The rise of super star chefs
As Ferran Adrià stated a few years ago already during a Culinary Conclave on the Future of Food, the quality and awareness of cuisine is rising worldwide, influenced by internationally shared information through different media channel. From the Internet to food shows on television like MasterChefs or Top Chefs.
Indeed, this flow of information worldwide has created super star chefs such as Ferran Adrià, Heston Blumenthal, René Redzepi, Alex Attala or Alain Ducasse. Consequently, it has given a popular status for all the star chefs, mainly Michelin or World 50 Best Restaurants ones. Discover our full list of Michelin Star chef here.
Since then, everywhere in the world people get knowledgeable about food, love chefs and have a strong appetite for tasting awarded chefs’ cuisine. Furthermore, all the guest insights show the move from having diner in a restaurant to enjoying a culinary experience. In addition, new flavors, new techniques, surprising recipes embodied by a renowned or star chefs are key. Those expectations are essentials to please more and more demanding customers.
As a result, to feed this, top international chefs are opening restaurants in top trendy places in the world. For example 17 of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants have Western chefs managing the kitchen. Asia in general has become a real playground for chefs from Europe, Australia and North America. Think of Joel Robuchon, Pierre Gagnaire, Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, who have all opened restaurants from Shanghai to Singapore.
It seems like there is definitely inspiration to get from those big names. Discover our full list of Michelin Star chef here.
How can you surf on this trend?
If you are a F&B Director or an Executive chef in a fine dining restaurant, you can definitely play with this trend whether the target is to develop PR, drive traffic or increase revenue.
And of course, the best way to boost your revenue is to get your own award and be the star. From a global perspective the Michelin Stars are “the most credible” accolade. However, we all know that first, Michelin guide is not settled everywhere but above all running after a star means a large budget, a skilled staff and time. This is a luxury that not everyone can afford.
Furthermore, another smart move is to bring the stars to your place. Many of your peers have started this kind of events. The Oriental hotel in Bangkok is hosting International top chefs every year to stay at the top of the Thai culinary scene. The Sofitel Guanzhou in China has even created a culinary week around those star chefs to differentiate themselves on the market. Eventually, the renowned chef Troisgros in Brazil invite peers to create buzz in media.
Indeed, to promote your own restaurant, you can host star chefs in your restaurant. No need to have one of the superstars, many one or two Michelin star chefs are attractive enough to create media buzz, traffic in your restaurant and credibility to increase your revenue all year long.
Setting up a chef promotion is not that hard but it takes a lot of time. From finding the right star chef on the web but also reaching him! Then closing the deal, receiving the material and all the preparation stuff. Even the communication is quite complex. Of course the chef is not all day behind his computer and sometimes not speaking very good English… Some tips are useful to save time and to make them profitable. Discover our full list of Michelin Star chef here.
How to benefit from a star chef promotion?
A star chef promotion can be very successful if organized with the right choices.
First, you need to clarify what your objective is in order to define the ‘story’ you want to tell to your customers. If your objective is to do some PR, you need to choose the right chef that will attract the most the media. In many countries, a French or Italian star chef will score the most. Look also what your competitors are doing. In terms of lead times, starting your planning needs to take place from 6 to 3 months before the event so that you are able to book the chef and to maximize the media coverage upfront.
Hence, choosing the right chef is the key driver to make your promotion a success or not. Many use their own network but this has its limits. First, you will be able to do it only once. Secondly the chef may not really fit with your need. You should be demanding and make sure the chef’s style will fit with your own, mix with your staff. Being helped to select the right profile can be safer.
Most of all, having defined your target, your story, your right profile of star chef, then it’s all about money. Any promotion needs to deliver a flattish/positive P&L to be sustainable and some tips can make the difference.
A higher traffic, higher ticket spent, media value and sponsorship are the main factors to create a positive return on investment.
Also, Andy Hayler, restaurant critic and regular guest on MasterChef TV competition shared few figures. Indeed, he has had anecdotal reports of restaurateurs seeing a 20-30% increase in revenue after winning a coveted star. From experience, you can translate this into a lift-up of your traffic from 20 to 40% during the chef promotion. You need to include the media value of your promotion into the P&L . To make this event profitable, use the chef to the max when he is there (at least a week). And review different options to get your money back: media lunch, VIP dinner, chef’s table, cooking classes.
Next to this, sponsorships are crucial. Having the flight tickets paid and the food cost covered are very helpful. Why not offering discounts to the partners on menus for their own top customers’ dinners? Review the counterparts that are possible to make the deal.
In conclusion, all those elements will create the dynamism you need to set up your promotion. Pay the fee of the chef and get him as his max to boost your revenue. You are now part of the star system! Discover our full list of Michelin Star chef here.