• Bruce Wilson

Do chefs improve with experience?


Having worked as a chef and then consultant for 20 years I'm always interested in the way that chefs develop and improve. I was introduced to some interesting research recently from the medical world that mirrors one of the things I've often seen happening in the restaurant trade.

Researchers wanted the understand if doctors got better or worse as they got older. They had access to swathes of data and they were able to compile the outcomes of 700,000 hospitalisations, 19,000 doctors and 3,000 hospitals in the US between 2011 to 2014, to produce research that has been published in the British Medical Journal.

What they found was that not only don’t the the doctors improve, they actually get worse...

It seems counterintuitive at first, so what causing this?

The problem is that there is no good feedback mechanism for doctors, they don’t get to see the outcomes of their work and they therefore don't improve. As a result doctors with just a few years experience produce equal or better outcomes than doctors with decades of experience.

Is the same thing happening in the restaurant trade?

It's more than likely that it is, because the same problem with lack of feedback historically applies to our industry too. Chefs can take influence from perceived trends or food sales and the odd bit of anecdotal customer feedback, but ultimately until now all chefs have largely relied on instinct when they make key menu changes. It doesn't have to be this way. Unlike those doctors, its now possible for chefs to back-up their experience and instincts with data and insights from Yumpingo, closing the feedback loop.

Key menu development decisions can now be made quickly, based on clear insights to reduce risks and ensure that they're are always improving their menu and ultimately the experience or their customers.

 

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