When you work in the front of the house you rarely give any thought to
the power of a chef. Yet, without that chef, you would never fill your
restaurant dining tables. Unless that chef is a celebrity, the guests never see
him or her. That doesn’t mean the chef should be ignored by the staff and owner, though.
There is a growing realization that a chef can help a restaurant move to the
top of the charts.
Benihana Executive Chef Rethinks the Menu
A classic example of how a chef can create change can be found with
Benihana’s Nemoto. This chef took over a static environment, where nothing ever
changed on the menu, and redesigned it by addressing new food trends and ways
of eating. Sure, the basic format remains, the guests eat at a Hibachi table,
but their experience is newer; more exciting. This brings in new customers all the
Good Pastry Chefs Extend the Meal
In many of the country’s most exclusive restaurants, the pastry chef
does much more than bake. The pastry chef can help increase the average tab. By
keeping people at the restaurant’s dining tables through dessert, they offer a
great opportunity to upsell. Guests go out for a treat, and nothing says
decadence like an exceptional dessert. Tailoring your sweets menu with seasonal
tastes only increases the appeal.
Get Your Chef Out of the Kitchen
This tip can help you in two ways. First, getting your chef out of the
kitchen to say hello to guests makes the chef feel special. Few things thrill
high-end diners as much as getting to tell a chef how much they enjoyed the
food. Second, encourage your chef to make connections in the community. With
local sourcing being all the rage, establishing relationships with potential
distributors and small farmers may give you an in when special ingredients hit
You Don’t Need a Famous Chef
With chefs achieving celebrity status it can be tempting to overextend
yourself to hire someone with a name, especially if you are competing in a
tough market. It’s not necessary. Quality will always win out over name recognition.
Once you have established which style restaurant you wish to own, you will know
what kind of chef will suit you best. Furthermore, corporate chefs are
constantly on the move. Your company may have the opportunity to nab one at
Hiring the Right Chef
When hiring a chef, you want to make sure he or she is onboard with
your philosophy. Find out how the chef would cook your signature dishes, and
how he or she would adapt current items for greater appeal. Finally, evaluate
leadership skills. Not only does a chef need to lead in the kitchen, the chef’s vision has the power to create a
forward-looking active team.
With the right chef you will have no problem keeping your restaurant
dining tables filled, year round, and the food you present will be top notch.