Chef Phil Fanning reveals how he retains customer loyalty – in association with BRITA Professional

The Staff Canteen

Phil Fanning, head chef and owner of Paris House in Bedfordshire, spoke to the Staff Canteen about the importance of building and maintaining relationships, refurbishing his kitchen, and good housekeeping practices.

With a fond appreciation for Japanese culture, past and new, Phil uses various Japanese techniques in his cooking to get the best out of his ingredients. This helps the talented chef achieve maximum flavour in every dish.

Phil Fanning
Phil Fanning

But with new restaurants popping up more than ever, competition to stay relevant is fierce, so how does the chef keep his customer base returning? He cites his varied six, eight, and 10 course tasting menus as the key to retaining his customers’ loyalty.

“We feel that our customers respond better to consistency and value for money. With tasting menus we can increase variety while limiting choice, which allows us to control these key factors. This also goes hand in hand with recognising regulars that walk through the door and showing them an appreciation for their continued support.

“Ultimately, customers respond best to guaranteed consistency. So, learn about their likes, dislikes and habits to build a better picture of who they are and what makes them tick. Ensuring that you have the ability to serve every dish at the best it can be – every single time.”

There are many factors that can damage consistency, with equipment problems being one of the worst. Something that Phil is all too familiar with.

Phil has come across problems in kitchens that don’t use water filters, which has resulted in high investment combi ovens breaking down due to a lack of limescale prevention.

“It doesn’t take long for the build-up of limescale to create costly problems, or even failure of equipment. When essential pieces of equipment like this break they create complicated operational challenges. More often than not they give up at the worst possible time, causing huge distractions and delays in production, which ultimately affect not only the quality of our food, but our ability to deliver quality service too.”

At the end of the day, situations like this could drastically affect customer loyalty – something that no restaurant in the competitive climate we’re in can risk.”

Since coming to the realisation that damage caused by limescale won’t be covered by most warranties, Phil ensures his water filters are replaced regularly to avoid any re-occurrence.

Fact   Chefs arent awareBRITA Professional understands the importance of good water filtration and knows the damage that can be caused to kitchens without it. This is why their products come with digital display screens so the life of your filter can be easily monitored. And BRITA’s new FilterManager app also sends a timely alert when a filter change is approaching, so consistent quality is guaranteed. BRITA’s team of water experts are also always on hand, so no need to worry about being stranded with a broken combi oven during a busy service.

Operating an efficient kitchen is key to any restaurant’s success, which is why Phil has numerous housekeeping practices in place.

“Carefully planned cleaning schedules are key for all pieces of equipment. Everything is cleaned frequently enough to keep the items spotless but not so often that they are worn or damaged by excessive dismantling.

“Making sure staff members are well trained in the maintenance of complex machinery is a must. We ensure all basic preventative maintenance tasks are performed frequently, such as the exchanging of oil, seals, and water filters.”

With a newly renovated kitchen in place Phil is eager to maintain high standards across the board and leaves us with his top tips:

“Preventative maintenance is always better than the cure. Don’t wait for things to break down – ensure you’ve put in the measures in place to stop them from deteriorating in the first place.

“Employ passionate, self-motivated and like-minded team members. And nurture pride in your products and environment.”
About Phil

Phil Fanning’s career began with an appearance on BBC’s Junior MasterChef. His first role was as a commis chef at Danesfield House under Michael McDonald. He later followed Michael when he opened his first restaurant, The Vanilla Pod, where Phil spent three years under the chef’s tutelage honing his abilities and skillset.

After working at a number of establishments worldwide Phil returned to the UK where he turned his focus to fine-dining. In 2007, Phil joined 10 and 8 Group as a Chef De Partie at L’Ortolan restaurant under the leadership of Michelin-starred chef,

Alan Murchison. Seeing Alan as a mentor Phil worked his way up the kitchen to become junior sous chef. Three years later he took on the role as head chef of Bedfordshire’s Paris House buying out former mentor, Alan Murchison. The restaurant received a star in the Michelin Guide UK 2014 followed by a coveted Acorn Award (which recognises culinary talent under the age of 30).

Find out more about BRITA Professional and the perfect water filtration solution by visiting the BRITA website here

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 14th December 2017

Chef Phil Fanning reveals how he retains customer loyalty – in association with BRITA Professional