Food Writer Los Angeles

I’ve had some consistency in the past few days. Consistent inconsistency. Before I get more ridiculous, I’ll preface this by saying that in the past few weeks I’ve been experiencing worse than average quality at many of the restaurants and eateries that I expect to provide the level of quality that I’m used to. From ethnic to bakery to high-end, I’m seeing significant dips in quality over the past few weeks. This could be a result of a historic economic slump or perhaps lackadaisical holiday distraction in restaurant kitchens. It’s all forced me to think about the value of consistency: consistent quality.

A restaurant, cafe, eatery, or bakery offers to its customers an expectation more than anything. Fine dining offers the expectation of comfort, service, attentiveness, high-grade ingredients, nice ambiance. Cheap ethnic food offers tasty, inexpensive fare that usually attempts to reflect the authenticity (or perhaps innovation) of a specific cuisine. People have these expectations because almost anything in a restaurant or eatery could be produced at home. We spend money because these places offer us an experience that’s different than the homemade one, in terms of either ambiance, service, comfort, and/or quality.

When a restaurant fails to meet these expectations, then people often regret or wonder why they paid the money in the first place. This dynamic is so powerful in dining out that entire review systems, such as Michelin, thrive on the level of consistency a certain place achieves. I think of two different restaurants in LA: Chowhound review is often made after a single visit. Indeed many of my own reviews are from a single visit (though many are from multiple visits as well). Professional critics generally visit a place a number of times to determine its consistency. This is why the strength of a restaurant’s concept is tantamount to the level of consistency one can expect from it. In the coming weeks I’ll discuss further the merits of a restaurant and eatery’s concept as a key component for success. Until then, I’ll finish by saying that consistency is the path toward excellence. By meeting the expectations of diners on every occasion, over every dish, and over every meal, a restaurant can develop a solid customer base to drive its earnings and popularity over years. More important than that, consistency makes diners happy because they’re getting what they’re paying for.


Matthew Kang

Find more of Matthew's writing on his blog, Mattatouille. Find him behind the Scoops Westside counter.

Blog Comments

I think you are thinking like sukrat, but I think you should cover the other side of the topic in the post too…

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