The F&B department is one of the most significant departments in the hospitality industry as it is responsible for maintaining high quality food and service, managing bars, restaurant and others. The hospitality industry intends to provide seamless services to its customers by developing food innovations using latest technologies. In this era of fusion cooking, the customers are more inclined towards the cooking style. Not only the taste of food is important, but the customers are looking for innovative styles for cooking and presenting food when they visit the restaurant in the resort. Food design helps in engaging the viewers’ senses and getting taste buds tingling to consume the product. It is observed that the customers are progressively more interested in the cooking style, presentation and ambience of the restaurants. This paper aims at critically analysing the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing an open kitchen in the F&B outlet of resorts (Roy, Bandyopadhyay and Banerjee 2016).
An open kitchen is a type of kitchen in which the chefs and customers can see and interact with each other. There are no barriers such as walls and doors that is a traditional form of kitchen. One of the main reasons of open kitchen as a growing trend is that it ensures transparency at all stages. The consumers often have myths regarding food horror that can be eliminated with the implementation of open kitchen. In the past, restaurant customers may have preferred food to magically appear out from behind closed doors. After years of hearing Big Food and fast food horror stories that’ll turn your stomach, however, the prototypical modern diner seems to want transparency rather than mystery. Open restaurant kitchens are fascinating for the people as the opportunity to see the staffs working and preparing food adds to the overall dining experience. However, the concept may be considered disadvantageous as it is difficult to keep an open space clean (Wahyuningtyas and Widyakususmastuti 2015).
The fact that F&B outlets are the most important department in a resort cannot be undermined. The hospitality industry estimates that majority of the revenue generated are derived from the food and beverage outlets. The resorts must pay close attention to the latest trends in the food and beverage industry. The main objective of the food and beverage outlet is to achieve customer satisfaction by meeting the changing demand. The food and beverage outlet holds an integral place in any resort responsible for the service of food and beverage to the customers (Baraban and Durocher 2013).
There are multiple factors affecting the profitability of a resort. Such factors include cuisine offered in the place, marketing and management. However, the other factors such as style, design, interior decoration, ambience and innovation in techniques are equally important. The customers shall be able to enjoy the experience if they are comfortable. With higher customer satisfaction, there shall be repeat customers and increase in profitability. Before the diners taste or smell the feed, they look at the surroundings and observe how they feel. Not only the colour combinations, seating arrangement, sound, lighting and staff service, but the technology and equipments used in the kitchen also play a crucial role. The concept of open kitchen has been attracting a lot of customers. The trend of more casual restaurants may attract the customers, while the chaotic cooking part may also spoil the experience of customers (Horng et al. 2013).
The concept of open kitchen is advantageous in the design of food and beverage outlets in resorts for many reasons. The open layout in the kitchen helps prevent isolation of the customers from the chefs. The customers can come out of their way and speak to the chefs in an open space. They can directly state their specifications of food and beverage that they would especially want to be there to enhance food experience. The waiting staff can be eliminated who usually communicate messages between the customers and the chef. The chefs can enhance their experience and cook tastier food as per the specifications provided by the customer (Raju 2012).
The open kitchen enhances transparency that revolutionizes business in many sectors across the world. According to Higgins and Castle (2013), horse meat was detected in Europe’s restaurants and food chains. Therefore, the consumers have been less trusting of anything that happens behind closed doors in the kitchen. Moreover, the vegetarians are afraid that the chefs might be using the same utensils as used for preparing non-vegetarian food. Hence, the concept of open kitchen eliminates such fears and mistrust among customers as they can see their food prepared in front of their eyes (Walker 2012).
Open kitchen is being considered as a growing form of entertainment. The television shows boosted by chef celebrities have been increasing fascination among the viewers about how food is prepared. The proud chefs are happy to showcase their talent. It is also noticed that open kitchen creates the hunger factor among customers. The sound, smell and signs of cooking help enhancing the taste buds that works up the appetite of an individual. As seen in the case of Dominos, the customers can receive a visual treat to kneading and tossing dough while making pizza. This ensures freshness and wholesomeness of thee products made in the kitchen. When the customers smell food their sense of hunger increases leading to increased orders (Egerton-Thomas 2012).
Elimination of Waiting Staff
Apart from the increase in hunger, the open kitchen concept ensures the customers of cleanliness in the restaurant. Moreover, when the chefs prepare food in an open kitchen, they are conscious of the cleanliness of the kitchen. The way of handling food and overall hygienic practices of washing hands, wearing gloves, chef hat and others can be seen by the customers. The employees change their behaviour in a closed kitchen where they observe that there is no customer to look at the way food is prepared. In an open kitchen concept, the equipments, food product and quality is maintained. The open kitchen allows the customers to see how chefs prepare the dishes while dining out. It is analysed that open kitchen has more cleanliness than the closed kitchen (Fine 2014).
Further, open kitchen offers financial benefits. Going by the history, the open kitchens were created for saving space. The open kitchen eliminates the cost of lighting and dining space separately. The dining area and kitchen can be combined to make one big room for the guests making it feel bigger, lighter and airier. The place can have more natural light due to the presence of large windows (Canny 2014).
There is a direct link between the customer experience and style of open kitchen. Also, the trend of open kitchen has increased in the recent times due to the advancement of social media and technology. In the social media, people tend to share pictures, location and posting reviews in their regular experiences. Therefore, an open kitchen can be used by a resort as a tool for promotion where people shall be excited to visit. According to Etienne (2015), 92% customers believe that they mainly rely on the opinion of a friend or relative It is believed that the reviews shall have higher chances of accuracy. Therefore, if the chef prepares a special dish the customer shall be more attracted. The positioning of the resort with open kitchen can be made as luxurious where the people of upper class shall visit thereby increasing overall revenue of the resort. Therefore, the value of restaurant shall be enhanced where the popularity can be increased to stimulate sales (Filimonau et al. 2017).
However, the concept of open kitchen can be disadvantageous to the resort. If the kitchen of the resort is already designed according to the traditional style, there shall be a heavy expenditure in removing walls and doors. The electrical wires and sockets have to be removed. For redecorating, remodelling and redesigning the resort has to undertake heavy expenditure. Without proper ventilation and chimney, the entire dining area may be engulfed with heat and smoke. The clanging of pots, yelling when orders are ready, smell of smoky stovetops can be discouraging for the customers to visit the restaurant at the resort again. The ambience of the restaurant can be harmed by the smell of burning oil and leftover foods.
Enhancement of Customer Experience
While it is noted that the smell of food attracts the customers, the smell of dishes and pots of cooked food earlier may be disgusting for the customers. It is not possible to share every recipe and cooking style with the guests as the resort may lose its competitive advantage of the restaurant. As the open kitchen allows the customers in the resort to look at the chefs while they are cooking, it is a disruption in the privacy as every chef has some secretive method to cooking that makes them different from others.
As open kitchen may be advantageous for the customers to verify the cleanliness, it may also be an exposure to the staff for occasional staff mistakes. The kitchen might be messy during heavy rush. It is not possible for the staffs to clean the kitchen during rush hours that can adversely impact the reputation of resort. While the open kitchen adds to advantage where chefs work on visually appealing dishes, food preparation of the same may not be visually appealing. For providing an entertaining experience to the customers, the resort can arrange for shows and events where the customer can enjoy food preparation.
Another crucial issue in open kitchen is that the efficiency of the chefs is affected. If the customers continually interact with the chefs, it might lead to distraction. The efficiency of the chefs might be affected as the chefs shall take greater time. With too much interference of the customers, the chefs might get irritated. Also, there are limitations regarding cooking certain dishes. The duration of preparing the food depends on the nature of ingredients. Not all food items can be prepared in open kitchen as it takes hours to cook certain ingredients. The strong smell of curry can flow everywhere that can produce a lot of smoke. Not all the customers may like all kinds of odour and they may find it unpleasant. Therefore, the food and beverage outlets must avoid the use of open kitchen. The service standard may be inconsistent for the same reason.
An open kitchen may add to the aesthetic sense to the restaurant. While the customers can witness the freshness and wholesomeness of the food, they are also prone to the safety hazards in an open kitchen. The traditional or closed kitchen has walls and door to prevent passage of people as the entry is strictly restricted. However, in case of an open kitchen, the food and beverage outlet is exposed to the customers. There is a risk of fire, cuts, abrasion and other safety hazards while the customers are coming near the open kitchen. Also, there are no barriers such as doors and windows that can prevent the spread of fire. The operations of the restaurant may not be affected if there breaks a fire. However, the resort can be ruined if the fire spreads in an open kitchen. Also, there are sharp knives in the kitchen ad hot dishes that can harm the customers. As every restaurant has small kids visiting as customers, they may get hurt during the operations and create disastrous customer experience.
Open kitchens have greater restriction for the chefs than seen in the case of closed kitchen. Traditional kitchen that have right equipment in the right place would allow kitchen staffs to produce the dishes faster. Luster (2016) mentioned that the communication manner need to be changed from loudly and noisy style in the closed kitchen to a cramped and uncomfortable situation in the open kitchen as they need to look more professional and somehow act as if they are making a magic dish (Luster 2016). Even if some employees appreciate their work to be seen and recognized, others dislike being in the open kitchen; displeasure to fake the working style and tiredness from acting without having a moment of rest as it could be possible in a closed kitchen (Luster 2016). For these reasons, some chefs find that the open kitchen concept is considered very unwelcomed (Walsh 2016).
The open kitchen trend seems to have been born in big cities such as New York, where chefs cooked within view of diners largely due to space constraints. Getting in the habit of watching chefs do their thing on TV has obviously boosted the fascination with what goes on in restaurant kitchens. As diners grew obsessed with celebrity chefs and the creative ways fresh and exotic ingredients were being combined, consumers increasingly came to view the flames and steam and clattering in the kitchen as part of the “show” of dining out. With the restaurant scene progressing to the point of near over saturation, as a chef, you need not only to provide guests with great food, service, and a creative wine list but peripheral details giving them fond memories and good reason to talk about your restaurant. Their experience needs to go above and beyond the food and beverage. An open kitchen fits the bill very nicely, allowing them the opportunity to see the chef hustle and to watch the cooks work at what is considered “lightning speed.”
Conclusively, not only the taste of food is important, but the customers are looking for innovative styles for cooking and presenting food when they visit the restaurant in the resort. It is observed that the customers are progressively more interested in the cooking style, presentation and ambience of the restaurants. Open restaurant kitchens are fascinating for the people as the opportunity to see the staffs working and preparing food adds to the overall dining experience. The resorts must pay close attention to the latest trends in the food and beverage industry. With higher customer satisfaction, there shall be repeat customers and increase in profitability. The trend of more casual restaurants may attract the customers, while the chaotic cooking part may also spoil the experience of customers. The open layout in the kitchen helps prevent isolation of the customers from the chefs. The open kitchen enhances transparency that revolutionizes business in many sectors across the world.
The proud chefs are happy to showcase their talent. The employees change their behaviour in a closed kitchen where they observe that there is no customer to look at the way food is prepared. The positioning of the resort with open kitchen can be made as luxurious where the people of upper class shall visit thereby increasing overall revenue of the resort. It is not possible to share every recipe and cooking style with the guests as the resort may lose its competitive advantage of the restaurant. Without proper ventilation and chimney, the entire dining area may be engulfed with heat and smoke. For providing an entertaining experience to the customers, the resort can arrange for shows and events where the customer can enjoy food preparation.
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