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Day 2 of our topic 'The Ingredient and the customer'. Picking off from where we stopped in Day 1, we now know how important it is to highlight and expose ingredients in the menu (Read The Day 1 Post here), but, it does not always have to be on the menu. Some chefs will go out of their way to visit each table and discuss the menu and ingredients directly with the customers. This is an excellent way to promote customer engagement, and also a cost-effective way to promote and highlight certain ingredients on the menu.

Another way to carry out this activity is by training the front of house staff to be well versed in the creative process of the dish, the ingredients and all there is to know about it. This speaks volumes to the customer about the culture profile of your business; specifically speaking, the team-oriented aspect of it.


In the case of the chefs speaking directly with the customers, this is a very underrated practice, not just for the reason discussed above, but because you never know who has wandered in to eat your food. A lot of chefs have found their next business partner, supplier, or even investors, simply by discussing with the customers. When we discuss this practice and how important it is in relation to food, I want you to imagine that you pride yourself in sourcing the best local ingredients, and a farmer has just walked in to taste your food. He could have one of the best produce in the country and you may miss this opportunity simply by now having a chat and disclosing that you source great local produce.

I have been witness to many chefs striking gold with this practice. In 2017, I catered for a private dinner of 36, during the meal, I began visiting each table with the aim of networking only, so I could ensure I would be considered if anyone else needed to hire a private chef soon. I soon got to a table where I began talking about the food and my creative process behind it, explaining my choice of ingredients, and how they were sourced. A gentleman asked me if I had difficulty sourcing one of my ingredients; The African Locust bean. I replied, "The dried ones are easy to come by, but the fresh ones are nearly impossible to find". Imagine my shock when he reveals he was importing fresh locust beans for a restaurant in London and offered to give me 5 kilos for free as a 'thank you' for a wonderful meal.

Remember that you are in the business of dealing with people, and interaction is key in promoting a loyal long term relationship with your clients/customers.

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