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Restaurant Report E-mail Newsletter

For Hospitality Professionals and Food Connoisseurs

Issue #37 November 9, 1998

(This publication may be freely redistributed in its entirety)

In This Issue

* Feature Article
* Internet Tip
* Reader Feedback
* Bulletin Board

Feature Article

The New Chef
By Ron Gorodesky

In the past, the Chef was for the most part an obscure position, with those in the field relatively unknown by the public, underpaid and often unappreciated. Then the public relations experts figured that by marketing the Chef, the independents would have a leg up on the chains that couldn't market specific personnel. This ploy worked so well that some of these media darlings became SuperChefs, and grew their newfound fame into chains and even retail food lines.

The result of all this is that the public now seems more interested in the movement of known Chefs than in new restaurants. Restaurateurs are all vying for the same known Chefs, and committing huge free agent dollars to acquire these superstars. Hotels and casinos are paying dollars well out of proportion to economics just to gain affiliations with a Chef who will not only drive restaurant revenue, but hotel occupancy and casino handle as well.

So how does a restaurateur compete? How does an independent restaurant with a single 150-seat upscale take advantage of this trend? Some of you probably don't care to compete on this basis, and there are lots of reasons to avoid making your Chef the centerpiece of your restaurant. (I'll discuss this later.) But if you do, you have two basic choices: Hire the Name or Grow Your Own. Before we explore these options, we must first determine the proper ingredients for a SuperChef.

To become a SuperChef, an individual must of course have the culinary and management skills, but must also have creativity and personality. Creativity goes beyond presentation skills, to a willingness, desire and ability to innovate in preparation, flavors and textures. And to be attractive to the media a SuperChef candidate must have a distinguishable personality and be relatively well spoken.

So that's the basic recipe. To make it happen, you can:

Hire the Name. Chefs can of course be bought. Such a move can bring instant acclaim and hordes of new patrons to your door. However, aside from the expense, this type is prone to leaving for a better offer at any time, or spreading him or herself too thin over several projects. Best advice here: Make the Chef a partner in the business and have an ironclad employment agreement.

Grow Your Own. This is the preferred route if you can do it. You can usually get someone who is more loyal and besides, it should cost less. If you have a Chef who could grow into a SuperChef, then go for it. Do the following:

- Hire a PR firm to get the Chef in the media as often as possible
- Internally market the Chef at every opportunity (name on menu, presence on the floor, showcasing original specials). - Enter (and win) food competitions
- Get James Beard Foundation recognition
- Volunteer food items prepared by the Chef at hi-profile charity events
- Contribute recipes to the media whenever possible
- If you plan do the above, get an employment agreement first and consider making the Chef a partner in your business

Some restaurateurs get a chill going down their spine when they think of affiliating with or creating a SuperChef. With very good reason. As an example, consider the plight of a restaurant that hires a Chef, puts his name on the front door, builds their entire marketing campaign around him, and then watches him leave. Or the restaurant that develops a menu around a chef's capabilities only to see him walk out the door with the kitchen staff and all hope of recreating special menu items.

However, despite many restaurateurs' distaste for such a SuperChef, the public loves them. They will flock to their restaurants on Tuesday nights, and gladly wait an hour on Thursdays. Best of all, the named Chef is an independent restaurants best offense against a chain's clout. It is a rewarding yet treacherous road, yet isn't that what our business is all about.

Restaurant Advisory Services provides full-service consulting services to the restaurant and hospitality industries. For more information on RAS visit their website at *****

What's your opinion about "SuperChefs"? Let's hear what you have to say -- write to

Reader Feedback

**Next Post - Sport Stars & Restaurants

Brett Favre's Steakhouse in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin has received great reviews and pulls pretty good crowds. The MVP has even done a few special appearances there recently for invitation-only special events.

Joan Stewart, The Summit Group, LLC
Publisher, The Publicity Hound newsletter
3930 Highway O Saukville, WI 53080
Phone: 414-284-7451 Fax: 414-284-1737

**Next Post - Same Topic

Michael Jordan has lent his financial support, though not his name, to 160 Blue -- one of the finest new restaurants in Chicago. Although I am generally skeptical of restaurants owned by sports figures, 160 Blue demonstrates that mere association with a sports figure does not condemn a restaurant to mediocrity.

Chicago, IL

**Next Post - In response to last issue's Internet Tip on autoresponders.

Your autoresponder article made a good point that busy companies can utilize this technology as an HR function. But those using autoresponder must keep in mind that the autoresponse message must be relevant. As an example, I recently sent three different e-mails regarding three separate subjects to the same company. To my frustration I received the same exact "cut and paste" response. My summation: That company didn't care to take the time to answer my questions. Result: I took my business elsewhere. Conclusion: Always be aware of who e-mails you and what they are asking.

David Monroe -
de La Garza Public Relations
Houston, Texas

**Next Post

We are established for ten years in Bangkok, so receiving your Restaurant Report is enjoyable as we all have our daily little problems, and reading other restauranteur's is fun and makes ours look quite simple really.

Best wishes from the land of smiles.

Bruno Bischoff

Send newsletter feedback and comments to us at

Bulletin Board

"MANAGEMENT TIP OF THE WEEK" E-mail Newsletter for Restaurant Professionals is now available. Subscribe for free at the link below:

**Next Post**

Dear Restaurant Report:

I have recently visited your web site and I am very impressed. I am a student at a NY college doing research for a project, your site has provided me with a great amount of useful information.

The next project I am doing is a report on how to improve customer service and wait times for restaurant go-ers. It is for a Mock restaurant called "The All American". Here is the scenario:

"Your restaurant has recently become so busy that you can not accommodate the huge crowds. You are noticing that people are leaving to go somewhere else, What do you do?"

In order to gather research for this project, I have designed an On-line survey. I was hoping that you would help me spread the word about this survey.

It is located at the address below:

It will only take a few minutes to answer the questions and would help me gather a huge amount of data in order to address the scenario stated above.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this and any support and help you could provide.

Thank you,
Christopher Miller

**Next Post**

Dear Readers:
I have a problem in a small English Style Pub. It only seats about 80 people, but on Friday Night's, they come in like gang busters between 6 & 9 o'clock. We have a small Kitchen but are known for our good food. The main problem is There are four people on the floor, all taking orders and bringing them in helter skleter! This creates a problem big time in the kitchen. Does anyone have any solutions to making this a little more easier to handle!

Going Crazy in Ontario! --

**Next Post**

I am a 2 year manager working in a high volume kitchen who would like ideas from veterans on how to motivate kitchen staff and improve morale.

**Next Post**

The media & government is using a figure of 9000 estimated deaths a year due to foodborne illness.The actual number documented is 12.How about a little publicity on this gross misrepresentation?

Steve W.

**Next Post**

Can anyone recommend some "don't miss" restaurants in Atlanta? I'm more interested in the quality of the cuisine than the ambience.

J Souza -

Editor's Note: Did you check out our Best of the Best Atlanta Guide?

Note @ the Bulletin Board: If you can lend advice/assistance/comments etc. please respond to either the individual directly or to us at We'll summarize and post responses that we receive that would benefit the group.

NOTE: Please feel free to pass this newsletter along to anyone you feel it would be of value. You have our permission to print it out or email it to others as long as it is sent in its entirety including this message and the copyright below.

Copyright 1998 Restaurant Report

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