Restaurants: consistency is better than quality?

Not sure if this would go in IMHO or Cafe Society. Mods can move this if necessary.

I think a restaurant will be more successful if they focus on putting out a consistent product rather than the quality of their food. The reason being, there’s so many different people with different tastes. My mom and sister are of the opinion that there’s one definition of “quality”, and people that don’t like the same things they do “just don’t know good food”. For example, they frequently disagree with my brother in law and his family on what restaurants are good, and have decided that bro in law’s family just has really bad taste in food. I think this is pure BS, and, like music, art, and pretty much anything else, food is highly subjective. One person’s good eats might be another person’s kitchen nightmares.

Sooo, I think a better way to ensure the continued success of a restaurant is to try to make sure that the food is always prepared the same way with the same ingredients. If someone likes or dislikes your food, not too much will change their mind about it. Wheras, ordering the same thing 2-3 different times and having it vary a bit can put an eatery out of business, because the people that do like the original food aren’t going to get it the same way every time. I’m pretty sure this is the main reason for the success of most fast food restaurants in the United States, but applies to pretty much any place that serves prepared food. You can serve the worst slop in the world, but as long as it’s the same slop every time, you’ll do ok. I realize there’s other factors like location, pricing, etc, but I think consistency is more important than anything else.

What do you dopers think?

The big chain restaurants agree with you.

Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly what the Applebee’s of the world deliver.

I know! How about we make consistently good food?

Ah, it’ll never sell.

A few years ago I was watching something about Starbucks vs small independently owned coffee shops. Most of the people they talked to said that while Starbucks might not be the best coffee in the world, they know that they can go in to the same Starbucks every morning…or even a different one everyday when they travel, but as long as they order the same way, their drink will be the same size, same taste, same temperature, same consistency, same everything. Whereas, if they go to a small coffee shop it’s going to take some explaining to get what they want and if someone different is working the next day, it might be made slightly different (two pumps instead of one, milk steamed longer, too much ice in the cold drink etc).

That what the big places really specialize in. No matter what Applesbees I go to, it’ll always be exactly the same.

Zsofia, in order to get consistent food across the country, I think they rely pretty heavily on frozen and canned products. When you do that, you often lose a bit of the quality.

Great taste/quality doesn’t matter, imho. The most delicious thing you’ve ever eaten was only the most delicious thing the first time you tasted it. The 2nd time, you noticed the amount of salt, sugar, MSG, etc. After a while, “delicious” becomes “strong” which then changes over time into “overpowering.” Something that is “bland” very likely doesn’t have any adverse side effects, like thirst, diarrhea, gas, heartburn, etc. I think most people stick to “bland” foods just because they are easier to digest. Bud Light is one of the best selling beers in the US, while probably anyone who’s ever tasted it would agree it has the weakest beer taste of any beer.