open sign

 

Opening the kitchen is one of the most important shifts in any restaurant. However, in too many cases, that shift is given to novices and/or is not taken seriously. The two highest controllable cost centers in most restaurants are food and labor. Opening the kitchen is where many of those dollars are being spent for prep, ordering and receiving.

1. Get In Early

Start at least one hour before anyone else shows up. This gives time to think about and plan the day.

2. Prepare

If ovens need to be pre-heated or water needs to be boiled, don’t wait on your staff to get those things going. Also, get your opening crew their aprons and towels out and ready. Make some coffee. Take some time to make sure your walk-ins and other storage areas are organized. You can take this time to recognize items that need to be used first and pull them to the front of the shelves.

3. Know Your Pars

Write a comprehensive accurate prep list. Don’t over or under prep; over or under order.

4. Execute

Run a great shift! Keep your eye on what’s going on with prep. Make sure recipes are being followed.  Stroll through the walk-ins and storage areas and take note of what is being used. Stay active and keep moving around. Is your crew using rubber spatulas and following sanitation guidelines?

5. Pay It Forward

Hopefully the previous closing crew left you in good shape. Either way, leave the next shift completely prepped, stocked, staffed, clean and ready to go! Meet with the next crew leader and debrief.

If you follow these steps, your whole restaurant benefits. The overall feel, pace and culture of the back of the house will be exceptional.

Zach

20 dollar money

During a recent discussion with a restaurant franchisee, the issue of profitability came up. As he put it, the restaurant business has three basic levers that the owner/management can control: food sales, food costs, and labor costs. I call these the trifecta of restaurant profitability since you simultaneously need to get all three correct. (Ok, food and labor costs are prime costs, so technically it should be called exacta or perfecta of restaurant profitability. I wouldn’t describe most restaurants as exact or perfect. So I went with trifecta.)

These are so important, but when was the last time you looked at them in your restaurant?

Here’s a simple suggestion for each to get you started.

  • Food Costs
    Create a simple sheet that tracks throwaways daily. The restaurant franchisee found $75 a day in savings here.
  • Labor Costs
    Pick a day of the week and look at the staffing verses the sales. Is there an extra hand here?
  • Food Sales
    Pick the five most popular items on your menu. Does your wait staff consistency upsell add-ons for these entrees (assuming it makes sense)?

Thaddeus

P.S. We are working on a product to make the management of the trifecta much easier. More on that in 2013.

 

Photo credits: Money Shots Ver4 by StockMonkeys.com Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License