Recently I've been trying to fine tune my concept for my own restaurant and I am starting to put my chicken scratch into a formal proposal of some sort. This is an interesting time only because reading and trying to understand chicken scratch can be a monumental effort at times. One of the more intriguing underlying questions or ideas that I have found to be common in my research is the basic necessity of service or product in a restaurant. What defines what a restaurant should or should not have? Is trend dictating a restaurant's focus and sustainability away from food?
And when did it become wrong to have a restaurant be primarily focused on food? Too many restaurants want to throw in big giant bars, flashy modern design and cocktails, but isn't that a problem when success is hinging on an associated bar concept. People are flocking nowadays to street food and gourmet carts for exactly 1 purpose: the food. And if you take the most fundamental of ideas, shouldn't that be the first and foremost thought for creation? I understand that people love to go to restaurants that can offer multiple sources of entertainment, but are there too many places that have deviated to this model?
A focus on food allows you to remove all the clunky, costly clutter that doesn't necessarily contribute to the diner's food experience. It also allows you to assess the focus of service from only one perspective and not three: bar service, table service, diner services (e.g. sommelier, event staff, extra FOH). And once you are able to simplify the experience to one focus, you can then be pragmatic about how to provide that service. Yes, people will tell me that service has been done a certain way for centuries, but I will counter that people also did bloodletting, human sacrifice and slavery for centuries too and only one of those things are cool (not slavery).