There’s much to be said when it comes to managing a restaurant kitchen, with the sheer scale of operations and the complexities of running the business, staying organised can be a challenge. From day-to-day tasks to long-term strategies, having a well-planned approach can save both time and money.
And sure, you can spruce up your restaurant décor to increase its appeal, but that’s merely a superficial fix if the kitchen operations aren’t running optimally. Streamlining operations is essential to a business’s success as it increases efficiency, reduces downtime, and improves customer satisfaction.
How Do You Streamline a Commercial Kitchen?
Of course, the way each restaurant completes its operations will be unique. Depending on the size, menu and budget of your business, you’ll have different priorities to focus on. But there are a few basic steps that can help you get on the right path:
Use Trolleys for Greater Efficiency
Most waiters have been in a situation where they have to carry multiple plates across a crowded room, struggling to keep the food steady and not spill anything. For more experienced individuals, this might not be a huge problem but when you have a large number of waiters, it can become an issue.
And why wouldn’t you leverage the overall efficiency of your waiters by providing them with stable and convenient kitchen trolleys they can rely on at all times? Regardless of their level of expertise, you’ll save time as they can quickly drop off various orders without having to make numerous trips back and forth.
Plus, most food trolleys have a considerably larger capacity than a waiter’s hands, often using several shelves to separate each order and a locking mechanism to prevent spills. And even when the customers have finished their meals, the same trolleys can be used to transport dirty dishes back to the kitchen.
Generally speaking, durable kitchen trolleys are made from sturdy materials like stainless steel which can withstand the bumps and scrapes that are inevitable in a busy restaurant. Its non-slip surface also makes sure that the food is secure and therefore less likely to be spilled. And the wheels are designed to be quiet and flexible, so as not to disrupt the dining experience.
It doesn’t matter if you’re using them on a large scale, or if you just want to transport a few dishes, they provide a level of convenience that will make your waiters’ jobs a lot easier. Even with a tight budget, having one or two laying around can help you make the most of your kitchen operations.
Organise Your Space to Manage Clutter
One of the main things that can hinder smooth kitchen operations is a cluttered workspace. All too often, chefs will find themselves surrounded by a heap of dirty dishes, utensils and ingredients which can be particularly frustrating when they need something in a hurry.
As a way to mitigate this issue, you can make sure there’s a designated spot for everything. Not only will it reduce the amount of time spent looking for ingredients, but it’ll also be easier to keep a clean workspace.
For example, you could attach shelves to the walls and arrange them according to size and shape. This way, all your utensils and crockery will have their respective places. Another great idea is to use magnetic strips which can hold your knives in place, as well as any other metal tools that you might require.
Invest in Proper Uniforms
Without a doubt, handling food can get messy. Not only do you have to be wary of cross-contamination, but it also means that the kitchen staff needs to keep their clothing clean and properly maintained.
By investing in durable uniform aprons, you can make sure that your staff always looks professional while they work and won’t have to worry about ruining their own clothes. This added layer of protection can go a long way in ensuring hygienic practices in the kitchen and will also contribute to the overall efficiency of your staff.
Moreover, giving your staff the same uniform aprons can foster feelings of camaraderie, making them more likely to work together as a team. They’ll be acting as a unit and will take more pride in their work, leading to an improved level of performance.
Not to mention the fact that their uniforms can act as walking advertisements for your business. Well-dressed kitchen staff can give the impression to customers that they take their food preparation seriously, increasing the likelihood of them returning in the future. Plus, it’ll be easier for customers to recognise the waiters in case they need their services.
In terms of design, you should consider opting for a plain colour that won’t clash with the overall vibe of your restaurant. Make sure to incorporate your logo into the design and add a few interesting details that align with your brand identity. You can even add custom name tags for an extra personal touch.
You should give your staff at least two sets of aprons, so they can make use of a clean one while their other set is in the laundry. If anything unexpected happens, they’ll always be able to rely on a spare one.
Analyse Your Team’s Workflow
Oftentimes, uncoordinated kitchen operations can be attributed to an inefficient workflow. It may be that your staff aren’t aware of the tasks they should be prioritising over others, or simply that there are too many cooks in the kitchen.
A great way to tackle this problem is by analysing how each team member works and then modifying their duties accordingly. Let’s say your chefs are waiting too long for orders to be cooked and your waiters aren’t able to serve in time. In this case, you could introduce a new position, such as a prep chef, who can take on some of the lead-up tasks.
Another option is to assign specific roles to each team member, such as one in charge of plating, another responsible for garnishes and so on. This will allow everyone to focus on their chosen task and increase the overall efficiency of your kitchen operations.
Automate Tedious Tasks
It’s no secret that running a restaurant can be demanding and time-consuming. As the owner or manager, it’s your responsibility to make sure that all tasks run smoothly so you can focus on providing an unforgettable experience for your customers.
One of the main ways you can do this is by automating some of the more tiresome tasks. For instance, you could use a computerised system to manage orders from customers and even track inventory levels in real time. This will help you minimise waste and reduce losses due to human error.