September 24, 2019

4 Positions In Fine Dining Kitchens That Should Exist In Marketing

I spent this past month slowly making my way through the entire archives of Master Chef while working on this Marketing Budget / Headcount Calculator. Perhaps it was just my brain melting, but while doing this I realized that there are a lot of structural similarities between marketing teams and what is referred to as the Brigade de Cuisine. Not to mention the degree of chaos.

From an organizational perspective you can match up many of the fine dining roles with their corresponding marketing counterparts. For example…

  • Executive Chef – CMO
  • Sous Chef – VP
  • Chef de Partie – Functional Director
  • Chef de Commis – Manager

However… there are a couple of really cool roles in fine dining kitchens that I think could be adapted to the marketing profession. They are presented below…

Tournant

The Tournant is often referred to as a Swing Cook or Relief cook. This chef’s role is to provide relief and assistance to other cooks in the kitchen if / when they fall behind.

Often times in marketing certain functions get bombarded and need relief. Right now our lead designer at Nexthink is pulling her hair out with all the requests she is getting during our busiest time of year.

If we had a marketing Tournant that could assist in asset production it would make her life a lot easier. Unfortunately in marketing you rarely find a player with such diverse skills that they can hop from design to development, event planning, content marketing, and other vastly disparate functions.

Communard

Internal communication is as important in fine dining as it is in marketing. The Communard cooks the “family meal” that gets served to staff before the night begins. During this family meal the entire family tastes the dishes, details are communicated in depth,  and wait staff walk away able to convey the dishes to the end customer.

To a certain degree this role exists. There are sales enablement professionals, and marketing messaging is usually propagated to sales teams to some degree.

However, I have yet to see an org that is so organized that not only can they craft their dishes effectively (campaigns), but also have a team member that goes out of their way to communicate those dishes to the wait staff, so that they can more effectively execute the sale.

If this position existed, and it was their only responsibility, I believe it would amplify the impact of marketing campaigns by a significant margin.

Expeditor / Aboyeur

The Expeditor or Aboyeur sits in between the chefs and the staff delivering meals to customers. In essence the Expeditor is the team project manager that ensures dishes (campaigns) are served on time, are well garnished, and meet quality standards. In general the Expeditor helps set the pace and mood of the kitchen.

Usually the Sous Chef is the individual that occupies this role, although it may be another individual. When you see Gordan Ramsay yelling at some idiot in the kitchen, he is often times in the role of Expeditor.

In marketing, I rarely see one individual serving as the Gordan Ramsay, yelling at team members when they skip on garnish or poorly plate a dish. This role would be really beneficial to have in marketing, not only for quality control, but also to help grease the perpetually clunky gears of the marketing machine.

Escuelerie

Also known as the “Chef de Plonge” this is the kitchen dishwasher who is also responsible for the general cleanliness of the kitchen.

In marketing, one of the things that often gets overlooked or ignored is the debrief / cleanup phase, especially when it comes to marketing automation systems. It is important after a campaign to remove old assets, deactivate workflows, and disassemble unused infrastructure.

If marketing was to borrow from the roles above I believe the function would run much more smoothly, efficiently, and harmoniously. A Tournant to grease the wheels, an Expeditor to crack the whip, a communard to blow the horn, and an Escuelerie to take out the trash.

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