Dish of the Day: Are chefs and restaurateurs expanding too quickly?
I recently overheard someone saying that chefs and restaurateurs often grow too quickly, expanding at a rapid rate in often multiple continents. Much has been said about Gordon Ramsay’s explosion a few years back, and how some of the places aren’t faring too well now, and use him as an example when other chefs start branching out. Danny Meyer, one of the most respected restaurateurs in the industry, waited quite a few years before opening Gramercy Tavern, then a few more before he started to contemplate other locations like Tabla & The Modern.
Jason Atherton is probably the best example today of a chef who is opening lots of restaurants in a relatively short space of time. The question is, why are some people so quick to say ‘it’s too fast’?
I have to admit that I felt the same way; as much as I admired his drive, I struggled to understand how it would be possible to keep control over so many locations and keep the standards high. But, and it’s a very big but; every meal I’ve eaten at Pollen St Social and Social Eating House have always been sublime.
So that got me thinking, I now think there is an argument for ‘if you have the infrastructure, meaning people ready to step into head chef positions and management positions, why not take the risk?’ If you wait, the opportunity may pass you by, the chefs could get restless and be tempted elsewhere. If you feel secure and are surrounded by people you trust, that have your best business interests at heart, why not have a shot at the title?
I’m not saying things have to be rushed, but that situations should be judged separately. And, if the restaurant is rocking it, maybe they shouldn’t be judged at all.
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