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Feb 27, 2013 09:45 AM

Kitchen Tour offers?

Was at a restaraunt last night with a client and received a very nice offer for a kitchen tour, thought it was a pleasant surprise but ended up relaizing that it was a really effective way for them to get us to get off our butts and leave the table so they could turn it.

By the time we left the kitchen there was allready another group at our table - menus and drinks in hand

Is that the primary reason for kitchen tour offers?

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  1. I doubt it. I've had kitchen tours at Eleven Madison Park during my meal which has the opposite effect: I end up staying longer at my table. I've had kitchen tours at the end of my meals at Per Se (most recently last week at lunch), but since it was 4:00, Per Se was not trying to turn the table since their earliest dinner reservation would be 5:30. I think it's very nice when a restaurant offers a kitchen tour, and wouldn't think that there is any evil intent behind it.

    1 Reply
    1. You might find this interesting, from the New Yorker piece on EMP.

      Title: Check, Please
      Author(s): John Colapinto
      Source: The New Yorker. 88.27 (Sept. 10, 2012): p58.

      The kitchen tour and lounge visit, deployed late in the meal, also solved a problem that bedevils every restaurateur: how to get people up from the table so that the next customers can be seated, a feat known as "the turn." Fast-food places, which must turn every few minutes, use bright primary colors and loud, fast music to encourage people to eat faster. In fine dining, the turn is enacted differently, but it's no less important. For Eleven Madison Park, which now reduced its seats to eighty-eight, an extra half-turn--forty-four seatings--would bring in thousands of dollars more each night. Daniel, a three-Michelin-star restaurant on the Upper East Side run by Daniel Boulud, monitors patrons with discreet cameras in the dining room. Before a fork is lowered after a course, cooks watching from the kitchen can insure that the next dish is ready, shaving vital minutes off the meal.

      Humm and Guidara rejected the idea of using cameras; it would be too difficult in their cavernous dining room. The kitchen tour and lounge visit was their solution.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        I read that piece when it was first out and was actually a bit surprised they would be so up front about it. If it wasn't coming from them I would have questioned the reliability of the information because I have always been reseated after our kitchen tours.

        1. re: kathryn

          Showing you the door
          by ways of the kitchen almost makes you forget you're being rushed out.

        2. I've had a "come and meet the chef" (Michelin 2*) tour midway through a meal (between main course and dessert). Might have just been our lucky day as I didnt see anyone else get invites.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Harters

            I also had an invitation to meet the Chef at Guy Savoy in Las Vegas before dessert. Nice touch. The restaurant was 2/3 empty so it definitely wasn't a ploy to turn my table.

          2. I think the question is -- were you and your client just sitting there talking after your meal was finished? If so, then I can see why they offered you a tour. They needed the table for other guests. It was a polite way of getting you up.

            1 Reply
            1. re: boogiebaby

              "Could we offer you a tour of our parking lot, and our cab stand, where you can get a taxi back to your hotel?"



            2. Yes we had finished a 3 hour 12 course tasting menu and had coffees and had paid the 4 four digit bill - so we may have needed the prod - it worked great and that is why I posted the thread - it was much better than someone coming over and asking every few minutes if we wanted something else or blantantly saying people were waiting for the table

              - two of our group ended up continuing drinking at the bar after the "tour" was complete

              1 Reply
              1. re: carlylecat

                I always think they should show up with wheelchairs after one of those meals. Who wants to move?

                Only time I've ever gotten a kitchen tour was at MIchelin starred restaurant when my brother, in the wine business, gave his card to the maitre de.