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Harvard Business Review have released some notes from a report that suggests chefs who can see the diners they’re cooking for will produce tastier food.
The study, conducted by Harvard Business School alongside The University College of London, set up four different scenarios at the same restaurant over a two week period and documented a number of results.
The scenarios were as follows: a restaurant in which diners and the cooks could not see each other, one in which diners could see the cooks, one were cooks could see the diners and one were both the cooks and diners could see each other.
The finding show that when cooks could actually see their diners, the food served was judged to be of a higher quality than when they couldn’t.
This satisfaction level was even higher in the scenario where cooks and diners could see each other. As Ryan W. Buell, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School, explained: “Customer satisfaction with the food shot up 10% when the cooks could see the customers, even though the customers couldn’t see the cooks. In the opposite situation, there was no improvement in satisfaction from the baseline condition in which neither group could see the other. But even more striking, when customers and cooks both could see one another, satisfaction went up 17.3%, and service was 13.2% faster. Transparency between customers and providers seems to really improve service.”
The researchers went on to argue that this visual link between the chef and the customers they serve increases job satisfaction, a feeling of appreciation and in turn improves motivation. The researchers even found entire kitchen tasks were changed when the link between dining room and kitchen was made more transparent. “During the experiment we had an observer in the kitchen taking notes and timing service. Normally, chefs would make eggs on the grill in advance adding them to plates as needed and often overcooking them”, explained Buell. “When we turned on the screens and the chefs saw the customers, they started making eggs to order more often.”
There’s the answers. If you want to motivate your staff, improve job and customer satisfaction and increase the quality of the food leaving you kitchen, just create a direct link between the kitchen and the staff. The restaurant used in the above scenarios didn’t have an expensive open plan kitchen, links were actually made using simple video cameras and touch screen devices.
See the full report.