Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Food Appliance Robot

Restaurant sign of robot comprised of various kitchen appliances.

Image description: Restaurant sign of robot comprised of various kitchen appliances. The head is a toaster, neck a frying pan, body a kitchen stove, feet are baking pans and hands holding tea tray and cutlery.

CC Licensed image courtesy of flickr user Zen Sutherland

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Roving Restaurants

picture of a sign that simply states "food"
I love Maine and moved back here because of the access to the lakes, mountains, rivers and the ocean. However, at times, the lack of choices is maddening. I realize that small urban centers can't support separate Brazillan, Thai, (proper)Mexican, Japanese, Middle Eastern/ North African restaurants simultaneously.

I'd love to see a number of restaurants pool their resources and create a circuit for chefs where the restaurant is more of just a location and the food changes. Rather than a rotating menu, you would have a roving restaurant.  The schedule of a single location could change on a nightly basis where one night you have Brazillan food, and the next Middle Eastern the next Thai.  The chef teams would change location each night, or every few nights to a different location (ensuring an equitable distribution of week night and week end nights for each team at each location). Wait staff could be stationery and belong to the location, as could other core restaurant staff such as the hostess, bar staff and busboys and dishwashers.   They could be trained to serve the different dishes and work with the different chef teams.

This obviously poses bigger issues such as staffing, product/ supplies, preparation and equipment. The basic kitchen equipment would be the same regardless of the specialty and there would be a few specialized pieces.  Items could either be ported or have an individual one at each location.

If there were more than one circuit running, other chef teams could do guest nights in a location.  So, chefs from the coast could come inland and do a night in the central part of the state offering unique specialist seafood or a team from a well known restaurant could do a guest stint at the restaurant.   This might allow restauranteurs to test the market for a particular type of food or offer specialist nights in a location. 

Though challenging for the staff, roving restaurants would allow small urban markets to get a range of unique and ethnic foods and that the location always has something different to offer and  filling the restaurant with different clients every night.  It just might be the solution to the high rate of failure in the restaurant industry.

"Food" sign courtesy of Flickr user Kevin Harber. Be sure to check out his Generic Sign Project for more great signs.

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