How to Prep a Kitchen
So you may think you have what it takes to start your own restaurant, but if you do not want to lose all your customers on week one you have to know how to prep a kitchen. A correctly prepared kitchen is the key in keeping the customers happy and getting more customers in and out of your restaurant in a timely manner. You have to make sure you prepare the food without cooking it of course. That means getting the water ready, chopping some of the vegetables, making the pasta, and get the things done that could otherwise slow you down.
Believe it or not, one of the main things that can slow a kitchen down is something as simple as knowing where everything is. Keeping your cooking utensils will help you speed up the cooking process. Labeling will also help you a lot. Some ingredients can look very similar and you can easily make a mistake if you are not paying enough attention. It is better to use those labels and take your time the first time around, because if you mistake any of the ingredients for another it will throw the dish. If someone orders the crab and you were to give them lobster it would be a grave mistake, so use labels.
Talk to the line cooks
In order to get every dish spot on, your entire group must work as a team. If the little things fail that can mean sending a medium rare steak will end up going medium. You may think customers will not notice it, but you do not want to find out the hard way that they do. Timing must be on the spot in order for the team to work, but that also is the case during prepping. If your team does not talk to each other you may find out that two or more people were doing the same thing. When that happens someone has to start from scratch at which point it may be too close to opening time.
Prep enough ingredients
It happens so many times and it is so embarrassing when a waiter or waitress has to go back to the table and tell the customer that the dish they wanted cannot be made due to lack of ingredients. When that happens it means the customer has a bad experience at your restaurant. Word of mouth can kill your business. If that customer then goes and tells their friends that they had that bad experience it will influence the decision of their friends to come to your restaurant. It is essential to have all items needed for every night. Of course there will be nights when you get more customers than others, but if your food is great, customers will not mind paying a bit more for your dishes, and that will make up for the extra prep items.
Give yourself at least an hour to prep
Depending on the dishes that you serve, some restaurants will need a longer prep time than others. You must learn to give yourself enough time to prep your kitchen. Great Indian food for example can take a long time to cook, but if you prep it correctly before you open you will have plenty of happy customers leaving happy in a timely manner. Write down the amount of time each dish will take and prep accordingly, but never ever cook something during preparation. Rookie chefs or cooks may be tempted to fully cook something just before open, and then find themselves with a lot of food to throw out. Don’t make that mistake.