If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen!
This is a well-known saying, but for many who work in a commercial kitchen, it is a high-pressure job that demands complete focus and as many hands as you can get! In a kitchen that is serving food to the public, you need a team that is fast and efficient to make sure that all of the meals get out on time and that as many parts of the service as possible are streamlined to ensure maximum output while also creating delicious food.
So, if you are brand new to the world of creating an efficient commercial kitchen, you may be looking for some tips that can help you and your staff save time, and here, you will be guided through some of the best solutions.
If you have ever seen the famous Pixar movie Ratatouille, there is an entire scene where one of the cooks is advising a trainee cook on how best to cut vegetables. The answer is very quickly and with a very sharp knife, minimizing the stages between the chopping board and the saucepan. It’s very cool to watch, but it takes a lot of training for even the most experienced chef.
However, there is another option for many commercial kitchens that can save a lot of time, and that is to order the ingredients pre-chopped. You can get chopped garlic, onion, bell peppers, and many other commonly used ingredients for your commercial kitchen. This means all you have to do is thaw them or keep them cool and then add them to the dishes as you go along. This will also save you a small fortune on your kitchen knives and chopping boards and will minimize cuts that your staff may get from all that chopping! It also saves time on a lot of the prep work.
Organise The Workstations
There is another scene from Ratatouille, the movie, which talks about this: a well-organized kitchen is one that is productive! If you allow pots and pans to build up in the workstation, this will cause a backlog of food, which means that the meals you are creating will not get to the tables on time.
So, when setting up your workstations in the kitchen every morning, make sure they are arranged logically. This means that all of the necessary tools and ingredients are easily accessible to each member of staff. Aim to keep frequently used items in your kitchen, such as knives and saucepans, within arm’s reach, which will reduce the need for your staff to walk around and waste time.
Get The Right Tools
There is another saying that a chef is only as good as the ingredients that they have. In a commercial kitchen, this is probably about 25% correct, as the right tools in a kitchen can make a world of difference. If you are building your kitchen from scratch, you need to consider investing in time-saving and labor-saving appliances for your cooks. This will include things such as food processors, high-quality knives, and automated machines when possible. As mentioned before, this will help to reduce time-consuming tasks such as chopping, slicing, and mixing and will reduce the manual labor that your cooks have to go through each day, allowing them to focus on creating delicious meals instead. So, everybody wins!
Standardize The Recipes And Food Creation
Every commercial kitchen has its own standardized recipes, and there is a reason for this. It ensures consistency in the taste and the presentation while also ensuring that your staff can work efficiently and effectively, creating meals in the minimum time needed.
So, if you are looking to have a signature dish in your commercial kitchen, such as a lasagne, one way you can save a lot of time in the cooking process is to create the fastest and most effective way for your cooks to make this meal from scratch. This will take some trial and error and should not really be attempted if you are in the middle of an evening rush! If you have the spare time to set aside and chat with your cooks about the most effective methods and recipes, then this can save a lot of labor in the long run. It will also ensure that all of your guests get a delicious meal every single time it is made.
Another benefit is that the right portions of each part of the meal are served as, in a lot of cases, the recipes will also show your staff how to cut and present the food.
Keep Everything Clean
A lot of people who are brand new to working in any kitchen setting become amazed at how quickly the entire environment can become messy.
After all, everybody is preparing their own meals and scurrying about, which means there is a lot of waste building up and a lot of plates coming back from the tables that are being served. It adds up quickly, and as mentioned before, if you allow all of this to backlog, it becomes a disaster.
So, for many commercial kitchens, it is worth investing in as many automated processes as you can. There are options that can clean the plates and cutlery for you, such as an industrial washer, which you will see as the best investment you have ever made after a few washes! As well as this, it is worth having a member of staff to clean and dry areas around the kitchen so that your cooks and other staff members do not have to worry about this and can keep making the meals that they need to without needing to worry about spills or overflowing bins.
It’s also worth noting that there is a very obvious health and safety element to having a clean and safe kitchen, which should not be overlooked. For the longevity of your commercial kitchen and café or restaurant, try to keep everything as spick and span as you can!