What is “Restaurant Theory”?
Think of everything that goes into a building. There is the science and art of architecture. Electrical work. Plumbers. Carpenters. Interior decorators. Then there are things like building codes and mortgages. Every floor you stand on is a complicated tangle of art, business, science, and craft.
Dining is also artistic, sociological, scientific, political and medicinal. We’re all made of food. Stuff goes in the top-end and becomes part of our heart and brain. Dining out is the business of turning cheeseburgers and spotted-dick into you.
You are the building and a restaurant is a building developer.
Restaurant Theory is about how food, service, and more play into the building of a guest.
One can also think of Restaurant Theory as a corollary to a theorem put forth in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Bistromathmatics, which states, “…numbers are not absolute, but [depend] on the observer’s movement in restaurants.”
In Douglas Adam’s theory, numbers, while unpredictable and complicated, can be understood through the complexities of restaurants. In Restaurant Theory the complexities of restaurants teach us how to understand and manage the unpredictability and complexity of people.
This all sounds rather grand and academic. But it’s as simple as understanding why we eat, how we eat, what we eat, where we eat.
I first started thinking about this nonsense circa 2002 when I started working at the Cheesecake Factory, and it’s bothered me ever since.