Does Process Really Kill Creativity?
Process kills creativity….
How many times have you heard this by a chef or a restaurant? If you try to standardize what I do, you will ruin my ability to be creative. I need to be able to invent new things in the kitchen, not be stifled by you and your systems. My customers expect that!
The reality is so different. Let’s take an example:
During a visit in Spain, I was working to build and standardize recipes across a company. During site visits, I discussed this with a 20-year tenured chef and he was incredulous. What, he said? Shaking his head. I don’t need a recipe to make paella, I’ve been making it for decades and my customers love it. I said, you know what chef, you’re right! But, not everyone is you – what if we watch and document your recipe, so that the whole company can benefit from your experience, and we know what ingredients to buy, how much it costs…And, heaven forbid, if you’re not here, your customers won’t be disappointed. A smile creeped into his face and shook his head and said…OK. And that is what we did, pragmatic, but it works.
Customers come to your dining facility because of the food, among other factors. The chef is an amazingly talented chef. GREAT! So how do you know how to recreate that dish the same way, every time? How do you know what food to order based on your forecast? How can you ensure consistency in production and taste? How much does it cost? If your team is consistently winging it, you will end up with inconsistent delivery, unknown costs, wasted food and ultimately dissatisfied customers – the death of your establishment.
The reality is that process, systems and a way of working drives consistency in creativity. Your kitchen needs a repeatable process to enhance and encourage your culinary team to deliver day in and day out. You, as an owner or operator, need to know what to charge so you need to know how much it costs to create. You need to know the labor required to create each recipes so you can schedule accordingly. You need to source the best ingredients so you need a recipe and quantity. And, you need to make it the same each time, so you need to follow a process.
The good news is that your chef and culinary team can and must be a partner in implementing a food management process. You are not taking away creativity, you are enhancing their legacy through a repeatable process. Food for Thought.