- David Shankbone
- David Chang, chef and owner of Momofuku.
Last week Chang released an article for GQ and it sheds light on the major issues facing the restaurant industry and foretells of a coming restaurant apocalypse. According to Chang, this oncoming catastrophe is due to a multitude of issues including chefs leaving the kitchen (because they're incredibly over-worked and disgustingly underpaid), tipping (which Chang just removed from one of his establishments), and restaurants being forced by consumers to sell food at a bare minimum:
"Our bowl of Momofuku ramen should cost $28. That would cover the true cost of the “food” plus a reasonable (and not remotely greedy) margin. I put “food” in quotes because every tiny part of a restaurant is in the cost of that dish, from dripping faucets to broken plates. But you know what? I sell that ramen for $17, because if I charged $28, people would say it’s too expensive." It’s on us, as restaurateurs, to get better at running our businesses (and break fewer plates), but the bottom line is that food needs to get more expensive for you, too.
- Momofuku Pork Ramen
We're already seeing it, you just may not know it yet. A huge issue is the persistent loss of good cooks, just last week, Pizzology and Libertine owner Neal Brown posted on his Facebook:
If you're wondering where all the cooks have gone, you may want to consider that they are now working in the FOH [Front of House] because simply said, they make more money. The traditional American restaurant financial model must be rethought.I've worked in restaurants. The kitchen staff works their asses off. I'm not saying servers and bartenders don't as well, they absolutely do. But they're not doing it over a burning hot flat top, covered in sweat, pulling pans out of broilers and burning their hands (or even worse having hot fry grease splash on them), accidentally slicing the tip of their fingers off and throwing on a little blue
So, cooks are heading out of the frying pan and into the fresh front of house air.
Check out David Chang's full article, The Earthquake That's About to Hit Restaurants.