Visualizing: Restaurant Operations
By Anthony Bourdain
What Is Entailed in Restaurant Operations?
Restaurant operations are about much more than food. Successful restaurants design operations aimed at pleasing customers, making a profit and avoiding potential crises such as food poisoning. In addition to handling the logistics of ordering and stocking ingredients, a restaurateur must oversee the nonfood elements of a dining experience such as ambience and service. In addition, cleaning is a vital part of restaurant operations, making a positive impression on customers and also keeping them safe from food-borne illnesses.
A restaurant must have inventory on hand to prepare menu items that customers order. Stocking a restaurant kitchen can be a tricky dance. On the one hand, you need to have ingredients available to prepare every item on your menu, even if nobody has ordered it for a week. On the other hand, many ingredients are perishable, and you should avoid buying more than you will use before it spoils. Restaurant purchasing operations involve keeping close track of how much stock you have on hand and how quickly you typically use each item.
Restaurant food preparation operations involve developing systems for cooking and serving each item on the menu, and also making changes and adaptations for special requests or allergies. An efficient restaurant preps some ingredients in advance by cooking sauces or chopping vegetables, and then completes the final steps when a customer orders an item. Successful food preparation depends on knowing precisely how long it takes to cook each dish and planning tasks so the plates that each table orders will come out at the same time.
Successful restaurant service involves attentiveness as well as cognizance of customers’ boundaries. A hostess should greet customers as soon as they arrive and seat them as soon as possible, and servers should aim for standards regarding timing to take drink orders and then follow up with subsequent parts of the service routine such as serving appetizers and taking orders for entrees. Servers should be polite and respectful, and they should allow diners to finish their meal but also keep things moving so diners don’t wait too long for their checks and the restaurant can seat new parties.
Success in the restaurant industry depends on cleanliness. Diners want to eat at establishments that demonstrate a commitment to keeping tables, floors and food contact surfaces free from dirt and germs. Restaurant operations should include protocols for cleaning during the course of the day, such as between diners in the dining room and between dishes in the kitchen. In addition, restaurants should have schedules for cleaning at the end of the day as well as periodic deep cleaning.
About the Author
Devra Gartenstein has owned and run a variety of food businesses for more than 20 years. She has published two cookbooks: “The Accidental Vegan” and “Local Bounty.” Gartenstein holds Master of Arts degrees in philosophy and English literature.
Edited By-Mir Niaz Morshed