The kitchen is the heart of any restaurant. If your kitchen isn’t running at peak performance, it can take down your whole restaurant. With just a few improvements, you’ll be able to fill more orders and keep your customers happy and coming back for more.
Staying organized should be your top priority and every single thing in your kitchen must have a home. That way, any staff member working on any given day will know exactly where each ingredient or equipment is. When you are deciding where to house each item, think about where it will be used frequently and place it nearby.
Staying organized not only helps with efficiency but also safety too. So make sure to keep power cords away from walkways and make sure that all cleaning products are stored in an area entirely separate from any food storage.
When it comes to your menu, it should be proportionate to the amount of kitchen space and staff you have. Try simplifying your menu items to your most popular dishes. Using a POS system (or point of sale system) can help you to track how frequently your dishes are ordered. If you notice that a dish isn’t selling well, then remove it from your menu. This will reduce your overall costs and help you to minimize food waste.
When auditing your menu, you can further reduce your food waste by sticking to dishes that require common ingredients. This will reduce the number of ingredients that need to be purchased and organized, and will help improve overall efficiency. Work with your head chef to streamline the menu, and you will be on track for success.
When you have your restaurant, you should make sure you have a kitchen manager whose job it is to count, track, and order ingredients. They should be taking an inventory of ingredients at the start of every shift. This will help you to minimize food waste, give you valuable insight into your food costs, and help you to calculate your profit margin down the line.
This is another area where the right POS system can be very useful. Some POS systems have inventory management functions that will help you track ingredient usage down to each serving. This is one way that you can work smarter, not harder.
Observation and Mapping
One of the easiest ways to increase kitchen efficiency is to simply observe. You can’t fix anything until you know what is wrong. Create a rough map of how the kitchen layout is currently organized, then take the time to watch your kitchen on a busy night. Makes notes on your map of where, when, and why certain areas become problem areas throughout the night. You may start to notice areas where bottlenecking occurs, congestion builds up, and things get spilled. Find the traffic patterns and then find solutions for those areas.
Communicating with your staff is a great way to improve morale and make your staff feel heard. Their feedback will also give you insight on how to improve specific problems that you may not be able to see. When things get hectic in the kitchen, emotions run high. Make sure to check in with your staff frequently so that you can intervene accordingly. You may find that most interpersonal issues are born out of kitchen efficiency issues and can be easily solved. Listen when your employees have suggestions. If you make your employees part of the solution, they are also more likely to adapt to the new way of operating.
Assigning workspaces to line cooks is one way to improve your kitchen’s flow and reduce congestion. For example, have the prepping done in one area and grilling and sauté functions happen in another. This will help prevent back-of-house staff from working on top of each other.
Two Door Kitchen Access
Another layout element that will improve your kitchen’s flow is the use of two doors. If you have two doors to your kitchen, use one for incoming traffic and one for exiting traffic. If employees go in one door and out the other, it will streamline the workflow and prevent unwanted collisions.
When thinking about the layout of your kitchen, you should consider how often that equipment will need to be cleaned. For example, with a meat slicer that must be cleaned frequently, you can make sure it is near the cleaning area or on wheels for easy transportation. If you have back-up equipment, it should be stored somewhere that is easy to access but also out of the way.
Additionally, nothing brings a kitchen to a grinding halt like broken equipment. So make sure that your kitchen manager regularly checks equipment and that all repairs are completed promptly.
Even if your kitchen is perfectly organized and the layout is designed to perfection, you’ll still need to hire top-quality kitchen staff. Every restaurateur needs a team of professionals that will be able to handle the demands of their kitchen.
An efficient staff member will make fewer mistakes, work quickly, and be able to communicate effectively. If you put in the work to hire quality staff members, your kitchen will run better and produce better food–it’s a win-win. It is also equally important to efficiently schedule your staff. If you have too many staff members at one time, your kitchen will be crowded and won’t function smoothly. Similarly, if you don’t have enough staff scheduled during a rush, your kitchen won’t be able to handle the number of orders promptly.
With these helpful tips, you’ll be able to improve the overall efficiency of your kitchen. The faster your kitchen can produce quality food, the better your customers’ experiences will be. There will likely always be ways for you to improve your restaurant, so keep observing and improving. Your restaurant will be a well-oiled machine in no time.