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.
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.
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.