French Restaurants: Home Cooking Really Is Killing The Restaurant Industry!

from the no-it-isn't dept

In 2010, Mike Masnick wrote a post in which he made the analogy between the silly notion that the home taping of music was killing the recording industry and the oft-cited joke that home cooking must be killing the restaurant industry as well. Well, while we were all having a good laugh and slapping ourselves on our collective backs for our clever ingenuity, France suddenly had its restaurant industry under assault by, you guessed it, home cooking. Well, kind of home cooking, at least.

So now it's the turn of the restaurateurs to join the hoteliers and taxi drivers in getting furious with what they see as upstart competitors. Restaurant owners in Paris are furious with chefs who have started catering for diners in their own homes - traditional eateries say they could be put out of business as websites put customers directly in touch with cooks.
So, like Airbnb and Uber before it, there are startup websites, such as VizEat, that allow locals and tourists alike to book dinners in people's homes for a home-cooked meal. Hosts sign up to prepare and host these meals in their homes, users can browse through those hosts' menus and cooking capabilities, and book a dinner. You know, like a restaurant, except in a home. Meal-sharing, they're calling it, because everything has to be sharing apparently. And trade groups representing French restaurants are pissed and are in fact appealing to the French government to step in and make sure they can keep making money in the face of this useful service that people apparently like.
The main Paris restaurateurs' union Synhorcat has appealed to the French government to take steps to curb the phenomenon, arguing that bistros and brasseries risk being put out of business.

"In the space of three years Airbnb has tripled its presence in Paris - to the point that there are now 50,000 flats advertised on its website," Synhorcat's president Didier Chenet tells me. He says small and medium-sized hotels have been hit hard and over the summer they had to drop their prices. "If the government doesn't do something to stop the underground restaurants, it will be the same disaster. There are people out there offering a service which is identical to restaurants: a choice of starters, main courses, desserts, wine, the works. But they pay no rent, no staff, no taxes - it is completely illegal," says Chenet. "And if you want to set up a real restaurant, you need qualifications: how to deal with allergens; how to deal with alcohol. Do these people realise that if a customer drink-drives after a meal, they - the chefs - are partly responsible?"
Everyone should be instantly able to see how absolutely stupid this line of thought is. First, if there are legal liability issues for allergens and alcohol, there are already laws in place for that where they ought to apply. As for not paying rent, where does Chenet think the space for these in-home meals come from? The ether? The staff is being paid, too, as the staff is the host hosting the meal. Taxes? Well, if I order pizza and friends chip in for it, am I required to pay taxes on that? Not a perfect analogy, but if the only argument against this is taxation, that is easily remedied.

And, really, the base concept that meal-sharing is an identical experience to eating at a restaurant is monumentally silly. The proper analogy here isn't Uber, it's the movie theater business. Home entertainment centers are ubiquitous, but movie theaters have survived these past few decades. Why? Well, because the experience of the theater can't be fully replicated in the home. I would think this would be all the more true in the case of restaurants, where the quality of the food and atmosphere are even more paramount than they are in the experience of watching a movie.
"Our chefs are amateurs, and when they sign up they undertake to do this on an occasional basis," says Camille Rumani, Vizeat's co-founder. "The idea is that people visiting a city - or indeed people living there - can search out a more authentic experience, one in which they can have a proper exchange with local people and make new friends. It is not competition for restaurants. It is a new market we are opening up."
That's so obviously true, it's a wonder it actually has to be stated. Restaurants shouldn't feel threatened at all, nevermind trying to get the government to shut down a not-really-competitor for no good reason.

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Filed Under: competition, cooking, home cooking, innovation
Companies: vizeat


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 7:38am

    Next up, typewriter companies complaining that the computer is putting them out of business

    "In the space of three years Airbnb has tripled its presence in Paris - to the point that there are now 50,000 flats advertised on its website," Synhorcat's president Didier Chenet tells me. He says small and medium-sized hotels have been hit hard and over the summer they had to drop their prices. "If the government doesn't do something to stop the underground restaurants, it will be the same disaster. There are people out there offering a service which is identical to restaurants: a choice of starters, main courses, desserts, wine, the works.

    You can certainly tell this is coming from a representative for chefs, you can practically taste the sense of entitlement. No one owes them, whether hotels or restaurants, success in the face of competition. If someone can draw in customers to stay at their house rather than a hotel, or if someone is willing to pay to have someone come to their house to cook for them, then clearly the 'professionals' are doing something wrong and/or need to adapt.

    It's not the government's job to step in and protect a business model under attack from competition, that's the job of those using the business model, who either step up their game or go under.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 8:47am

    I was going to blog about this, but an ISDS tribunal ruled that my personal blog was putting the big media companies out of business.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 8:50am

    You can tell that they're really grasping at straws here. When has a bar or any place serving alcohol ever been held responsible for selling legal alcohol to someone that went on to drive while drunk? It's the shop-selling-a-knife-to-a-murder argument all over again. What next? Are renowned French fashion brands going to sue cheaper alternatives out of business on the grounds that they provide unwanted competition?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 10:00am

      Re:

      Acuall they have. It has been called a Dram Shop Law. I know that New York had it because it was widely quoted as the reason for a program that was started in Maryland called Responsible Alcohol Management which required servers, bartenders and managers to become certified through a program run by the state police and paid for by several of the local beer distributors.

      The case from NY told about a customer who had been out drinking and stoped by one last place for one last drink, then killed someone on the way home. The story goes that the manager (who was at home in bed), the bartender, and the server all went to jail, even though they only served one drink, they should have recognized that the customer was in no condition to be served let alone drive. It is illegal to serve a drunk customer in at least several states. The responsible alcohol managenent program in Maryland taught the signs of over imbibing, on the pretext of preventing a Dram Shop law from being enacted there.

      Now that experience was around thirty years ago, I have no idea what exists now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 2:53pm

        Re: Re:

        > The story goes that the manager (who was at home in
        > bed), the bartender, and the server all went to
        > jail, even though they only served one drink

        I would be very interested in knowing how they managed to impose criminal liability-- i.e., prison time-- on someone who wasn't even present when the drink was served.

        I can see the manager possibly being held civilly liable under the theory of respondeat superior, but to put someone in prison based on something over which they had zero knowledge and control is not only absurd, but it doesn't even meet the intent element in the statute itself.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 7:41pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I don’t know the legal justifications, but it fits with my understanding of management.

          Under my understanding, everything that happens in a business; good, bad, or indifferent is the manager’s fault whether they are there or not. That person is responsible for setting standards, training, delegation, follow through, leadership and all the other responsibilities that come along with the title, or they don’t get the title. Who else should one blame? If it really is the subordinates fault, it’s the manager’s fault that that subordinate is still employed, and that the manager failed to foresee failure in the works or provide appropriate supervision in his/her absence.

          This is why I get really angry when some middle or line manager takes the fall in corporations that are found doing wrong. It’s the CEO’s fault. If that person didn’t set up their organization in such a way that subordinate managers understand their responsibilities, and then audit their execution, shame on the CEO, not the poor sap who is still in training.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            btr1701 (profile), 2 Nov 2015 @ 1:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            > Under my understanding, everything that happens
            > in a business; good, bad, or indifferent is the
            > manager’s fault whether they are there or not.

            Yes, as I said, that works with civil liability, but with criminal liability, the statutes and the Constitution's due process requirement would forbid sending someone to prison for actions they had nothing to do with.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 10:10am

      Re:

      Well, the fashion designers could always demand that the government license and regulate sewing machines. I'd say this is just a little joke if I hadn't read the article.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 11:04am

      Re:

      "When has a bar or any place serving alcohol ever been held responsible for selling legal alcohol to someone that went on to drive while drunk?"

      Very frequently, in my state. If someone is busted for drunk driving, the driver is asked where they got their last drink. Whoever that was (whether a bar, a party, friend's house, whatever) is on the hook too.

      If a bar or restaurant is named too frequently, it loses its liquor license in addition to whatever other penalties were levied.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 8:53am

    Well, the drink-driving problem is easily solved by having the chefs partner with Uber.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 9:28am

      Re:

      "Do these people realise that if a customer drink-drives after a meal, they - the chefs - are partly responsible?"

      Isn't the whole point that the chef comes to you so you don't have to drive home?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 10:20am

        Re: Re:

        At first it sounded to me like the chef comes to you, but another read says that the chef is in fact hosting the customized "meal event" in his/her own home. Sort of like reverse catering.

        Maybe they should just call it Reverse Catering instead of Meal-Sharing. Or Customeat. No, that's horrible.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 8:55am

    This is costing us jobs - let's ban home cooking!

    - Les French

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 8:58am

    "Meal-sharing, they're calling it, because everything has to be sharing apparently"

    Well, yeah, what else would you call it? Before there were services setting themselves up to connect people like this, I could accept a ride, accept an invite for a meal or sleep in an apartment for a night, and "sharing" would have been one of the words applied. Other more specific ones too, of course (such as lodging or hitching), but they were all under the banner of sharing. Unless you're scared of profits, it's normal human behaviour.

    "He says small and medium-sized hotels have been hit hard and over the summer they had to drop their prices"

    Hey, guess what? The reason why AirBnB became popular in the first place is because it was often cheaper than a hotel! Sure, this means they may skip some frills and service, but sometimes you just need a bed. I don't pay premium if I know I'm on a busy weekend and will only be sleeping in whatever accommodation I book.

    "I would think this would be all the more true in the case of restaurants, where the quality of the food and atmosphere are even more paramount than they are in the experience of watching a movie."

    Exactly (although many would argue that it's the experience of a cinema that makes them go elsewhere - I've not bothered with the new Paranormal Activity at a theatre because of stories I've heard of the crowds at other screenings, for example).

    A restaurant is more than just food. If people want "professional" cooking, high class ambience, great service and the like, they might choose a restaurant. If someone simply wants a meal, or they can't afford to pay the premium then the'll choose this, or maybe a burger.

    In fact, I'd argue that what they might need to be worried about is not the "someone else is offering cheaper food" aspect, but the parts of the service they can't easily replicate ("a more authentic experience...proper exchange with local people... make new friends"). Sure, this is possible at a restaurant, but you're more likely to get meaningful interaction with the couple who invited you and a few others into their home than the couple at the table next to you who just want to be alone for an evening.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 9:03am

      Re:

      Well, yeah, what else would you call it?

      Rent-a-chef?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 10:36am

      Re:

      That's why I NEVER eat at a restaurant that advertises "home cooked meals" or anything similar. If I wanted HOME cooking, I'd stay home and cook! When I go out, I want PROFESSIONAL cooking and an obsequious serving staff. If they aren't going to provide that, screw 'em!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 11:26am

        Re: Re:

        'Obsequious serving staff'? We're talking about France, here.

        (Obligatory stereotype joke. Then again, France seems to be doing its damnedest to earn its stereotypes.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          tqk (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 3:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Then again, France seems to be doing its damnedest to earn its stereotypes.

          Yeah well, look at what the British are doing. And USA. And most of the rest. Okay, British cooking may have improved some. Some!

          At least the French are good at that snooty nose-in-the-air pose of theirs, and it seems their only imperial ambitions relate to Syria these days.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 8:59am

    The proper analogy here isn't Uber, it's the movie theater business. Home entertainment centers are ubiquitous, but movie theaters have survived these past few decades. Why?

    No no no, Uber is the better comparison. The Studios manipulate the market to protect the movie theatres by making sure that officially a film is shown in an area in a the theatres before it is released to the home market.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 9:05am

      Re:

      No no no, Uber is the better comparison. The Studios manipulate the market to protect the movie theatres by making sure that officially a film is shown in an area in a the theatres before it is released to the home market.

      I am reminded of how much of a hissy fit movie theaters threw when Netflix had gotten rights to simultaniously air the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon when it hit the theaters.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 9:07am

      Re:

      It would be like a theater showing a movie and then getting pissed off by a person showing off home videos at their home theater.

      The food isn't coming from the restaurant, it's not even being copied from the restaurant, it's completely home made. In fact, that seems to be the point. The restaurant isn't providing an authentic local experience, these people are.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 30 Oct 2015 @ 9:11am

      Re:

      No no no, Uber is the better comparison. The Studios manipulate the market to protect the movie theatres by making sure that officially a film is shown in an area in a the theatres before it is released to the home market.

      Well, that's the solution for the restaurants, right? If food was released to the home market only three months after being available in restaurants, the restaurant crisis could likely be averted.

      Not taking into account French cheese, though.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 9:03am

    He says small and medium-sized hotels have been hit hard and over the summer they had to drop their prices.
    Ah. There's the reason for the moral panic.

    Let them eat cake.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 9:03am

    given the stupidity that has been employed in France recently over copyright and security, when is the next law coming in that says everyone must go to a restaurant to eat every day?? at least then no one would be taking home recipes, even from just looking at plates of food, or taking photos, and then cooking up home made dishes

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2015 @ 2:42am

      Re:

      I would venture a guess that this is part of the "kitchen-wars" going on in Paris: We have the traditional diners, bistros and the bars.

      I would guess that the bars are completely greek catholic on the issue. The bistro-owners are to some degree participating in the innovations. The problem is only really a concern for the traditional diners. Thus, if you dig deeper the problems you mention are only present in the religiously conservative traditional diners and they are economically under pressure from "fair" competition despite their beliefs.

      A lot of interesting innovative services are getting sabotaged in mafia-ways, by getting stock destroyed, legal threats and a sworn enemy to damage their reputation if they make a slight mistake. At least they are merely talking smack here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 9:04am

    Easy excuse overlooks a real issue...

    No it is not the government's job to protect a business model. But a government can set rules that puts everybody on an equal footing. And if VizEat or something similar sets up in the US people will quickly find out about such rules. Health and building codes for restaurants are such that most home kitchens would NOT pass. I've seen day care centers build in what started as a residential home and they had to gut their kitchen & laundry area to install commercial grade appliances. In some areas they also have to install fire sprinklers, which is not a common feature in a US single family house.

    I'd bet that the majority of complaints aren't so much about competition but rather that a restaurant had to spend so much money to even start their business and a homeowner appears to be getting by without. And that doesn't even include the required (in some areas) unannounced health department inspections: are the VizEat participants getting those too?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 30 Oct 2015 @ 9:31am

      Re: Easy excuse overlooks a real issue...

      When I grew up, there was a nice lady on the block that had a baby sitting service in her home. Had a nice fenced yard, and watched a lot of the neighbor kids. There is nothing wrong with this set up at all.

      Commercial grade appliances? Sprinklers in a standard residential home? This is regulatory capture to prevent a neighbor who's already at home from benefiting their local neighborhood by providing a valuable service with affordable child care, which would hit lower incomes communities the worst. But it's a typical "Think of the children!", despite Mom now can't afford to get a job since she doesn't have reasonable child care options.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 10:44am

        Re: Re: Easy excuse overlooks a real issue...

        This is regulatory capture to prevent a neighbor who's already at home from benefiting their local neighborhood by providing a valuable service with affordable child care, which would hit lower incomes communities the worst. But it's a typical "Think of the children!"


        This is it in a nutshell. The root of almost all business problems today. Preventing competition, even from the tiniest of sources, because they feel entitled to making a killing in the market. And there are already laws in place to handle problems... if a person's kitchen isn't clean and someone gets sick, they can be fined as well as paying the doctor bill. Anything more is regulatory capture to prevent competition.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      AricTheRed, 30 Oct 2015 @ 10:04am

      Re: Easy excuse overlooks a real issue...

      "... In some areas they also have to install fire sprinklers, which is not a common feature in a US single family house..."

      Go ahead and own a house in Tiburon, CA or almost anywhere in the county surrounding it and try and remodel. You will likely have fire sprinklers soon enough...

      http://www.rossvalleyfire.org/prevention/planning-and-permits/faqs

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 9:20am

    Competition?

    Restaurants shouldn't feel threatened at all, nevermind trying to get the government to shut down a not-really-competitor for no good reason.
    More to the point, any restaurant that *does* feel threatened by an amateur chef cooking out of their home is probably not a very good restaurant anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 9:30am

      Re: Competition?

      On the other hand, a very good restaurant likely has a very good chef. The threat to the restaurant owner is that his very good chef will quit to be his own boss. Setting his own hours and using his own kitchen, without the hassle of trying to start up and run a full restaurant of his own.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 9:54am

        Re: Re: Competition?

        And here we have the reason for commercial regulation, it ensures that those with money can profit off of the labours of those who have skills.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          David, 31 Oct 2015 @ 2:56pm

          Re: Re: Re: Competition?

          Well, if they couldn't, it would devaluate everyone's money. The whole point of money is that you can make it do everything.

          For example, rooting out murder for hire is driving inflation: the more organized crime you root out, the less power money buys.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Roger Strong (profile), 2 Nov 2015 @ 1:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Competition?

            Organized crime is lousy at driving the economy:

            Organized crime takes in over 8 billion dollars a year and spends very little on office supplies.
            - Woody Allen

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 9:36am

    We can't compete with that!!!!!

    There is nothing made at any restaurant, anywhere, that you cannot make for yourself at home, should you want to go to the trouble, and can find the ingredients. That implicitly means there are other reasons for the existence of restaurants. What might those be?

    Convenience comes to mind, whether one is travelling, or just does not want to expend the effort required to make a particular meal, or are in a hurry (for a large variety of reasons), or at the very least, at a restaurant the customer rarely has to do the dishes.

    Entertainment comes to mind, styles of service, atmosphere, ambiance, actual entertainers performing are all parts of what is offered by restaurants in combinations that create unique creations that help to differentiate one restaurant from another.

    Style of food and beverage, where one may be familiar with the preparation of some cuisines, being familiar with the preparation of all cuisines is an effort that can take a lifetime to accomplish. If a diner wishes to experience different cuisines, having a variety of restaurants to attend is a fairly simple way to go about it.

    Quality; even if one is an accomplished cook, not every new recipe turns out correctly the first time. Differences in available ingredients may make a dish completely different than the same dish created in its locale of origin by an accomplished practitioner. Bouillabaisse, for example, is extremely difficult to create properly outside of Marseilles simply because several of the fish in the original recipe just do not exist elsewhere.

    In my opinion the restauranteurs of France would be better off looking back at their own operations from a third party perspective, listening to their customers as well as the rest of the marketplace, and doing a better job of defining how they are different and better than their competitors, including this new breed of home cooks who are charging for their services. Just how do they compare in the matrix of price, quality, service, ambiance, atmosphere, entertainment, convenience, style of service, style of food and beverage, etc.? Is their market the usual urban 7-10 blocks, suburban 7-10 miles or are they good enough and unique enough to be considered a destination restaurant with a 50 mile or greater market reach? How are they going about letting potential customers know about what they are offering?

    Complaining to the government tells us they are unable or unwilling to compete and are seeking protection for substandard offerings.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 31 Oct 2015 @ 7:19am

      Re: We can't compete with that!!!!!

      "There is nothing made at any restaurant, anywhere, that you cannot make for yourself at home"

      You are forgetting skill. There is no way that I am capable of cooking a restaurant-quality meal at home. I just don't have the skilllset or talent required.

      That's what a restaurant gives me that I can't get at home: excellently prepared food.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2015 @ 8:31am

        Re: Re: We can't compete with that!!!!!

        Context is important. You left out the next bit “should you want to go to the trouble, and can find the ingredients” which is in part the skill development. But I have to tell you most of what makes a professional cook, professional is learning planning and organization. Sure there is skill and knowledge developed in either a culinary school or an apprenticeship program, but knowing the correct way to hold a knife is not going to greatly affect the way your meal turns out. Learning the difference between cooking something fast or slow can be as simple as learning to listen to the speed of the sizzle. Skill development, as in many things, is a matter of making many mistakes and learning how NOT to do something.

        Find recipe sources (cookbooks) from chefs/cooks you trust (takes the do it, try it, fix it method) and then compare recipes for the same or similar dishes. I don’t mean the ingredients list, I mean the method of preparation parts. What are the differences? What are the similarities? Do things. If you like the results do them again, if not…

        Ask yourself, John, how did you become a baker? Learning to cook is exactly the same process. The difference between you and a professional is that the professional has memorized a couple of thousand recipes and could plan and organize a meal for a thousand people, or several meals for a hundred. Oh, there is some experience thrown in (learning timing so the steak and the accoutrements hit the plate at the same time, or several dishes finish at like times), but experience come from throwing oneself in front of challenges rather than hiding behind a fear of potential failure.

        Now if we are talking about the creative parts of cooking, to a large degree we have to discuss risk taking. Who knew that peanut butter and chocolate would go together until someone tried it (and there is a good chance that it was an accident)? Knowing that your new creation will be a hit with your customers is where the risk comes in. They will either like your new concoction, or not. There is a lot of opportunity for success, and failure. There are many methods of preparation, and there are many foods. I am reminded about discussing those newfangled computer thingies around 1980 with someone who was supposed to know about them. I was looking for a recommendation as to what I should look for in a computer. The gentleman asked me what I wanted to do with the computer, and I responded “write recipes”. He thought for a moment, and highlighting one of the issues with machines of that era, asked “have you considered the size of the set of all food?”

        I love watching cooking shows, at least the kind that appear on PBS (you can take the competition shows and stuff them where the sun don’t shine, oh and by the way the term master has specific connotation and I doubt any of the TV people touted to be masters could pass the two week long test to gain that certification) and I particularly love Julia Child, but I would never let her in my kitchen during production, to cook. Poor Julia could not plan or organize her way out of a paper bag, let alone run a kitchen during a meal period. But she is a great, great cook. So, when one tries to compare oneself with “professionals” one must take care about which criteria is under examination.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 1 Nov 2015 @ 10:34am

          Re: Re: Re: We can't compete with that!!!!!

          Here's the interesting thing: I am an excellent baker, and I do know the basic skills of cooking.

          My poiint, though, is twofold. One is what you discussed here -- yes, nearly everyone can become a competent cook if they are willing to put in the time and energy. I am not so willing, because I dislike cooking. I love baking, hate cooking.

          However, you can't discount talent. One of the reasons that I hate to cook is because I don't have the talent of being able to know how flavors and textures work together.

          Like most other activities, you can learn rules about that sort fo thing -- that's why it's possible to become competent. However, no amount of book learning will teach you the talent or instinct to rise above the rules.

          Therefore, I will never be able to produce a meal that is as good as what a decent restaurant can produce. I can certainly cook healthy meals that are edible, but that's a whole different thing.

          At a restaurant, I personally am not paying for atmosphere. A couple of my favorite restaurants of all time have the ambiance of truck stops. I am paying for expertise.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2015 @ 11:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: We can't compete with that!!!!!

            I think you may be selling yourself short. That said, I am not suggesting that you or anyone else go out and try to compete with someone succeeding as a professional chef, unless they really, really want to.
            “tal·ent
            ˈtalənt/Submit
            noun
            1.
            natural aptitude or skill.
            "he possesses more talent than any other player"
            synonyms: flair, aptitude, facility, gift, knack, technique, touch, bent, ability, expertise, capacity, faculty;”

            While one individual's skills might be developed rather than natural does not mean that learned skill cannot compete against natural skill. The natural skill may have an easier time of it, but the one developing skill may work harder. Could it be that at your current station in life you would prefer to enjoy rather than expend the effort?

            I have mentioned in other posts the concept of supertasters. These people have many more olfactory and tongue oriented receptors than the average person, which gives them advantages when it comes to tasting. I am not a supertaster. A chef that has ability as a supertaster may have an advantage over other chefs or just others, when it comes to discerning taste, but that does not help when one's clientele cannot appreciate what the supertaster might, or disagree with their conclusions. A supertasting chef still has to depend upon non supertasting customers.

            To some degree you contradict yourself when you tell us that “I don't have the talent of being able to know how flavors and textures work together.” yet you go to restaurants where you appreciate the ‘talents’ of the chefs in those areas. Without being disparaging in any way, monkey see monkey do. There is no copyright in food or recipes, no matter how much some may desire it to be so. Copy what you learn and appreciate during your forays into the realm of your favorite restaurants, at least at those times you wish to make the effort at home.

            The reality is that the mystique around chef’s is just that, and they often go out of their way to reinforce that mystique, because it helps their profession and businesses. I do not suggest that this is wrong and I am sure there are other professions where the same holds true. That does not mean one cannot recognize the wizard behind the curtain pulling levers and achieve excellent results for themselves should the desire burn bright enough. If it does not, or even if it does, enjoy your favorite restaurants and continue your search for new favorites. Who knows, those experiences might just lead you to some creativity at home one day.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 9:53am

    Catering is regulated

    "Catering" is regulated in my state. You can't cook catered food in your house, which contains bedrooms. If it is cooked on your property, it has to be in a separate building. The kitchen is supposed to be inspected by the health department.

    A quick glance at google search results for catering laws indicates that the person has to have food safety training and a permit.

    A quick glance at Bed and Breakfast food laws indicates that zoning and food service licenses are factors also.

    It looks like somebody could make this really complicated and sticky.

    ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 31 Oct 2015 @ 7:21am

      Re: Catering is regulated

      What is "catering", legally speaking? If I cook a meal for my sick friend, is that catering?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2015 @ 8:51am

        Re: Re: Catering is regulated

        I am not sure about legal definitions, but from one standpoint we could say that it is a meal planned in advance. In some cases that meal is served at your venue (off of our premises), in others it might be our venue (banquet rooms), but as a private affair rather than a public dining room.

        In the example you give, it would depend upon whether you get paid for the service and may also depend upon whether it is something that is happening on an ongoing basis. It would matter if there was a regular income stream large enough for others to take notice. As others have mentioned, local regulations have some to do with this (taxes, fees, sanitation rules, etc.), including running a business in a local zoned as residential.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 1 Nov 2015 @ 10:43am

          Re: Re: Re: Catering is regulated

          So then the AC's concern about this being complicated is without merit. The online service itself is not cooking anything for anybody, therefore they aren't catering, and whether or not the cook offering their services is catering depends on their circumstances.

          Sounds like the existence of this service changes nothing in this area.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2015 @ 11:47am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Catering is regulated

            Well rules in our locales may be different than those in France and the complainers may use their local rules to impact these 'home chefs', but it still sounds to me like those having a poor understanding of competition looking for some anti-competative aid.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2015 @ 12:30am

        Re: Re: Catering is regulated

        "By way of trade" is a magic phrase commonly used in English and commonwealth law to deal with that sort of thing - essentially you're doing something by way of trade if it is your main source of income or it produces enough income to report to the taxman, of if you want to claim expenses for tax.

        The other way to test is whether you're deriving an income from it even it isn't sufficient to be by way of trade.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2015 @ 8:50am

        Re: Re: Catering is regulated

        It's kinda like prostitution:

        1) Service performed by a stranger.

        2) Money has to change hands.

        3) Less convenient than one might think.

        4) Nine out of ten don't let you kiss 'em on the mouth.

        5) Usually no better than doing it yourself.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wereisjessicahyde (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 10:33am

    Home cleaning is killing Housekeepers. Staying-in is killing babysitters. Not being ill is killing hospitals. Going shopping is killing Amazon.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 10:43am

    I can't wait for the usual clowns to condescendingly explain how this is just a form of piracy and I'm a terrible human being for wanting to eat food in an unapproved manner.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 10:56am

    Automobile ownership by the general public is killing the cabbie business

    Public restrooms are killing the pay toilet industry

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 11:44am

    Notice there is something driving the people to using these services. Politicians and cities have been so intent on raising taxes where ever they can squeeze them in and restaurants and the like have been doing their best to raise their profit levels. The accumulated hit on someone bringing their family for a night out is steadily increasing in price. Restaurants are not like many of the major corporations who may have their own lobbying groups to help them out but it always boils down to the customer paying more in one form or another. Ask the PPV about what happens when you get your prices high.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    matthias, 30 Oct 2015 @ 1:39pm

    There's some important piece of information missing in this article:

    On VizEat, people definitively do not "share" meals, they sell them. There's even a price-slide next to the search! On VizEat you find things like peruan dinner for 40€... Of course it's more direct, you get to know the chef and so on. In the above example, the chef is in her 30's and her profession is "home cook".

    Is this bad? Of course not! But if you offer to people to cook for them for money, you effectively own a restaurant and you should be treated like every other restaurant owner: Pay taxes, own a kitchen that complies to whatever standards are applicable in your location for restaurants, etc.

    Somehow I get the impression, that uber is indeed the better comparison...

    Btw.: Besides the stuff above, I think that regulations for restaurants (or nurseries...) should distinguish between big (or, "real") restaurants and people that cook regularly for not more than a hand full of guests. But if the first ones are being regulated, the others cannot be simply ignored.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 3:03pm

      Re:

      First of all I think that the idea is great but I'm with you that it kind of has an Uber'ish style.

      Restaurants need a liquor license, they need health inspections, fire safety and maybe a disabled entrance. Turning your home into a mini restaurant removes all these necessities.
      While I do think that it is ok for people to do that I get that restaurants might be annoyed that they have to invest in all the stuff while the private restaurants must not.
      But private cooking is only for a few people and normally kitchens are clean enough to pass restaurant standards so I guess as long as they pay their taxes the Gov should allow it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    M. Alan Thomas II (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 2:03pm

    So . . . they're complaining about something very similar to Cuban paladares just because it's a model that they're not used to competing with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 2:57pm

    JUST KILL COMPETETION GOD DAMNIT

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2015 @ 4:26am

    car salesmen guild vs. internet
    real state salesmen vs. internet
    stocks traders vs. HFT algos,
    malls vs. internet,

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2015 @ 7:11am

    This is really just another example of coming full circle. Mealsharing is just the reinvention of the 'public house' concept that goes back to at least Roman times.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    david (profile), 25 Aug 2020 @ 5:36am

    Chipotle restaurants are offering more variety of dishes as compared to its competitors like pandaexpress, Chick-fil-A restaurants. Win $520 burrito bucks if customers take the chipotle sweepstake survey by using https://takecustomersurvey.com/chipotlefeedback/ web link.

    Team of https://takecustomersurvey.com/ always struggle to give best sweepstake surveys to win free coupons, Gift cards.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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