Restaurant Kitchen Food and Drink Ticket Times
I have always said that functionality plays a huge role in the restaurant business. Not only do you need to choose the right equipment, you also need to place that piece of equipment where it makes sense and where employees will not cross over or bump into each other.
If you have a large size restaurant and sales are consistently up, then set your kitchen up with a four person team. There will be two selling point sides that will have identical equipment and product. Each side will have a flat top grill, fryer and hot/cold station. Each selling side will be called window 1 and window 2.
Each shift should have a lead cook assigned to manage the kitchen. The lead cook should be assigned window 1 and a second cook assigned to window 2.
Each side will have their own fryer cook. The fryer cook will be responsible for the grill as well. The lead cook needs to be in the zone and focus on selling customer checks. The lead cook gives direction to the kitchen staff on selling checks, cleaning as you go and end of the shift clean up and stock up. The lead cook during all peak times should never leave their station; delegate it out to the kitchen staff that will not affect customer service. The lead cook is the only person take can pull a check from the printer. As the first check prints in the kitchen the lead cook will place that ticket on the rail for preparation.
When ticket 2 prints in the kitchen the lead cook in window 1 will pull the check from the printer and give it to window 2 for preparation. Alternating the customer checks back and forth will alleviate long check times, creating a manageable flow. Of course, this 4 man method team should be used on high revenue shifts, weekends and special events.
Close down window 2 during slow periods or low revenue shifts. If one person can handle the kitchen without jeopardizing customer service do it. Add a fryer/grill person if needed for window 1.
Go to the restaurant store and purchase 2 call bells
Place each call bell in window 1 and window 2. When the food is prepared it will be placed in the selling window, the cook will ring the bell for food pickup. All employees should be responsible in running food as the bell rings.
The manager or an assigned employee should spend some time as an expediter during the peak times assuring the food gets delivered to the customer quickly. Hold your employees responsible when goals or long check times occur.
Never ever correct an employee in front of customers or their peers. Never correct an employee during peak times; this should only be done if it affects the customer. Correct the employee after the rush has ended in private. Teamwork works.
There will be times that the server will be flustered or overwhelmed and may not have time to run their own food to the guest. That’s where teamwork comes in and other employee’s helps run the food to the guest. The customer does not care who runs the food, all they want is their food quickly.
If you find that payroll is tight, than have management step in window 2 to help get the flow in control. Once the tickets times are manageable, the manager steps out of the kitchen and immediately conducts a walk through in the dining room to ensure exceptional customer service by touching each customers table asking questions about their service.
The manager, shift manager, supervisor or key holder needs to spend 90% of their time on the floor where the money is. Only 10% of their time should be spent in the office at the beginning and the end of their shifts. Managers should be scheduled for administration paper working, food orders and inventory at the beginning of the week or after the restaurant closes or during off peak times. All hands on deck during peak time meal periods.
Priority checks to be prepared are:
• Lead checks
Assign carry out orders to window # 2 cook. Use the second window set up during peak time sales periods. Sometimes you need to invest in a quality working system in order to achieve your main goals.
In most cases training is an investment not an expense. You need to spend the money on a WOW training program. This training will pay for itself in the long run providing that the owner, manager and staff members consistently follow through at the beginning, during and ending of the training period.
Everything that the employee has learned needs to be applied to their daily routine. It’s up to the managers to manage the staff and to monitor, correct and follow through to ensure the ultimate goal is occurring. Every owner, manager, staff member should be given that proper training; your ultimate goal is to provide exceptional guest service with great tasting food served fast.
So, all it a nutshell:
• Create an awesome training program for both management and staff members.
• Be involved in the training process. Sit down at the end of the shift and let the trainee know what they did right and what their areas of opportunities are.
Create an action plan to get the employee back on track moving forward, not backwards. Investing in this training may increase revenue as long as your managers and staff members are following your established policies, procedures and house rules.
Document the training for each manager or staff member during the training period daily.
Set high standards for yourself, managers and staff members.
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