A Michelin-Starred Chef Has a Novel Plan to Serve Meals at Cost

Chef John Fraser just launched The Industry Table, an initiative that helps industry workers experience high-end meals sans markup

Chef John Fraser at NYC's Iris. Fraser is starting an affordable booking for industry workers.
Chef John Fraser at NYC's Iris.
Colin Clark

If you think the cost of dining out at a restaurant has become prohibitively expensive, you’re not alone. But one chef in New York is offering an interesting new plan to get industry workers back to the best dining rooms in the city: He’s offering the meals at cost.

On Tuesday, Michelin-star chef John Fraser announced The Industry Table, where hospitality workers can dine at his restaurants in New York — including IRIS, La Marchande, North Fork Table & Inn and The Terrace and Outdoor Gardens at The Times Square EDITION — sans the usual dining markup.

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Per Fraser: “If nothing else, the pandemic reminded us of how much we missed our industry family and community. With nothing more than the simple desire to reconnect and share the fruits of our labor with like-minded, passionate folks, The Industry Table was born.  Alongside my team, we developed an industry-exclusive experience that welcomes you to dine at any of our restaurants as a VIP, entirely at cost. The true intention behind this offering is to help reignite the spirit that brought us into hospitality in the first place while also rebuilding a sense of community and camaraderie.”

Fraser’s intent to help industry workers explore their culinary journey at a reasonable cost is commendable. But it’s also interesting that he notes, “Dining out in New York has become prohibitively expensive.” He’s correct, but it begs the question — what else can restaurants do about the cost to not just industry workers, but the public at large? (Probably not a lot, as food prices are increasing and inflation isn’t dampening anytime soon.)

The Industry Table bookings don’t cover booze because of various laws, and there are blackout dates, cancellation fees and a few other caveats (plus, diners are obviously expected to tip). But overall, Fraser’s initiative is a good way for the culinary industry to help its own workers.


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