Everything in a kitchen and service area is interconnected; Organization and timing at all points of intersection help create an effective outcome. Not only are customers counting on your efficiency to provide excellent food and service, but your profitability also hinges on it.
Foodservice is an incredibly fast-paced world. To juggle it all, operations must master the art of efficiency. But what does it look like to operate at this higher level of productivity? We’ll take a look at four ways that can help make your foodservice operation run more smoothly.
1. Smart kitchen layout
A smart kitchen layout is critical to an organized operation. An open design, for example, allows the head chef and managers to keep a closer eye on all stations and provide necessary instruction and feedback to the team. Another efficiency trick is to always keep your workstations stocked with the basics; this helps limit the time staff spends gathering items during service. Lastly, try setting up equipment and workstations with flexibility and workflow in mind. For example, place the prep-station near the cooking area, or the plating area close to the service pick-up station. A well-designed, smooth-flowing kitchen is up for almost any task.
2. Process, process, process
Standard operating procedures (SOP) are clearly written instructions for each process (or menu item). If you haven’t already, think about creating or updating your SOPs with a business technique called process mapping. This tool works by helping you observe and visually map the steps of each process (typically with a flowchart) from beginning to end. It can take some time, but once you’ve got it all mapped out, look to see what areas work well. Eliminate clunky and non-essential tasks, and see if there are pivotal areas that could be changed or improved for greater efficiency. In an industry where every minute counts, distinct and streamlined processes will help your operation become a well-oiled machine.
3. Effective and innovative equipment
Acquiring more equipment isn’t always the answer to increased efficiency, but having the right equipment for each job is. One way equipment can impact efficiency is by being flexible and able to flow with updated processes, menu changes and kitchen revamps. Ventless ovens and compact or countertop equipment are some examples of units that can increase your kitchen’s ability to adapt to future changes. Purchasing equipment that has quick cooking features, intuitive automation and innovative heating technology will increase the efficiency in any kitchen.
4. Equipping staff and managing labor
Foodservice staff is the cornerstone of a productive kitchen. Equipping your staff with proper training, organized SOPs, and clear direction creates confident employees ready to do excellent work. Labor and food costs are the top two players in most restaurants’ budgets — which is why having driven, dedicated and knowledgeable staff is paramount for efficiency and your bottom line. The logistics of managing labor are also critical to a smooth operation. Take a look at shifts. Which shifts drive a higher sales volume or have the most challenging menu? You may need to staff up during these times to ensure you have the workforce for an efficient and successful service. But too many people moving throughout the kitchen can also cause a disruption of flow. A balance of the right workload and the number of staff on each shift will create the right environment for optimal productivity.
Applying the best approach
Paying attention to the details of your foodservice operation and applying the best approach will help increase the efficiency of your establishment, boost customer satisfaction and drive revenue. Looking for other ways to increase efficiency in your kitchen? Here’s how to create speed-scratch dishes.
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