A couple of months back, I mentioned that I was going to dinner at The Frog and The Peach, regularly cited as one of the best restaurants in New Jersey. As often seems the case these days when I go to a nice restaurant, I got and enjoyed the duck. And every time I get it, I have to resist the urge to say, "I'll have the roast duck with the mango salsa."
The Courier News lets us know that the restaurant is trying to add a little bit of entertainment value to the cuisine that they're serving. What better way to pass the time while waiting for your food than to watch it being prepared in the kitchen via a high-definition television?
The Frog and The Peach in New Brunswick has placed two high-definition televisions at the bar, which are connected to two cameras in the kitchen. The televisions show food as it is being prepared live in the kitchen.
Betsy Alger, owner of The Frog and The Peach, says “Frog Net,” short for Frog Network, brings the excitement of the kitchen into the dining room.
Diners will get a chance to follow their meal as it makes its way through the kitchen.
We have one camera focused on “the line” where the hot food is prepared. Another is on “the pass” where the finishing touches are added to the plate before the food leaves the kitchen.
This sort of thing reflects the "food TV effect" in a way that goes beyond the fact that people are interested in watching people cook on television. The Food Network and other food programs have created a culture of foodies who are knowledgeable enough about cooking to want to take a more active role in both their cooking at home and their dining while in restaurants.
Something like Frog Net gives them a chance to become more involved in the dishes they're about to eat. They recognize the ingredients and the techniques that they've seen on television being used on their meal, and they get the gratification of getting to see and taste the results right away.
This sort of understanding and appreciation is a valuable marketing tool. Think about a winery that sponsors guided tastings or a craft store that hosts arts & crafts classes. In each case, the attendee gains knowledge or experience that makes them more likely to become a recurring customer in the future. In effect, food television is creating that same kind of knowledgeable, experienced customers, much to the benefit of people like restaurateurs and specialty food purveyors.