One of the hardest things for restaurants is surprisingly not trying getting customers in the door. It’s not getting fresh produce, it’s not securing loans, but it is something so simple it is often over looked. The hardest thing for restaurants to do is get good reliable kitchen staff.
I have seen it time and time again. Restaurants struggle with getting good cooks that can deal with the pressure, preform consistently, and not cause trouble in their outside lives that effect the business. The restaurant industry is plagued with amazing cooks, that sometimes might have some questionable habits.
Although, you have to find solutions for these problems because the show must go on.
Here are some of our general kitchen tips for Atlanta restaurants!
Kitchen Tips For Atlanta Restaurants
It truly is an art running a professional kitchen day after day.
From prepping the food, taking inventory, making sure cooks are on time, to managing the equipment, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes that people do not know about. This is pretty much the case for every restaurant. It is a real challenge.
Therefore, lets start our tips with kitchen staffing. Who do you need to hire, and how often do you need to be hiring new chefs for your back of house success?
Your kitchen is your foundation.
It is where the entire business starts. If the kitchen fails, then you can forget any other jobs in the front of the house. Your marketing is useless, your menu is meaningless, and you are stuck in a boat without a paddle. The kitchen is also referred to as the heart of the house for this reason.
Therefore, it is vitally important to the success of your business that you hire a kitchen manager.
The kitchen manager is in charge of everything in the back of the house, they make sure the work gets done, and keep things moving if there are hiccups. The kitchen manager at my old job really went above and beyond to take care of his staff, provide for their needs, and find solutions to the problems of life that came along. Truly, it is a gift to run a kitchen effectively and efficiently.
You need to find someone who can handle the heat, literally. There is a lot riding on the kitchen, and if it fails, you might as well keep your doors closed.
In addition to an outstanding kitchen manager, you need to constantly be interviewing new back of the house employees. Why might you ask?
Well, simply because this is the part of your business that will turn over the fastest. Really, we had so many cooks come and go it was like clock work. Not to mention a lot of them are prone to getting in trouble and having to be out of work for extended periods of time. Make sure you always have hands available in case this is a problem you experience as well.
In every kitchen, there needs to be a common understanding of what the highest priority ticket is. A trick I have seen many kitchens use is setting up multiple printers.
The kitchen printers are mainly used to get the orders after they are entered into the POS system by the waiters. Once they are entered, the printers will obviously print out the orders so the kitchen knows what they need to prepare.
A common problem for every restaurant is making sure that all of the food is out of the window at the same time. That means the entree is cooked and hot, the sides are prepped onto the plate, and of course the plate looks presentable.
If you are having trouble with this at your establishment, then it might be a good idea to set up multiple printers.
For the restaurant I worked at, we had three printers in the kitchen. One for the guy calling the shots to the main grill, another for the salad area and apps, and a third one by the guys that we called “blue plate”. The blue plate guys was responsible for quick fires and the sides for every plate. This guy had a lot going on at anytime.
It was chaos at times, but it worked. The kitchen team was very efficient, produced good food, got it out all on time, and kept it hot consistently.
A great thing to try and implement is certain rolls for everyone in the kitchen.
I have seen a lot of restaurants rotate people around night after night, and it gets a bit chaotic at times. More than that, chefs will mix up their jobs or forget to do little things since they are always being thrown around. It is best practice to keep certain back of the house members on certain stations.
For example, our blue plate guy was named Tony. Every night he was working in the back of the house, everyone knew who was responsible for side and quick fires – Tony. Tony was the guy, and after a couple of weeks in that position, he rocked it. Everyone could depend on Tony, and he hardly made mistakes.
Meanwhile, there were chefs constantly rotating on the main grill and salad prep. I can not tell you how many times “out first” salads were just forgotten, and steaks and burgers were the wrong temp. It is extremely frustrating for everyone involved.
Therefore, keep consistent jobs in the back of the house. This will help to eliminate stress, confusion and problems.
Who Calls The Shots
Another important thing is to keep a common person calling the shots.
At the window, there should only be one person communicating with the waiters and the chefs. That person should be the same individual plating the food, reviewing the ticket before it leaves the window, and ultimately calling the shots. We called this guy the “Expo”.
If you needed anything from the kitchen, you went through the Expo. This eliminated the kitchen from having 10 people yelling at them asking for items. Keeping order at the window enabled the cooks to properly do their job without being disturbed.
Get an Expo person. You should have one for your busiest nights for sure. They will keep your food looking good, and your back of the house in tact.
Prep Things Daily
My last tip for the back of the house is to prep things daily.
It might seem inefficient to prep things in small batches, but if you prep things daily you can do a few things:
- Eliminate wasting food
- Save money
- Preserve food quality
- Manage inventory better
- Make last minute changes
For the location I worked at in college, we had these nice ladies that would come in every morning around 5 am and prep the meals for the day. They would do everything for us and it made everything run much smoother in the kitchen throughout the day.
Not to mention, we had some of the best food in the area. Rarely did people complain about quality or what they paid for. We did it right, and our customers could tell because they came back time and time again. If you treat your customers right, serve them delicious food consistently, care for your back of the house by setting them up for success, then you will be a happy camper.
Thanks for reading our post on kitchen tips for Atlanta restaurants! I hope this post helps some of you maintain a healthy and reliable back of the house structure. Put in the work to care for your team, and they will ultimately preform better for you then you ever expected.