New experiences are everywhere, we seek them out when searching for the next big thing. But when discussing dishes we love, “different” is never part of the conversation, we want these dishes to live forever in our minds. Consistency also comes through the chef’s understanding of his team, unrealistic personal expectations lead to inconsistent products by default.
Chefs want to be creative but creativity doesn’t build consistency. It’s the discipline following the creative process that leads to beautiful, delicious food every night. The other trick is making this discipline seem effortless on the plate, no one wants food that looks too deliberate.
Cooking is Sport
It’s not about what you can do once, it’s about what your team can do every day over and over again. Cooking in this manner is a team sport, winning a single match or one game doesn’t make you a champion.
It’s the intense training, skill and teamwork that allows kitchens to perform at a higher level. Every individual must understand their role and importance within the team, without clarity and alignment consistency is next to impossible.
What is this most successful restaurant in the world?
By success I’m talking about annual profits, brand recognition and consistency of production. Consistency is similar to trust, once you build trust through consistency guests are willing to invest in your work. To create a loved experience and continually replicate this on a daily basis is money in the bank when concerning food. It sounds so easy but it’s exactly the opposite, producing a simple and delicious product is often the key. People can relate to simplicity and production is easier to control with fewer steps in the process.
Hand in Hand
Kitchen, kitchen, kitchen. We are always talking about the kitchen, but guests don’t eat in the kitchen and chefs don’t deal with complaints or shuffle tables. Consistency is an unbroken chain beginning front of house and ending front of house. It doesn’t matter how amazing the food is, if both teams don’t sync then consistency goes out the window.
Understanding is the missing factor, many chefs grow up wanting to be chefs but there is rarely a waiter who dreamed of carrying plates. Finding passionate dedicated service teams who love what they do is more challenging than finding great chefs.
Great waiters are like psychologists who work with multiple patients at the same time, crazy people on the floor and absolute nutters in the kitchen. Having the right associates front of house is more important than the most talented chef in the kitchen. Front of house you are selling yourself as well as food, guests expect you to be charming, polite and happy every single day. There are very few people who can thrive with this daily responsibility, if you have one of the 10% do everything you can to celebrate them. Make their importance clear to the whole team, and pay them what they are worth.
So go ahead, order another plate.