In a few weeks, Chef Phillip Frankland Lee and his wife and pastry chef Margarita Lee will open a new location for Scratch Bar & Kitchen in Encino, California, after shuttering their Beverly Hills restaurant this summer. And in the new space they are trying out a radical approach to service: they won’t employ any front-of-house servers. Instead, they are hiring twice the usual number of cooks and having them serve the guests.
The Lees’ move is a bold solution to the challenges of growing minimum wages and a deep divide between the front and back of house, and they are ready to take the plunge to ensure everyone is paid fairly. Phillip thinks a 30-seat, innovative restaurant is the perfect place to experiment.
“If I’m going to have three servers and three cooks, why not just have six cooks who are all working together, dedicating their livelihood to the restaurant and their career, and have that guy take your order? It’s better for the staff, it’s better for morale, and it’s better for the customer.”
Here are five reasons Phillip and Margarita reimagining the dining experience.