Innovation in restaurants. Imposition of society or need of the sector?

Innovate in restaurants?

Today it can be said that feeding is a cultural act, but it is also convenient to say that it is also a communicational act in itself. The process of alimentación it consists of an emitter, which at pre-coded rituals introduces variations and converts it into messages that are coded again. This is, for example: A cook (sender) makes a dish based on a recipe (encodes) and, according to the described procedure, the necessary quantities and the appropriate temperature, mixes the ingredients to obtain a result (message); that it is served to the diner (receiver) who consumes it (decodes) with all his senses.

The means of channels They have dedicated important spaces to educate men about eating habits. They focus their messages on the prolongation of life years and physical appearance. Internationally, this advertising tends to discredit some foods, generating, to a certain extent, confusion, when establishing comparisons, based on the power of the food that is advertised over another similar and that is the competition. Also, the act of eating out is not only limited to that biological function, but also to the act of social exchange itself and as the display of a certain status.

Some philosophical conceptions assume that things have "value in itself", and that, in addition, value has "a being in itself" that makes it "absolute". In contrast to these conceptions, the author considers that this value is subject to a perspective of the subject, which is subjective, relative, social and Historical, since the value is constituted from the subjectivity and representation, made up of a guide or norm, which is part of their judgment criteria, so that, exercising their will, they make their selection.

One of the fashionable values ​​that minimizes the need to feed is "aesthetic". Today there is talk of an aesthetic in the kitchen. The use of utensils such as glasses, cutlery, special vessels that accompany certain types of dishes, as well as the presentation of the food itself, are valued in visual aesthetic terms, which in turn is amplified by the act in which these foods are served.
An example of the formulation of aesthetics in food is the proposal of the magazine "Living and eating1”By John Pawson, a designer architect and“Food by design2”, A volume compiled by Simon Jordan of the American publishing market, featuring twenty-five contributions from architects and designers based on the presentation of a recipe, with a visual interpretation and a personal story related to it. There is also the so-called signature or artistic cuisine, whose essence lies in the presentation of unique dishes, the result of the inspiration of the chef of that day, and which do not take into account taste or composition, as primary variables, but rather the decoration itself. it is made of it.
Likewise, given the concern about how to stay in the market and secure clients, many restaurants they incorporate unique experiences into the service, combining the act of eating with others, such as the restaurant "Dinner on the sky3”, Where the entire feeding process is done on a transparent platform, at a height of more than 100 meters, giving the impression that it is in the air; or the famous "World's First Underwater4 Restaurant”, Which breaks the traditional style of restaurants, to offer as added value to their meals the act of feeding underwater, witnessing the most dissimilar marine species (sharks, dolphins, whales, among others)
An analysis of this allows us to clearly see that the message integrates three values: the act of feeding, the visual aspect and personal discourse through the associated history; leaving clearly in doubt that eating is more than a daily act, and that the aesthetic value of the work lies not only in the tasting and presentation of the dish, but also a historical discourse is necessary to conceptualize its value.
Many of the books that deal with the subject of gastronomy are no longer only dedicated to offering a set of recipes and procedures for their preparation and presentation, but also integrate all those elements that make up the dining room setting, addressing issues such as architecture. , the furniture, the protocol. Already the message is not only taste and techniques, but they introduce form and style; Even many of the studies on the act of feeding, mainly those associated with food, stop focusing their discourse on taste, but sometimes they even forget it and only focus on the aesthetic sphere.

Food science?

Muchos studies They have been carried out with reference to food-borne illnesses, although it has not been possible to establish the cause-consequence relationships between ingested food and diseases. In this field, identifying which foods cause cancer or heart disease are pure speculations. The relationship of what is ingested with health is not a direct cause and effect relationship. There are many factors that, positively or negatively, interfere with the action of food in the body. The way man feeds: quantity, quality, mixture of substances, daily habits such as sedentary life, the type and quantity of work that develops, are some of those factors.

However, for those who somehow study this matter closely, they have once again witnessed such innovative proposals as macrobiotic, enzymatic and molecular cuisine. In this field Herber This5, a French chemist has dedicated important research in order to provide results associated with the ways in which food can be prepared and not lose vitamin values ​​in the process, in addition to representing a guarantee for human health. One of its many examples is in the way of frying an egg without fat, which, although it is a fairly new subject, the speed at which people move and technology, they will not notice it as a way of preparing food.

And the technology?

La technology impacts the world of food every day. What previously required certain "rustic" actions, with technological development has been favored. The incorporation of elaborations into industrial production modes and their consumption has been potentiated by the use of machinery and processes, own. In this sense, the fact that food can be produced on large scales is seen as a great advantage; that they require less time for their preparation and, those that were considered traditional dishes, typical of the regions where they were created, begin to transcend borders and internationalize.
It should be said, then, that socially there is a contribution. However, this obliges the gourmet to find other sources to stay on the market, mainly due to the scope of these innovations, which make it easier for the consumer to access them. What was previously exclusive technological resources of the restaurantToday they are just an extension of what the customer can have in his own kitchen.
In this way, other variables are incorporated into the process of food restoration such as quality, management by processes, the management business, the dissemination of menus outside the scope of restaurant, through websites, television and radio advertising; as well as, through strategic alliances between clients and suppliers, by incorporating in their packaging some type of note about the product, method of preparation and, the odd suggestion of where to taste it better.
Until very recently, technology in this sector was considered to be primarily information-based. This way of thinking was influenced by the lack of business preparation of many of the providers of this type of service. Simple matters such as the introduction of management by objectives, values ​​and results; the management of knowledge; The vision of training as a recoverable investment in an estimated short time, are beginning to be concerns for gastronomic service providers.

The technology, therefore, brings together two types of elements: encodable elements, which can be expressed in the form of information and materialize in the development of products, and not encodable or tacit They are inseparable from organizations or individuals, and can be enhanced through education and training acquired by economic agents, both employers and workers.

These last elements are those that allow the creation of new solutions to the problems that may arise in productive activities within the gastronomic activity and in turn can be transferred from one company to another. This process is designated as technological innovation, which is applicable in production processes, or in product innovation.
The tourism industry is currently based on the rapid dissemination of knowledge, which largely depends on the degree of association between the capacity to produce knowledge, the mechanisms to "distribute" it as widely as possible, and the ability of the various participants (individuals, companies or associations) to absorb and use them6. Therefore, innovation in this type of activity is a combination of a series of factors such as applied research (production of knowledge), training levels, mobility, interactions (distribution of knowledge) and the capacity of companies to absorb new technologies and knowledge.

When to innovate?

First I must clarify that the concept of innovating is sometimes misapplied. Innovating is not just creating a piece, but every act where changes occur that facilitate development, be it in organizational structures or the design of business strategies, for example, you are innovating. In the gastronomic activity, from the moment the cook is creating a dish or improving some other preparation, and the clerk is using his personal resources (smile, tone of voice, presence, etc.) he is innovating.
But when innovation becomes necessary is the question, and the answer is, IMHO: ALWAYS.
Now this act must occur in a measured, coherent way so that the client can perceive the changes and enjoy it, otherwise it would create a certain insecurity in him and the traditional consequence of moving or choosing another restaurant.
Today's consumer demands changes, and it is they who impose on restaurants adapt to new technologies, new modes of operation, without losing your personality. As part of this article, I explained the degree of exposure to which the client is subjected through the different media: radio, television, lampoons, flyers, the Internet, cell phones, etc. and evaluates the borrower according to how it is able to reach it.
Despite this communication process, which also becomes an innovative act within the organization, it must take care of, or rather, focus its messages according to its real possibilities. I have been able to see great advertisements for pizzas, hamburgers, chickens, etc. that instantly provoke the desire to be consumed and when that happens reality differs greatly. In this sense, the application of those quantitative methods that I once addressed in previous articles can be useful, especially those associated with the study of service levels, because any effort to offer quality guarantees is prioritized by the trust of the clients of that they will make use of the services in a hygienically safe place, where food is handled according to the established norms, but that also do not create the feeling of deceit.
Finally I want to tell you, dear reader, that innovating is an imposition of society and also a necessity of the sector. Competition is getting stronger and therefore every act that allows attracting and keeping customers is necessary, but also, the very social development that goes hand in hand with technologies and that the consumer is able to experience makes them demand them when they want to consume, that's why a simple message but for me important: innovate, create and produce, society will appreciate it.
It may interest you:  Internal or external customer: Where is the difference?
I am a dreamer and in my dreams I believe that a better world is possible, that no one knows more than anyone, we all learn from everyone. I love gastronomy, numbers, teaching and sharing all the little I know, because by sharing I also learn. "Let's all go together from foundation to success"