5 ways to make kitchen operations a priority

From college dining halls to resort banquet halls; chain restaurant server stations to government mess halls, the foodservice industry is a frenzied sprint through breakfast, lunch and dinner rushes. The dust settles at the end of the day and it’s time to prepare to do it all over again. This run-and-gun pace leaves little time to stop and assess your operations. But behind a seemingly functioning kitchen lies opportunity to improve layout and functionality, cut costs and time, and even further attract and delight diners. Here are our five tips to do it:

    1. Look inward. Profit and loss statements only tell part of the story. The next step to truly improving kitchen operations is take take stock and listen. Spend a day closely observing kitchen operations. Take note of issues, inefficiencies and strengths. Next, talk to your staff about equipment, layout and processes that could use improvement. Their answers may be hard to hear – but as the ones in the trenches, they have the most direct exposure to what’s working (and what’s not). Chances are, you’ll find hidden opportunities to cut costs or improve employee and customer satisfaction.
    2. Bring in an expert. Sometimes, it’s hard to see the forest through the trees. Bringing in an expert third party – whether a consultant, trusted equipment and supplies partner or even a respected peer – can be a huge eye-opener. Specialized consultants – such as those that focus on energy efficiency and sustainability – can drill down even further into specific problem areas.
    3. Prioritize. Don’t be overwhelmed if your audit uncovers multiple areas for improvement. Tackling even one can have noticeable positive impact on your operation. When it comes to reducing energy costs for instance, turning equipment off during slow times can be a game-changer; replacing a single piece of equipment can improve cooking speed or quality for more satisfied customers. Make a long-term plan for accomplishing all of your goals, but don’t rush the process.
    4. Sell it through. Once you’ve prioritized your kitchen wish list, you may have to sell it through – or at least get some buy-in from partners and investors. Do your research (and talk to the aforementioned experts) to get your ducks in a row first; you’ll want to have the numbers and support points to demonstrate how your ideas will boost the bottom line. If you’re considering new equipment purchases, do some comparisons to find your best option. Download our equipment lifecycle calculator to estimate the lifetime costs of various pieces of equipment.
    5. See what’s out there. Shopping around for equipment and supplies can be extremely time consuming. That’s where industry shows come in handy. These events gather the best in the business in one place – so you can compare and finalize your decision via hands-on exposure and live demos. They’re also a place where you can meet and talk to the technical experts that represent the products – zeroing in on what is best for your organization’s needs. Last but not least, these shows are a place for equipment and supplies manufacturers to show off what’s new and hot – so you can be sure that you’re getting access to the latest and greatest innovations. Away from the hustle and bustle of your daily operation, you’ll find new perspective and inspiration.

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