Top restaurants don’t necessarily need a top chef

Finding good staff is always a challenge but never has this been such a pressing issue than for the restaurant industry right now.

With Brexit, wider immigration challenges, long hours and historically low pay finding a good chef is no easy challenge.  Rather than focusing on how to attract the best talent, what we if simply thought outside the box – what if we don’t need a top chef?  Before you say it, no I’m not crazy – that’s right a good restaurant doesn’t necessarily need a top chef!

Imagine you limited the items on your menu to no more than 10 or 15 dishes and you trained junior staff to make each dish perfectly, suddenly you’ve removed the need for a specialist chef. Hire young, hungry, raw talent and train it! One group who are doing this exceptionally well is Mowgli, the Indian street food chain, with 5 successful restaurants and a 6th due to open later this year the concept seems to be working well.

So the next questions is, with so many dietary requirements these days – does having a very small menu reduce your appeal and limit your ability to succeed?
We used our own social media statistics to test this theory and guess what?! The more niche a menu, the easier it is to target a certain profile of customer and the higher the engagement online! It does have be said that a customer would rather you do one or two things very very well, rather than serve 50 average dishes.

As part of our service we work closely with our client to measure actual footfall from our social media campaigns and there is a very clear trend whereby limited menus lead to strong footfall.  Now clearly this approach does not suit every business, location and the local demographics can play a key part in the decision behind certain menu items but it certainly does raise the question – maybe less really is more!