As covid restrictions are lifted, many restaurants return to their peak of operations as guests fill the tables. During this time, you may be having a hard time getting back into the swing of things. Having a smooth-flowing kitchen is critical to running a successful restaurant. Here are 7 restaurant kitchen secrets you need to know to boost your efficiency and build your reputation back from the ground up!
1 Designate Work Stations
One of the biggest secrets to a successful, smooth-running restaurant kitchen is to designate what spaces will be used for each task. Depending on the space available to you, your budget, and your menu, you may need to rearrange some areas of your kitchen to allow the highest efficiency level. High-end kitchens often have separate areas for meal preparation that streamline operations as things enter the cooking station. Dishes pass through multiple staff members who each know their designated station and tasks to be completed before moving a plate to the next station.
2 Clean As You Work
At first glance, it may seem like saving the cleaning for the end is the most efficient. Surely stopping to clean wastes time, doesn’t it? Wrong! A common misconception is that letting the dishes pile up until the end saves time, but cleaning as you work through each task while building every plate is much more efficient. You’ll be able to reduce the number of accidents and keep food contamination to a minimum by washing counters and throwing scraps in the trash as you go.
Cleaning during the job also allows equipment, dishes, and utensils to be clean for the next person to use instead of having a considerable build-up of dishes and confusion over where to find a spatula once they’re all dirty. A clean kitchen is an efficient kitchen, so don’t set everything aside for later!
3 Manage Storage
Especially important for restaurants run on a small scale (think food trucks). You will need to use every bit of space available to you. Stacking things vertically and using stackable storage containers will optimize the space open and free up as much as possible for your kitchen staff to do their jobs free from clutter.
4 Organize All Ingredients
Keeping all the ingredients in their place will keep things from going missing and adding to your inventory costs. It will also help your staff remain on track without losing any food orders or being delayed as they try to find the right ingredients. Organize your perishables in order or use. This means using the oldest food items first and putting the newest food items in the back to be utilized later. Doing things in this way will reduce instances of the staff mistakenly using expired ingredients and can minimize overall food waste.
5 Optimize Your Menu
Prolonged wait times are never good for business. If your menu is extensive and encompasses too many dishes, it can get hectic in the kitchen as staff runs themselves ragged in an attempt to fulfill all the orders. Evaluating your kitchen procedures and reducing the number of steps it takes to complete each dish, and having a limited number of dishes can help your cooking team be more efficient at getting orders out quickly.
6 Upgrade or Repair Your Appliances
This might seem obvious to some, but even if you have a 5-star menu, great quality ingredients, and a fantastic location, those things still won’t be enough to get you through the dinner rush without adequately functioning appliances. If you’re prepared to make a long-term investment, purchasing new appliances can be a great way to optimize your kitchen and get things up to speed. But suppose you’re not in a position to make a significant financial purchase.
In that case, you can reach out to a professional service that offers commercial appliance repair in your area to perform regular maintenance or repair anything that’s broken. Once you have a diagnostic result for your appliance’s problem, you can move forward with fixing it or outright replacing it with a new one. Getting all your kitchen appliances functioning will prevent delays in the kitchen and allow all staff members to have confidence in the workability of the kitchen, making things run smoother during big meal rushes.
7 Use Management Software
Using a Point of Sale system or POS can considerably increase your overall efficiency. It’s no secret that typing these days is typically much faster than using a pen and paper. Using management software for order taking can get the information to the kitchen quicker and more clearly, reducing human error in each order. Having a decent POS system can save you time and money.
After these 7 kitchen secrets, you’re sure to be back on the right track! Your restaurant kitchen is the heart of your business. Maximizing your best qualities can give you peak advantages over your competitors as we return to our new “normal” following the coronavirus pandemic.