One characteristic that defines any successful restaurant is organization. From ownership down to the janitor, the organizational structure can often determine how well a restaurant performs in the long run. This is especially true for the kitchen. It’s not surprising to learn that many restaurants fail due to a lack of organization in the kitchen. This disorganization can often lead to various things that can quickly sink a restaurant’s reputation such as poor customer service, subpar tasting dishes, and food inspection violations. While no kitchen is perfect, it’s still a good idea to be highly organized so as to minimize problems.
So, what are some ideas for keeping your kitchen running well? One can apply a methodology from manufacturing known as the 5 M’s (manpower, machine, materials, methods, and metrics) for some guidelines.
Having clear, established procedures in the kitchen goes a long way towards everyone understanding what’s required and expected from them. Procedures can encompass things like opening, closing, safety, and sanitary practices.
A well run kitchen should always have the proper ingredients in stock in the right quantities. Frustration often occurs when there’s not enough of a particular ingredient to make a certain dish. Likewise, overabundance of an ingredient adds nothing to the bottom line either. An organized kitchen will utilize inventory systems to take into account both of these extremes and adjust accordingly.
It’s not enough to know which equipment and utensils a kitchen should have. Further consideration should be given to factors such as how much room they’ll take up, what’s the most efficient kitchen layout in using these tools, and how easy are these tools to clean. This holistic approach to equipment and utensils serves to keep maintenance costs low.
This is clearly the most important “M” in terms of how well organized a kitchen will be. Here are some tips to ensure that your employees contribute to strong organization.
- Assign specific responsibilities for every member of the kitchen. Make sure everyone fully understands what’s expected of them.
- Put employees in position to succeed. It makes good business sense to assign employees roles they’re best suited for.
- Train every employee thoroughly on safety practices. Any kitchen is bound to fail if safety is not emphasized and consistently put in practice.
- People make mistakes. Keeping employee morale high can do wonders even when things go wrong in the kitchen.
- Proper scheduling can ensure that the kitchen runs smoothly no matter how many shifts a restaurant operates.
A review of metrics compiled for each of the other 4 “M”s in conjunction with the bottom line serves as a very useful tool for making any necessary adjustments.
A kitchen serves as the heart of any restaurant. Therefore, ideas for keeping your kitchen running well serve to strengthen the restaurant as a whole. Having an organized kitchen isn’t just a luxury. It can mean the difference between whether your restaurant’s doors stay open for a brief while or for years to come.