The Art of Managing a Kitchen
The back of the house, that’s where it all happens. The front smiles, engages, and pleases customers, but if the back is not functioning, there is not really much of a restaurant to talk about. For this reason, the list of kitchen manager responsibilities is probably the longest one in the restaurant business.
A kitchen manager used to be the chef. However, nowadays, to get the load off the chefs, to focus more on admin and management skills, or due to the inability to hire an actual chef who could do it all, some restaurateurs opt to hire kitchen managers who are not master chefs. Despite this, a kitchen manager still knows a thing or two about cooking. What makes this position an art, is that it requires a unique set of a great variety of skills.
We already explained that cooking is no longer a primary responsibility of a kitchen manager. However, a kitchen manager still has to know what the process of preparing food looks like. They take part in the process of setting up stations and delegating work. Delegating means that everyone has a set of duties, which they have clearly been made aware of. This type of work requires great organizational skills, as well as great communication skills.
The job of a kitchen manager is to know what each position in the kitchen entails. In addition, they need to know what type of skills/personality traits the person filling each position is to have. They will most likely be the ones interviewing new kitchen staff. Not only that, but they are also responsible for providing appropriate training when required. In addition to recruitment, they are also responsible for staff payments. These responsibilities require excellent people skills, industry knowledge, and some accounting skills.
However, this is not where their HR work ends. They are also to evaluate the work of the kitchen staff. The manager keeps files on the staff, motivates them, reward and reprimand accordingly.
Preparing the kitchen budget
Preparing the budget for the kitchen requires serious accounting skills. A kitchen manager, as mentioned above, is in charge of the staff payments, supplies and vendor’s invoices, etc. They should always be on top of their costs and know where and how to cut back.
The procurement of supplies requires a high level of knowledge of the amount of business the restaurant has. In addition, they need to know the rate at which guests order certain items from the menu. On top of that, it also includes the awareness of the food preparation process. Finally, there are the food storing regulations. Frankly, a kitchen manager needs a set of skills and information to make up for the fact that they cannot see the future. This should help them know how much food is to be ordered at a certain moment in time so nothing is lacking and nothing goes to waste.
Food storage and sanitation
This means that the kitchen manager needs to know what the best way is to store food (both cooked and raw) so it maintains its freshness. In addition, they have to have the knowledge and be certified in the field of food safety and sanitation. It is up to them to frequently review and always ensure that all kitchen staff behave in accordance with sanitation standards and work in safe and hygienic conditions.
What’s on the menu?
The kitchen manager is usually the first person to know the answer to this question. They actively participate in the creation of the menu. It is their decision how to replace certain unavailable ingredients. Also, whether and how, some or all, menu items can be prepared to fit different dietary demands..
There are different levels of education a kitchen manager can have. However, seeing that it is hard to find a single course that will prepare them for everything they will come across in their careers, the best training comes from the experience, as well as continuing education. You are looking at a person who is a great professional, organizer, and an excellent communicator who is present everywhere at all times with business and financial acumen and clean hands.