By Allison Levine, Foodable Contributor
From Korean BBQ and shabu shabu to hot pots and fondue, it is as popular as ever to go to a restaurant where the servers bring you the ingredients to cook your own food. It seems we have come full circle. Now we are paying others so that we can “cook our own meal.”
Cook-it-yourself restaurants are not passive experiences; they’re interactive and communal. For many, the social aspect is the appeal. Groups of friends sit around a hot pot or a grill in the middle of the table as they drink, eat and chat. Diners select pieces of prepared raw food on platters around the table and then wait for them to cook. This enables the diner to cook the meats exactly as they want it.
As for the restaurant, “cook-it-yourself” has some benefits as well. The biggest benefit is in overhead costs. While the restaurant can focus on quality of the products served, they can minimize the number of people needed in the kitchen and on the floor. Service will vary from restaurant to restaurant and from style to style. While there is generally a more hands-off approach in these “cook-it-yourself” restaurants, there are servers are on the floor to help you. For example, in Korean barbecue, servers will regularly check on the table to adjust the temperature of the grill and assist with cooking the meat. At hot pot and shabu shabu restaurants, servers will continue to fill up the pots with more broth which tends to cook down over time.
Learn more about the LA concepts embracing this trend here