Le Gavroche Opening an Hour Earlier Makes Perfect Business Sense
Michel Roux Jnr has taken the decision to open Le Gavroche an hour earlier at 5pm. On Twitter he made a couple of tongue-in-cheek jokes about it but the choice is based on sound business principles – something that the Roux family as a whole are famous for.
One of the jokes was this: “In a couple of weeks it’s going to be dark at 4pm… so dinner at 5pm makes sense followed by a little nightcap at 7pm and off to bed…”
Very witty. But, dig a little deeper and the decision makes complete sense. What Le Gavroche are doing is giving themselves a chance to be open for longer. Though there are no theatres open for pre-theatre the opportunity to go to Le Gavroche for an early dinner is a option. And it gives the restaurant an option to turn over tables rather than running out of time with diners who start at 6.30 or 7.00.
Le Gavroche has a history of knowing just what to offer customers in times of crisis. Famously, during the Gulf War in 1990-1991 and the restaurant recession that followed Le Gavroche did not reduce its prices, like many other restaurants at that time. What they did instead was to increase the portion sizes slightly so that their customers felt they were getting extra value.
This understanding of how customers feel about their food and surroundings is all part of the Roux legacy founded by Albert (Michel Jnr’s father) and Michel (uncle). They had both worked in private service in country houses and had a unique understanding in how society worked.
They brought that knowledge and their unquestioned gastronomic skill to first Le Gavroche and then The Waterside Inn. Both restaurants are still going strongly today because they are built on fundamental principles – like understanding that opening at 5pm is good for business.
If you want to learn about the restaurant trade then a stint in the kitchens at Le Gavroche is going to teach you some very important lessons.