Is the modern-day full-service restaurant model broken?
Jon Taffer believes so. That’s why the ‘Bar Rescue’ star and hospitality entrepreneur has joined forces with Cuisine Solutions for the national rollout of his restaurant franchise concept Taffer’s Tavern.
Taffer’s Tavern has had successful debuts in Alpharetta, GA, in Watertown, MA, and Washington, D.C. With this new restaurant model, owner Jon Taffer attempts a unique risk that may mark a shift in the restaurant industry by creating both a menu and a kitchen around the technologies of his partner, Cuisine Solutions and their education and consulting arm, CREA.
Innovation is key to winning over customers, and Jon Taffer does that not only with his partnership with Cuisine Solutions, but also his vision for Taffer’s Tavern. The restaurant is inspired by Old-World taverns but with a modern edge for the menu, including trendy signature cocktails “As Seen on Bar Rescue” along with traditional pub favorites. This creates an atmosphere that is both familiar and inviting while giving customers distinctive new experiences that signal the changing direction of the industry. It’s all at once new and old and has something to offer for everyone.
Cuisine Solutions, who chose to partner with Taffer for the experimental restaurant model, are “recognized as the authority on sous vide—the innovative precise-cooking technique that the company pioneered, perfected, and popularized decades ago.” This technique, which helps streamline the kitchen prep and reduce cooking time, allows for 50% less labor in the kitchen, greatly reducing the cost of operations for the restaurant. “This could potentially change the entire labor model of restaurants nationwide if applied, allowing for less labor costs without compromising the front staff,” added Taffer’s Tavern’s’ VP of Corporate Operations, Joseph Nedel.
The reason why the Cuisine Solutions collaboration works for Taffer’s Tavern is because “it never sacrifices service and interactions with the guests,” Nedel stated. Because of that, the model maintains a customer-experience based approach. Kitchen wise, Cuisine Solutions’ model is more process-based than employee dependent, meaning that “the food comes out consistently every time regardless of who’s preparing it”, noted Nedel. This creates a more flexible work environment where kitchen roles can be interchangeable, allowing for a more fast-casual style kitchen setup while producing the amount of food for a large restaurant. One can clearly see why this may be attractive to restaurant owners, especially in an ever-changing industry.
So, what makes Cuisine Solutions the premier choice for Taffer’s Tavern as well as other restaurants in the future? In addition to their state-of-the-art concepts, there are many practical, everyday advantages to their model. Nedel detailed that Cuisine Solution’s products have a “3-time extension of shelf life. In addition, their perfected sous vide technique locks in juices and maintains the highest level of quality for the product.”
Taffer’s Tavern is designed with traditional Old-World taverns in mind; its ambiance is inviting, warm and comfortable, distinguished by dark woods, soft leathers, copper accents and exceptional food and beverage offerings. With an emphasis on providing the highest quality products and service, the Cuisine Solutions-driven menu highlights include such selections as a 72-Hour Short Rib (cooked sous vide for 72 hours then topped with rich demi-glace sauce and paired with mac ‘n’ cheese), BLT (Belly, Lettuce, Tomato – slow-cooked sous vide pork belly crisped and seasoned with smoked sea salt, topped with lettuce, tomato and zesty tomato aioli) and Tot Roast Fries (an inventive Southern poutine of tater tots topped with slow-cooked shredded beef, mushroom béchamel sauce, and creamy cheese curds).
Financially, Cuisine Solutions is a smart decision too, because it enables restaurants to lock in their price with the restaurant, preventing price increases due to inflation. The model also provides flexibility in deliveries for the restaurant, as having the product pre-made prevents it from having to have multiple deliveries per week. This is a game changer for the industry and can shift entire business models as well as the profitability of restaurants in the long term.
The biggest struggle of implementing Cuisine Solutions model is, according to Taffer, educating the staff and consumer. Because it isn’t a traditional method, staff need to be briefed on the cooking process and what it means for their kitchen productivity. Likewise, customers who may not be aware of the model may suggest alterations that cannot be done, such as the cooking style of a steak. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just goes to show how with the rise of new techniques in the industry, there comes an adjustment period for everyone involved. However, both Jon Taffer and Cuisine Solutions are confident in their partnership and what it brings to the future of restaurants. Taffer’s Tavern DC. franchise owner and Cuisine Solutions President and CEO Felipe Hasselmann stated: “It has been a great experience for us to consult with Jon on the state-of-the-art kitchen design for the Taffer’s Tavern concept, and we are thrilled to be a franchise owner as well.”
While the rest of the restaurant industry waits to see how this experimental model plays out, Taffer’s Tavern has clearly ushered in an era of innovation to the traditional kitchen model.