TV chefs John Burton-Race and Jonathon Davies have partnered to create The Restaurant Experience – an innovative interactive restaurant, chosen by the people for the people.
The concept claims to be the world's first interactive restaurant and will allow members of the public to take full control of the development of the restaurant by deciding every element, from the name to the location and the food concept to the chefs and décor.
“The Restaurant Experience is almost like Big Brother in a restaurant,” Burton-Race told BigHospitality. “We need a minimum of 8,000 members to get the ball rolling, and then they will have full control of everything.”
Keen foodies will be able to register their interest in the project’s website from 1 March. After paying a £60 membership fee, users will be able to vote on any restaurant issues and once the restaurant is open, they will receive a £60 voucher to spend on dinning there.
The idea is the brainchild of Davies, who won ITV’s Britain’s Best Dish in 2010, on which two-time Michelin-starred chef Burton-Race was a judge. Ten English-speaking cities from around the world have been chosen as potential bases for the project, including London, Manchester, Glasgow, Sydney, Cape Town and New York.
“The Restaurant Experience will also feature 24-hour live streaming of the new restaurant,” revealed Davies. “We want to open ourselves up and give people a view of the kitchen - give them a full view of the kitchen, and see the chefs preparing the dishes they have voted to be on the menu.”
Alongside a new restaurant, the initiative will feature a cooking channel displayed on the website, where there will be live cooking demonstrations, recipes and celebrity chefs. The in-house kitchen critic, Gordon Cartwright - managing director of Visionary Dining, will review all the latest kitchen technology and equipment on the cooking channel.
“The main part of the funding will be through the cooking channel, alongside the membership fees,” added Davies. “It allows kitchen equipment manufacturers to advertise and showcase their products to a 100 per cent target audience. It’s a single trusted source that everyone can tap into from home, and it features some of the best chefs in the world.”
Burton-Race, who is continuing to work with his own consultancy service, added: “I’ve just sent the proposal of The Restaurant Experience through to Raymond Blanc to get his opinion on it. It’s completely different, it’s turning things upside-down, but sometimes you need to be a bit innovative in this industry.
“The whole thing will get easier if we can roll it out into a number of countries. I’m not so naive that we will please everyone all of the time, but we’ll be giving the majority what they want. I don’t think it’s barking mad, but I'm a bit nervous about it.”
The concept is being put together by restaurant consultancy Unitas. The website - www.therestaurantexperience.com – is set to go live next month.