I came across this article on HBR today which looks at the world’s best restaurants to find out how they balance Innovation and Consistency.
Here’s the summary :
Despite being able to charge hundreds of dollars for a meal and being fully booked months in advance, top restaurants often still have a hard time turning a profit. And they face an added challenge of maintaining flawless consistency, while simultaneously being innovative and cutting-edge. This requires dedicated time and space for research and experimentation, as well as a thorough process for both iterating on and standardizing new inventions. Examples of restaurants that have made both the Michelin Guide and 50 Best Restaurants of the World list show how they encourage creativity and learning beyond the leadership or lab teams, and generate, refine, and standardize ideas.
The original article is here – https://hbr.org/2018/01/how-the-best-restaurants-in-the-world-balance-innovation-and-consistency
All the projects follow a specific development process, alternating between collective ideation or feedback and focused work by a small team. For restaurant dishes, the development team will quickly prototype and iterate through numerous versions of the dish and its components, either in the lab or if a lab is not available, in the main kitchen during slow hours. The trials can go over for months as numerous variations are tested in a race against seasonal ingredients.
This just goes on to prove that Consistency and Creativity are not mutually exclusive – restaurants need to be both at the same time. Innovation which is not a result of a set process will soon become unsustainable – one may be able to innovate even without process at times but no one can repeat the feat a number of times. That consistency is possible only with a process.