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 Post subject: Winning a Michelin star can kill a restaurant
PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 1:11 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:09 am
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Location: Newton, MA
How to keep amazing cooking affordable (from Boston Globe 12/22/13)

IF YOU FOLLOW the high-end food scene, you may have heard of a particular paradox: Winning a Michelin star can actually kill a restaurant. Starred restaurants often spend big to maintain their newly lofty status, which drives up food prices, which drives away diners, which sometimes drives them out of business.

Is it possible to break the cycle—and, generally, the cost traps that make top restaurants almost impossibly expensive for normal people? That’s the question behind a new study by Harvard Business School professor Gary Pisano. Pisano studied Davide Oldani, chef/owner of D’O in Cornaredo, Italy, which opened in 2003 and won a single Michelin star a year later. Pisano was drawn to the way Oldani had merged his culinary skills with a management consultant’s eye for efficiency. As a result, dinner at D’O costs around $68 per person—more than a burrito, but far less than you might pay at restaurants of similar esteem.

Pisano’s research—which was published as a business school case study and featured on the HBS website last week—shows how. To keep staffing costs low, Oldani’s chefs double as waiters. He is also “fervent about not wasting food,” charting the “edible share” of different ingredients (a sea bass is 47 percent edible, a hake is 60 percent edible, and a strawberry is 99 percent edible), and only using ingredients when they’re in season, and cheaper. He chooses glassware based on what Pisano calls “breakage costs.”

Of course, Oldani’s remarkable price-quality combination has made his restaurant inaccessible in a whole different way: If you want a table, be prepared to wait at least 18 months.

Kevin Hartnett is a writer in South Carolina. He can be reached at kshartnett18@gmail.com.


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 Post subject: Re: Winning a Michelin star can kill a restaurant
PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:03 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:36 am
Posts: 894
Location: Springfield, IL
Any positive review can damage a restaurant. Sudden growth in the number covers puts stress on the kitchen and front-of-house staff. The quality of the food and dining experience invariably declines.

Tim


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 Post subject: Re: Winning a Michelin star can kill a restaurant
PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 1:35 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:03 am
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Location: Portland, OR
Tim,

It doesn't *invariably* decline. Some restaurants thrive under the increased load; they hire more kitchen staff and better ones, and the front-of-house staff earn more tips so they work harder. It's generally a question of good vs. bad management (not that bad management isn't common, because it is).

I've also seen where restaurants which become much more popular cut the most time-consuming items from their menus. The problem is that often it's those items which made the restaurant popular in the first place. Ella's, once the top brunch restaurant in San Francisco did this at the same time they expanded the dining room, and they're in chapter 11 now.

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 Post subject: Re: Winning a Michelin star can kill a restaurant
PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 3:14 pm 
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I'm confused....don't they spend the $$ already on ingredients pre-star in order to earn the star? You wouldn't think that overhead would change that much afterwards.

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