Food Operations - Kitchen Communication

There's a bond among a kitchen staff, I think. You spend more time with your chef in the kitchen than you do with your own family.

…Gordon Ramsay, British Chef and Restaurateur.

Every commercial business needs effective communication and commercial kitchen is not an exception. Places like commercial food preparation units, communication is vital to execute the culinary operations successfully and smoothly.

In the domain of commercial kitchen, if the right information is shared at the right time with the right person, it can help to increase kitchen productivity.

Role of a Kitchen Manager

The kitchen manager is a chief chef of the kitchen who is responsible for overall operation of the kitchen. Being the leader of a busy team, the kitchen manager needs to be quick at solving real problems occurring in the kitchen.

The kitchen manager’s responsibilities include −

  • Ensuring all food items are prepared and served according to the preparation unit’s recipes, portioning, cooking, and serving standards.

  • Monitoring and controlling the inventory of kitchen items.

  • Supervising the food preparation activities in the kitchen.

  • Supervising if hygiene and cleanliness standards are met.

  • Scheduling the staff according to the working time.

  • Training the new staff.

  • Monitoring equipment maintenance issues.

  • Play active role in achieving the financial target of the food preparation unit.

  • Creating food plans and budget plans for special occasions.

  • Recording key pieces of information such as staff schedules, employee performance and attendance, food and beverage sale, customer’s lost and found, and duty reports in a timely manner.

Taking Orders

Taking orders from the customer or guests is a two way communication process. Let us say there are two persons, the guest and the server. The guests prefer to place order to a knowledgeable or qualified server. The server must −

  • Be aware of basic food preparation, recipes of various food items on the menu.
  • Have an eye for detail and accurate in recording the order.
  • Know the slang/local words used by the customers.
  • Be able to describe preparation in words shortly.
  • Know the time required to prepare menu items.
  • Know what accompaniments go well with each menu item and which menu items complement each other.
  • Know the prices for each item offered on the menu.
  • Be polite and friendly; but not casual.
  • Not assume anything about the customer even if the customer is a frequent visitor.

The customers often ask questions about the preparation of the food, serving size in case of beverages, pizza, and otherwise, filling and cooking types in case of sandwiches, subs, and pizzas, and toppings in case of pastries and ice creams. The server must record every detail by communicating with the guest clearly.

Executing Orders

The server manually hands over the order in the kitchen to begin preparation of the dishes. Once the order is in hand, the team work shows up in execution.

The Chef de cuisine, the sous chef, the line chefs, runners, and other staff; all need to work harmoniously in the kitchen. They need to communicate clearly to avoid any unwelcomed outcomes in the process of food preparation as well as service of food.

Executing Orders

To avoid communication loopholes, each member of the kitchen staff must −

  • Understand the role and responsibility of oneself as well as other team members.
  • Be willing to share information and experiences with each other. It is important especially when the duty shift changes.
  • Must know all the areas in the kitchen and the places of preparation equipment, serving equipment, and ingredients store.
  • Be willing to support less-skilled or new staff member.
  • Be able to deliver the best results in the least possible time.