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I was wondering if questions about a restaurant's kitchen management are on-topic or not. example: how can I prepare this faster ? can you suggest a better menu to reduce waste ? How can I communicate better with my helper chef so that we don't step into each other during preparation ?

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Much of what we're trying to do with the scope of the site is select a particular demographic - that being food professionals (and other experts). These questions, by definition, are targeted toward that exact audience and, if anything, require more expertise to answer than our other topics, not less.

I'm reprinting this little tidbit from Joel (one of the founders):

Ask real, expert questions.

We want you to capture the moment that plumbers feel when they look at PlumberOverflow and say, "Whoa! That's my kinda site!" On a site about plumbing, there are 200 easy plumbing questions, and they've all been asked 100 times on other sites. Don't suggest questions like "How do I unclog a drain." Instead ask, "If you run 2.5 GPM through 50 feet of 1/2" galv pipe, how many psi will be lost to friction loss?" Remember, the pro sites WILL attract the enthusiasts, but not the other way around!

Do the trials and tribulations of a busy restaurant kitchen fit the bill of an expert cooking question? Damn skippy they do.

It may not be an officially sanctioned topic, but as long as it doesn't take the form of fuzzy career advice, I'd say absolutely, go for it!

  • I agree, I don't see any reason not to include these types of questions. – hobodave Aug 6 '10 at 19:31
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    I view the "What should our FAQ contain?" question as exclusive. If it's not banned in the FAQ, it's on topic till then. Like the 9th Amendment to the U.S. constitution: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." – Mike Sherov Aug 6 '10 at 23:36
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Personally, I'd be delighted to ask and answer more of these types of questions. I'm glad you asked, because I probably would have felt that most of the more technical, restauranty questions I might like to ask wouldn't have been a good fit.

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I agree, I know I have spent a long time running kitchens and I would like to pass some of that along, on top of the fact that I would definitely like someplace to turn if I need some questions answered. Particularly if we can talk supplies and wholesale amounts and preperations.

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Restaurant questions seem useful in and of themselves and as a way to attract experts.

I question, however, why these issues are more out of scope than those relating to foraging or growing ingredients. In a sense, both deal with secondary issues. Restaurant management is secondary to cooking. Foraging and growing ingredients is secondary to food. Restaurant management attracts experts from the food-preparation side. Foraging and growing ingredients attracts experts from the food-cultivation side. I think they are both useful. Why the bias for one and not the other?

  • I would say that the major difference between the two is the amount information each subject contains. Foraging is a huge topic that could easily support it's own site and restaurant management questions don't have that large a knowledge base. Agreed that it is a secondary topic, but it is one that the experts are likely to be knowledgeable in and it definitely isn't broad enough to support its own site – sarge_smith Aug 9 '10 at 7:11
  • Thanks for the response. I am trying to tease out and in part expand the focus of the site against what I notice are a few biases. I think it leans towards urban over rural, professional over enthusiast, cooking over food, food over drink, purchased over foraged or grown, food-science over nutrition, flavor over health, technical over creative, serious over fun. If the community wants these biases, that's ultimately what will happen, but, maybe the private beta didn't perfect the site's trajectory and there is more that can be incorporated to make the site better. – Ocaasi Aug 9 '10 at 8:11

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