knows anything of the problem. Once again, this is a lending situation where a chef has been roped into the land of brand and extracted from the focus of service, quality and hospitality.
Now most restaurants would have compensated their guests in some ways, and I am sure if Charlie were on premise he would have fulfilled every restaurant owner’s instinctive ability to send over a drink, dessert, or complimentary appetizer. One of the first rules of a backed up kitchen is to prepare an inexpensive appetizer that has a perception of expense and deliver it between courses with the chef’s compliments. Bruschetta costs nothing and goes a long way. But Charlie, it seems, has overlooked such a policy that was once standard in his early days of struggle and toil in
The total opposite is true at many small, locally owned and operated restaurants. Take one of my favorite restaurants in the country, Sea Thai Bistro. Under the completely focused direction of owner, Chef Tony Qunpamornchi, Sea Thai’s staff is completely attentive to every detail in the dining room. We all know the talent and art of being able to pan a dining room and pick out the missteps that are happening is an instinctive characteristic of successful owners. Qunpamornchi instills that talent in his staff. Continually gracious, the chef is frequently seen walking through the dining room offering complimentary appetizers to his clientele. He is a master not only with the fare of his native land, but the art of hospitality that makes the word’s great restaurants renowned.
The comparison above is not meant to tarnish Charlie Palmer- he is a very talented chef and owner, but it is written to prove one thing: no matter who you are in this business, mistakes and inefficiencies happen. Don’t think just because you are a single, or small group operator that you are the only person in the industry facing the trials and tumultuous tribulations of potential success or failure. Even the big guys with sparkling reputations have difficulties and problems to deal with.
The outcome, however, has to do with how you address the problem, resolve it with the customer, and then address it and solve the problem with your staff so it doesn’t happen again – in the near future.
When you master that, you are on your way, possibly to that big restaurant in