The kitchen is the engine room of any restaurant.
No matter how beautiful the décor or sumptuous the wine, without an efficient, well managed kitchen no restaurant can hope to be successful.
When it comes to running a restaurant kitchen, every minute detail and seemingly insignificant decision counts.
Here are our top tips for how to run a restaurant kitchen efficiently and effectively in 2022.
How to run a restaurant kitchen
Whether you’re a restaurant owner, a restaurant manager or one of the line cooks, having a succinct and well structured kitchen is key to your restaurant’s success.
But what does a succinct and well structured kitchen require?
It goes without saying, how you run your restaurant’s kitchen is entirely up to you, and what works for one restaurant might not necessarily work for another.
However, there are a number of tips that all restaurants – regardless of size or cuisine – should follow and implement. These are:
- Implementing an efficient inventory system
- Following smart food preparation policies
- Identifying the right kitchen equipment
- Positioning work stations efficiently
- Correctly managing your restaurant’s menu
- Giving a voice to the kitchen team
- Cleaning as you go
- Leveraging a point of sale system (POS)
- Having a reliable and well resourced wholesale food supplier
With that, let’s delve a little deeper into each tip.
Implementing an efficient inventory system
Maintaining a good inventory system is restaurant kitchen 101.
A restaurant won’t generate repeat business if customers have to wait extensively for the marquee dish.
An efficient inventory system helps to avoid unnecessary scrambling to restock ingredients during lunch and dinner rushes, while also avoiding less popular ingredients (that are often expensive) going to waste.
It’s important to track your inventory on a regular basis, usually daily or weekly depending on your restaurant. Make it clear who is responsible for inventory and have them record the use of (or lack thereof) of ingredients at regular intervals.
And always follow the FIFO (First In, First Out) policy to minimise food waste.
Following smart food preparation policies
In short, do all the preparation you can ahead of time.
It’s no secret the dinner rush is a frenetic, fast-paced scenario requiring clear-thinking and astute execution. And although it’s important to make every dish to order, the reality is, many elements of a dish can be prepared prior to dinner service without compromising on quality.
There’s a range of cooking actions that can be done prior to your restaurant opening to customers, including:
- Chopping and peeling of ingredients
- Preparation of sauces and soups
- Cooking of certain proteins
And giving these tasks to specialist prep cooks keeps your restaurant running smoothly.
Identifying the right kitchen equipment
Not all restaurants are created equal and every kitchen has its own unique requirements.
Therefore, it’s critical you identify the right range of kitchen equipment to suit your restaurant and kitchen staff’s needs.
What equipment you choose will greatly depend on the size of your restaurant and the type of cuisine you offer.
For example, if you have a small kitchen and need to maximise every square inch of space, under-counter freezers and refrigerators will make a lot more sense than wasting valuable floor space with a standalone walk-in fridge and freezer.
Positioning work stations efficiently
Separating your kitchen into individual work stations is a great way of maintaining efficiency.
Typically speaking, each restaurant kitchen should include 5 work stations:
- Food storage
- Non-food dry storage
A work station will only function efficiently if its correctly positioned in your kitchen. For example, your cleaning station won’t function very well if the sink and dishwasher are on the opposite side of the kitchen to where staff leave dirty dishes and cooking utensils.
Ensuring each work station is smartly positioned in an area of the kitchen that corresponds to its purpose goes a long way to running a successful kitchen.
Correctly managing your restaurant's menu
Being practical with your menu is always important.
Always take into account the time of year, the amount of staff you have, and your budget when managing your menu.
You may want to offer a complex, unique and high-end dish, but if you’re most experienced kitchen staff are on leave, decide against and it cater to the staff you do have on hand with dishes that align with their skillset.
And don’t be afraid to change it up with different specials from time to time.
Not only does it offer a unique and varying meal choice for customers, it also enables you to better manage your stock and potentially cut budget in certain areas.
Giving a voice to the kitchen team
“Rigid” and “stubborn” are two words you won’t often hear associated with an efficient kitchen.
It’s important to listen to your staff members. After all, they’re the ones working in the trenches day in and day out.
Listening to their ideas and recommendations is a strong way to increase efficiency in all facets.
Cleaning as you go (CAYG)
Working in a messy kitchen is a one way ticket to inefficiency.
Each and every work station should be kept as clean as possible, throughout the day, whether it’s during prep ahead time, or dinner service.
Not only does it greatly reduce the close-time clean up, it reduces the possibility of accidents and fosters higher quality delivery of dishes, which should always be your number one priority.
Leveraging a point of sale (POS) system
If print media is dying then pen and paper orders aren’t too far behind.
A simple but well designed POS system enables your wait staff to quickly send orders to the kitchen and have more time to liaise with customers.
Orders don’t get lost in the swathe of paper tickets and when it comes time to provide the bill, everything is logged and tracked in one system that everyone has access to.
Having a reliable and well resourced wholesale food supplier
The restaurant business is hard work, the last thing you want to be doing is chasing up suppliers or frantically running to the market to replenish low stock.
Buying wholesale is cheaper, the range of wholesale food products is extensive, delivery is speedy and handled with care, and clever technology solutions allow for streamlined order placements.
It’s for these reasons that every month, 38,000 foodservice operators trust Bidfood with their wholesale food supply.
Follow these simple tips and you’ll have a more efficient kitchen that is clean, correctly stocked and bustling with happy staff and even happier customers.
And if there is anything you would like to know regarding pricing, our loyalty program and monthly specials, a trial of our online store, myBidfood, or something else, we’re always happy to answer any and all questions.