The Pros and Cons of Open Kitchen Restaurants
People are dining out more than ever these days, and it feels like a new neighborhood restaurant is popping up every week. That means there's a lot of options for the hungry foodies out there.
Already added avocado toast to your menu? Then there's another trend you can consider bringing to your restaurant.
Open kitchen restaurants have taken the dining industry by storm. Read on to find out the pros and cons, so you can decide if it's right for your business.
Pro: Show Diners You Have Nothing To Hide
An open concept restaurant gives diners a direct view into your kitchen. They can watch their food being prepped every step of the way. This type of transparency will put your diners at ease.
Sanitary food prep is key to a restaurant's lasting success. The care and attention of your cooks will show diners there's no chance of your food making them sick. This can be especially beneficial to people with food allergies who can ensure their dish is being prepared safely for them.
Con: Not Being Able To Hide Anything From Diners
Though your kitchen staff should always be running the cleanest kitchen possible, sometimes they can't keep up. On a busy night dishes might pile up and prep stations can get cluttered.
It's not ideal, but it's also a normal predicament. Even the finest restaurants find themselves in the weeds sometimes!
Having an open kitchen can make a stressful night even more stressful. In a closed kitchen, cooks can wait to take care of a small mess until you have a free moment. But in an open kitchen, cleaning can't be put off no matter how long your ticket times are.
Pro: Chefs Cook Better Food
In a closed kitchen, it's rare for chefs to see how diners are enjoying their food. In an open kitchen, they can literally watch people react as they taste their cuisine. This instant feedback can inspire chefs to raise their game.
Patrons will develop a better relationship with the chefs too. Watching the effort they put into crafting their meals will give them a better appreciation of each bite.
Con: Chefs Will Become Distracted
In an open kitchen, chefs can easily become distracted by what is happening on the floor. Patrons are watching them which might make them self conscious. Friends might come by and try to say hello.
This could mean productivity will slow and wait times for food will increase. To offset this distraction, you need attentive managers that can keep everyone on task.
Pro: Makes Diners Hungrier
Delicious aromas have been proven to awaken people's appetites.
The sights and smells of cooking are much more obvious when you're sitting next to an open kitchen. This could actually lead to people ordering more food than they planned. Which is great for your business - and for your kitchen team's morale, once they realise how popular the food is.
Con: Could Also Ruin Diners' Appetites
Most people's mouths will water after getting a whiff of your enticing cuisine. However, these aromas could also turn some patrons away.
Maybe you have meat on your menu, but you also have a large selection of vegan options. Because of this, your restaurant might be a destination for vegan diners to go with meat-eating friends.
If you change your kitchen to an open concept, the constant smell of steak cooking might turn off those plant-based patrons.
Pro: You Can Entertain Your Guests
Cooking shows have never been more popular.
With an open kitchen, you are giving your patrons a live kitchen show. The best thing is that unlike the Food Network, they actually get to eat what they are watching get made!
Con: You Could Also Bore Your Guests
If the process of making your particular cuisine is not exciting, watching it get made could have an adverse effect. People aren't that interested in watching chicken wings get dropped into a fryer.
In this situation, it may be better to use the open kitchen space for something more practical. A stage for live music is guaranteed to entertain guests more than an anti-climactic form of food preparation.
Pro: You Can Save Space and Money
If your restaurant is small, it may be difficult to find enough space for front of house and a kitchen. An open kitchen concept lets you fit both in the same room.
This will also help you save some money on bills. You'll only need to power one room with heating and electricity. If you're trying to be a green restaurant this will lessen your carbon footprint.
Con: Not Everyone Wants a Look Behind the Curtain
You may not want to let people see how your food is made. If you have a fast food restaurant, people already know they won't be eating the freshest food. But watching frozen hamburger paddies thaw in front of them is a little too much demythologizing.
Some things are better left behind the curtain. Sausage is great but you don't want to see how it's made.
Are Open Kitchen Restaurants Right For Your Business?
Open kitchen restaurants have their benefits and drawbacks like most things in life. But if it is right for your establishment, it can bring a lot of excitement and class to your business.