photo: A Mexican burrito

With the convenience of the Internet, consumers are easily exposed to information available online. There has been a paradigm shift in consumer behavior, where they are more educated and demand transparency in knowing where their food come from through quick research online1. Besides making menus and sources of ingredients transparent to public, one of the steps taken to build trust among consumers is by partnering with reputable chefs from around the world1.

For instance, Chipotle Mexican Grill is an American-based chain of fast casual restaurants in the United States. In recent times, they faced issues in expanding their business model beyond serving burritos to diners. To combat this, they partnered with Richard Blais, a celebrity chef and former Top Chef’s contestant1. One of the key objectives from this strategic partnership was to improve their menu offering to Chipotle diners1. By tapping onto a famous chef’s name to strengthen the brand, this helped Chipotle gain traction among diners through a set of new menu offerings.

In Royal Caribbean’s luxurious ships, their restaurant chains have also partnered with popular celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Jose Garces, and Nobu Matsuhisa for their international cruise lines2. Jamie Oliver prepares his authentic Italian cuisine while Jose Garces offers his Latin-inspired dishes to patrons on board2. Some of the dishes feature poultry, meat, fish, and vegetarian options to diners. According to John Suley, Royal Caribbean International, Vice President of Food and Beverage Operations, he observed that partnering with these celebrity chefs has become a hit among diners2.

Additionally, restaurants chains are also trying to target the Millennial demographic as part of the partnership3. Some of their diners want food to be served fast, reasonably priced, and enjoy the option to customize their dishes according to their preferences3. According to a Zagat report, consumers from a younger generation indicated that they want famous chefs to also join the fast casual dining world3. With an ever-growing demand, restaurateurs employing strategic partnerships with world renowned chefs can reach out to a wider pool of target audience and ultimately, increase demand for their cuisine or restaurant offerings.


Celebrity chefs serving meals in a Royal Caribbean cruise ship


1. Skift Table. (2018). Restaurant Megatrends 2018: Chains Turn to Famous Chefs for Menu Development. [online] Available at: https://table.skift.com/2018/01/23/restaurant-megatrends-2018-chains-turn-to-famous-chefs-for-menu-development/

2. World Cruise Dining Review. (2017). Dining with the Stars – Partnering with Celebrity Chefs. [online] Available at: http://www.worldcruiseindustryreview.com/features/featuredining-with-the-stars-partnering-with-celebrity-chefs-5763509/

3. QSR Magazine. (2016). Here Comes the Chefs. [online] Available at: https://www.qsrmagazine.com/fast-casual/here-come-chefs