Remember this popular game called “Diner Dash”? Some of us would have heard of or even played this game before. The story goes in such a way where Flo (“the protagonist”) is tired of doing all the work in a big company called “Dinertown”. Feeling unfulfilled, she decides to quit her job and buy over an old diner business and takes up the mantle of being an owner of a restaurant. She is required to take charge of a growing business and manage kitchen operations at the same time.
Many restaurant owners are more than familiar with the objective of the game, that is to balance the trade off between ensuring a good turnaround of table space and serving your customers promptly so that none of them are being turned away or get upset.
Well, there is nothing closer to reality than this game. Unlike most games where you can give it another shot or “pause the game”, running your own restaurant business is more challenging since your customers will not be as forgiving. The effects of poor service or disappointment in food quality can quickly go viral within minutes in the modern age of digital media.
Word of mouth becomes a powerful marketing tool with social media fuelling it, enabling its effect to be far and wide reaching instantly. Hence, prompt service and great food is no longer a good to have, it is almost a prerequisite for your business to stay competitive and consistent for growth.
There is no doubt that the external façade like, décor; lighting, service staff etc. is crucial. However, the kitchen operations are one area that is usually not examined and optimised for efficiency. The kitchen can be likened to be the heart of the whole set up where it is central to the creation of the food items listed on the menu. It works hard to “pump” vital supply to “feed” your hungry customers at the table.
So how do we ensure that the “heart” of the business is well taken care of? One of the key areas to look at is to ensure that a strong and structured set of operations is in place for the kitchen and service. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are not just relevant for the corporate setting; it is just as vital for kitchen operations to ensure that efficiency is present.
These SOPs include the flow where ingredients are passed on and prepared, timing of each dish’s preparation, role of each kitchen staff etc. SOPs are not procedures cast in stone. Flexibility is required as tweaking them will be inevitable especially during your initial phase of starting up where you would need to allow room for tinkering and space to meet challenges that crop up along the way. When these nitty-gritty details are being sorted out and nailed down, it will help to ensure that a smooth workflow in the kitchen is being implemented. With this in place, it will also make training and integration of staff that are subsequently engaged more efficient and effective.
With numerous expectations required to get the engine running smoothly, Chef At Work is able to assume a role that helps you to ease this burden, especially in the initial stages where a substantial amount of work is required. As an adviser to your business, we are also able to help you identify the potential pitfalls and alert you of what is coming up ahead to make your business successful. Avoiding mistakes will help save you a great deal of time and money; furthermore it also mitigates the risk of being associated with any negative titles.
With a vast of experience in varied restaurant setups, we will set in place the SOPs for you and also do a trial run with you at your kitchen to demonstrate the actual implementation, ironing out any doubts or queries that you may have.
Lastly, like any physical body, it is always advisable to do a routine check on your heart. Regular checks to ensure SOPs are up to date or the kitchen being well staffed and trained will keep the heart of the business running smoothly and healthily.
As Lunar New Year approaches, Chef At Work would like to wish all our clients (both local and overseas), suppliers, chefs and business partners a prosperous and blessed year ahead! May all of you look forward to a great and bountiful harvest this year!