The kitchen may be the heart of the restaurant, but it can be notoriously challenging to manage, from preparing ingredients, cooking, managing staff, and keeping up with customer demands. As a restaurateur, you understand the importance of time management, organization and inventory, but if you are a newbie, kitchen management can be a real challenge.
The Importance of Kitchen Management
Kitchen management can be tricky, but the key is to successful kitchen management is learning how to run it efficiently. How you manage your kitchen can single-handedly make or break the success of your restaurant business.
A commercial kitchen is not your regular everyday kitchen. Every day, a large amount of food is prepared and cooked in a restaurant kitchen. Customer orders keep on coming for hours, and your kitchen staff must serve multiple dishes and keep track of modifications to menu items to make your restaurant guests happy and satisfied.
Both restaurant owners and kitchen staff need to be aware that kitchen management is an inescapable task. But what are the most effective ways to manage a commercial kitchen effectively? How can you face the everyday challenges brought by running a restaurant kitchen? What are the factors to keep in mind when managing a commercial kitchen?
Since kitchen management plays a crucial role in the profitability of the restaurant, we have rounded several ways you can effectively manage your restaurant kitchen efficiently:
- Hiring and training your staff – Your staff is the lifeblood of your kitchen. That is why it is essential to invest in hiring and training your kitchen team as a vital part of kitchen management. Staff recruitment should include a thorough background check and multiple interviews. Having enough people, and the right people, to run your kitchen is essential for an efficient kitchen.
- Proper equipment – The other primary factor for successful kitchen management is having a well-equipped, organized, and streamlined kitchen that is built around making your menu items efficiently. Having everything in place allows kitchen staff to focus on their primary responsibilities, such as cooking and serving exquisite and sumptuous dishes to customers. Make sure to invest in quality kitchen equipment, such as stainless steel and non-corrosive elements. This helps save money, reduce labour costs, and increases overall productivity.
- Maintaining your equipment – Your equipment requires proper care and maintenance to make it last. Heavy cooking equipment requires daily cleaning and weekly or monthly servicing. Unfortunately, many restaurateurs tend to overlook this latter part and end up spending more on investing new kitchen equipment or getting them fixed.
- Menu management – A menu is an important element in your restaurant. It lets your guests know what your restaurant is serving. Managing your menu is a crucial kitchen management task as it helps promote healthier choices, save time and money and sharpen grocery skills. Also, a great menu design with a balanced amount of creativity helps catch the customer’s attention and can define your restaurant in your customers’ minds.
- Inventory and stock management – An inventory is a brief list of everything that goes into preparation and making the food. It includes kitchen supplies, ingredients, and cooking tools and equipment. A detailed inventory list is a crucial factor for successful kitchen management. Keeping track of your inventory regularly keeps you informed on how much stock you need weekly or monthly. This enables you to save food costs and minimize kitchen waste.
- Food safety and hygiene – Sanitation is a significant part of kitchen management. Staff are more likely to work efficiently in a clean and well-organized kitchen. Cleaning and sanitation audits should be implemented on a regular basis.
How to Boost Kitchen Efficiency
Successful kitchen management is never an easy task, whether you are a newbie or a seasoned restaurateur. Proper preparation, tools, training, and resources make a huge difference in managing your restaurant kitchen more efficiently.
Here are some proven-effective tips that will help boost the efficiency of your commercial kitchen:
- Listen to your employees – The power of listening to your employees enables you to get the real picture of the kitchen workflow. While many restaurateurs feel like it is their responsibility to manage and run the kitchen efficiently, listening to their feedback allows you to understand and see the entire process through their eyes. It also brings different issues to the table and allows management to take immediate action and proactive approach.
- Streamline the menu – Serving sophisticated, unique dishes attracts more customers to your restaurant. However, make sure that your kitchen staff has the right equipment, ingredients, and skills to serve everything on your menu.
Streamlining your menu means being practical that your staff can properly handle everything without putting an undue burden on them. Choose recipes that are within their cooking skills. Keep in mind that good food is all about taste and presentation.
- Create an employee manual – Having a well-established standard operating procedure helps ensure the safety of your staff, organization of workflow, and consistency of quality throughout the kitchen. This allows your team to review the SOP to ensure that they are in sync with the kitchen rules and regulations. Make sure to update the SOP regularly.
- Establish an efficient inventory system – An efficient inventory system ensures that your kitchen has enough supply of ingredients and proper cooking equipment for your daily operation. Running out of supplies can slow down your operation and affect customer satisfaction. A detailed inventory system helps you know when you need to restock and review standard orders.
- Set up specific workstations in the kitchen – To ensure steady workflow in the kitchen, make sure to set up clear workstations for different duties. Dedicate separate areas and doors for inventory to come in and for cooked meals to be delivered to customers. Setting up specific work areas ensures that foods stay safe and uncontaminated, and the kitchen area is not congested. Contamination of food is a serious concern, especially for customers with allergies.
Never Underestimate Talent And Training
With any good restaurant, your most valuable asset is your staff. Advanced technology has made restaurant operations more efficient, convenient, and profitable. Restaurants invest in modern cooking equipment and state-of-the-art point of sales system to streamline kitchen management and daily operations. However, we should never take the old-fashioned human skills and training for granted. An expensive cooking device can never measure up to the skills of a chef for creating mouth-watering dishes. When technology falters, your staff can quickly carry or change your customers’ orders and communicate directly with the kitchen staff.
Making minor improvements can go a long way in making your restaurant kitchen more efficient and your guests happy and satisfied. Being open to change and enhancements can bring significant benefits to your business.
If you think that your restaurant kitchen needs professional renovation and/or remodelling to expedite and improve your kitchen performance, call PT General Contractor Inc. at (416) 757-9100 to book an appointment with our restaurant contractor in Toronto.