Chef’s Tables / Open Kitchen: Helpful or Hindering?
Chef’s tables have been an institution in many restaurants for years, and open kitchens are starting to make a resurgence, so we decided to examine whether these are a hindrance for kitchen staff, or a method of accountability? Naturally, we would believe that this causes a hindrance, as having more eyes on you will increase stress levels, leading to the potential for more mistakes to be made. In addition to this, staff will be unable to use any kitchen shortcuts that may be standard in the industry, but would potentially be frowned upon by the general public.
If we accept this notion, kitchens will need to run a much tighter ship in order to remain both profitable and acceptable for viewing. This provides both customers and businesses advantages as customers will be allowed to experience the kitchen, while restaurants will be allowed to hone their craft and optimize the areas that they can in order to be efficient and presentable to those either at the chef’s table, or seated near the open kitchen.
If we continue to look at this from a business perspective, it allows you to weed out the staff that are either under performing, or aren’t following recipe and prep instructions, and either help them improve, instruct them to follow the instructions, or terminate their employment. It gives you a rough “grading” system to work with in order to optimize your staff to get the quality you demand.
Why do some customers enjoy seeing the inner workings of a kitchen? Sometimes this boils down to enjoying the atmosphere and energy of the kitchen, they’ve watched Hell’s Kitchen and want to experience it first hand, and some are just intrigued by the kitchen’s inner workings. Regardless of the reasons, customers enjoy being close to the action and being able to see the effort that goes into their food.
The question that ultimately remains is whether it’s a hindrance to restaurants, or another layer of accountability. This really comes down to the restaurant and how they operate. If the restaurant is on the up-and-up, this wouldn’t be an issue. If they are not, and either need facility improvements or to ensure their staff are properly trained, this is the perfect opportunity to do just that.