What is your food quality really like?

February 14, 2022
Paul Rifkin

Is the quality of the food you serve important to your club? Or is it something you just don’t want to bother with?

A question with an obvious answer … or is it? 

Are you happy that items like your fish and chips can be served anywhere by anyone?

The reality is that customers are now more selective than ever before. They have had a hard couple of years and are keen to get back to dining out, but they’ve had time to reflect on what that looks like to them.

Serious question: why do you have chefs when a competent cook could open a box and deep fry or slit a bag and pop the contents in the oven? When a customer can buy the same item you serve on your menu from a supermarket and cook it themselves, why are they going to your venue?

There are a number of items where a decision has to be made regarding made in-house or bought in. The problem is that few actually test this; a cut and paste approach to the menu from a supplier brochure is the new normal.

Major chef and staff shortages might even dictate which direction you go.

So, if everyone is doing it, does it matter?

Maybe not. It depends if you want to stand out from your competitors, or not. Perhaps you are only trading at 50 per cent due to to the quality of your food. A change in the way you view quality could actually grow your customer base and retain existing customers.

“We don’t have the trained staff”, “It costs too much in labour”, “The food goes out slower”,  “Fresh food goes off quickly” …  I’ve heard all the retorts.

Yet if you ask the customers, the answers I hear are “We would pay more for better quality”, “The food is boring”, “Nothing changes”, “We wish they had x, y or z on the menu.”

Many venues in states that didn’t have lockdowns like in New South Wales and Victoria traded strongly and reduced menu size due to staff shortages. They adjusted quality up and increased prices to support this change. The result was strong trade through challenging times.

Customers have become pickier and expect better.

I encourage you to independently quiz your customers. Get to really know your demographic and establish who your potential customers are.  This could be four times larger than your present customer base.

I challenge you to accurately assess the idea of raising your food quality so that customers are happier and the kitchen team is more motivated about cooking, rather than opening boxes and bags.

Seek professional help if required to assist in the process.

Just a thought.

chefpaulrifkin consulting / Club Mentoring and Fine Tuning Specialist

chefpaulrifkin@hotmail.com / www.chefpaulrifkin.com.au


Chef Paul RifKin

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