Customers come to restaurants for food. In fact 58% diners said the quality of food is more important to them than price, service, and menu variety. A cook thus can make or break your restaurant. Hence, you must make sure that you hire a cook who will be competent enough to drive your restaurant to the epitome of success and leave your customers craving for more when they relish last that last spoon off their plates.
However, is hiring a cook for your restaurant an easy affair? Definitely, not! It is very daunting to filter and look for the one who will make the signature dishes for your restaurant that will compel customers to visit again and again. Find out how to source the right cook for your restaurant kitchen here. In this article, we will walk you through the best practices to hire a cook for your restaurant.
Want To Hire A Cook for Your Restaurant? Make Sure You Know Who You Need!
Before you hire a cook, you must first have an understanding of the requirements of your restaurant. For this, you need to have a list of the profiles and the number of positions required for each profile for the restaurant kitchen. You must also have a clear Job Description associated with each profile. In this article, will talk about the type of Chefs and Cooks that are essential in a restaurant kitchen, and the best practices to hire them.
1. Executive Chef
There should be someone who will be the head of the kitchen. This is the dream position for all the chefs out there! There is just one Executive Chef for a single restaurant or a chain. He is responsible for the costing food and recipes, checking the quality, and designing the menu. Apart from this, the Executive Chef is also the face of the restaurant kitchen, since he/she also meets the guests.
He is also usually the point of contact between the restaurant owner and the kitchen. It is the Executive Chef who brings the concerns of the kitchen, the staff, and the vendors to the owners. And if the owners have any quality issues, or cost issues they meet the head chef and solve the problem at hand.
The average salary for an executive chef in India is approximately Rs 70,000 – Rs 75,000 per month, it can be more depending on the years of experience the executive cooks brings to the table. However, the salary of Executive Chefs in different format differs. While hiring an Executive Chef you must ensure that they have an even temperament and must have strong strategic leadership skills. An Executive Chef encourages and maximizes the productivity of the kitchen staff, including chefs, cooks, culinary assistance and even the dishwashers. An Executive Chef oversees the complete delivery of food supplies in the morning, prepare special menu items in afternoons, and supervises the kitchen during dinner hours. Hence, the approximate work hour of an executive chef is 12 hours per day.
2. Sous Chef
Sous Chefs are the right hand of the Executive Chefs, and there can be multiple Sous Chefs in a restaurant. They are responsible for managing the intricacies in the kitchen. It is the Sous Chefs who look into the details of each dish before they go out of the kitchen. Hence, micromanagement is not the only area where a sous chef must give heed to. Sous Chefs are the middleman between the head chef and the other kitchen staffs. When the Executive Chef isn’t there, a Sous Chef is the head of the kitchen. The average Sous Chef salary in India is approximately Rs 30-35,000 per month.
3. Pastry Chef
This is one of those categories which requires a specialization. For example, a person passed out from a culinary school might not be eligible to be a Pastry Cook, on the contrary, one has to acquire special training from a baking school to be a Pastry Chef. This category generally deals with pastries, bread, and desserts. Pastry Chefs has the potential of being quite on par with the Executive Chef because they deal with a different category altogether. The average pay for a Pastry Chef is approximately Rs 5,00,000 annually. However, it must be mentioned that generally this category of Chef is hired in 5-star restaurants only. Many a times lounge and bars outsource their desserts. Since dessert needs a cool place, they need a Speciality Chef; the dessert sales are not very high in restaurants.
4. Station Chef
Station Chefs or Chef de Partie generally work under a Sous Chef or the Executive Chef. They are responsible for one area of the kitchen, and they must take care of the quantity and quality of each item that passes or comes out of that specific area. For example, a Station Chef might be responsible for the grills, the toppings or the salads, and depending on this, one will be responsible for that particular station. The salary of the Station chef varies from cuisine to cuisine, however, all of them are paid equally irrespective of the cuisine. The average salary for the Station Chef is Rs 25,000 – Rs.35,000 in standalone restaurants.
In small outlets where separate cooks are not hired for pastry, butchery, fish, vegetables and so on, it is the Station Chef that carries on with these operations.
You as a restaurant owner cannot doubt the importance of sauces that have the ability to make or break your dishes. Hence, you must hire a Saucier cook who is just responsible for all the sauces that are prepared in the restaurant kitchen. Their job is to ensure the right consistency and mixing of the ingredients. Sauciers are also required in large chain restaurants and hotels.
6. Fish Cook and Meat Cook
Fish cooks are those who deal primarily with the preparations of all seafood. Meat cooks take care of all the meat dishes and their preparations. They do it all, from roasting and braising to broiling and grilling. Butchery chefs are also usually only in 5-star hotels because they tend to manage it themselves. When it comes to standalone restaurants, there is hardly any space inside the kitchen, because the rentals are very high and there is an immense space crunch.
7. Fry Cook
You may or may not have these cooks in your kitchen. Their need depends on the type of cuisine your restaurant deal with. For example, if fries are one of the primary things that your restaurant deals with, then you can try hiring a fry cook, who will take care of the frying station in your kitchen. This too is a category that is only available in the 5-star hotels.
8. Pantry Chef
Standalone restaurants do not generally hire a pantry chef. Here the head chefs are the ones who manage the work of the pantry chef. A pantry chef takes care of the quality and quantity of the pantry items. Pantry items range from seafood, sausages, dressing ingredients are just a few to name.
9. Line Cook
A line cook is one who takes care of all the work in the kitchen where work needs to be done. This position has a lot of potential for growth because a line cook might chop meat and vegetables one day while garnishes dish the other day. Hence, there is a lot of potential for progress for a line cook.
An expediter is generally the bridge between the kitchen staff and the wait staff. These are those who are responsible for delivering the prepared food to the customers either themselves or via a waiter. However, many times when the food presentation is tricky, the Executive Chefs themselves take up this job.
Key Points To Look at While You Hire A Cook for Your Restaurant
Now that you are aware of the various cooks that might be required in your kitchen, recruiting them should be your major concern. While hiring a cook, the main key points that you must never ignore are listed below. Follow these while hiring and make the operation of your restaurant kitchen seamless.
1. Hire a Cook Who Can Work Under Pressure
The restaurant kitchen is quite equivalent to a pressure cooker. It is a place where everything is happening simultaneously at top speed so one needs to be on their toes every second. Hence you need people who have an even temperament and can work during the rush time with patience.
For example, there may be days when the fish gets burnt, or the kitchen runs out of stock, in such a situation you need someone who will be calm and composed and will quickly think of a crisis management technique.
2. Hire Leaders in Your Restaurant Kitchen
As already said that in a kitchen, things can go out of hand at any moment, hence you must hire a cook who is willing to take the ownership of their work and can drive the ones working under him in the right direction. Hire chefs who are good teachers and are well versed in all the kitchen equipment and can train the new hires and moulds them to be the future leaders of the kitchen. Good leadership and mentorship in the kitchen will reflect in your restaurant’s food quality and also lower your kitchen staff turnover rate reducing costs and losses in the long run.
3. Hire a Chef Who Never Compromises on Quality
You must always hire the ones who have a detailed eye towards the quality of the food that goes on the table. No matter, how much time goes for preparing a dish, if it not up to the mark, it should not be presented to the customers. You must remember that in spite of having an amazing ambiance and customer service if your food is not up to the mark, it can be a huge turn off for your guests.
4. Hire a Chef Who Keeps the Food Costs in Mind
Your cooks must know that your restaurant has a budget and you cannot spend out of your league. There comes the importance of their being well advance with all the technological innovations. They must be well versed with excel sheets, Google sheets, and Microsoft Word, this will help the chefs to keep a track of cost recipes and check menu profits. This will help in the cost controlling techniques of the restaurant.
5. Hire a Cook Who Has an Eye for Detail
You must know that it is your chefs who write your restaurant menu and orders inventory. Hence, they must be well versed with the interests of the customers, so that they may make all the desired changes in the menu. In addition to this, they must have a detailed record of the stocks available in the inventory so that they do not at any point in time over order or run out of stock.
6. Look for People Pro at Time Management
Time management is a skill that is exceptionally important to have in all the chefs working in your kitchen. They must have the ability to distribute their time behind each dish, this will ensure that your customers are not kept without food on the table. In addition to this, the executive chefs and the pastry chefs must extract sometime out of their schedule to analyze the market and incorporate a few innovative items on the menu.
7. Remember to Taste Their Food
Before you go ahead and hire a cook for your restaurant make sure that you taste their food. Ask them to come to your kitchen after the working hours and prepare a dish they’re good at. Once you taste their food, you will have a clear understanding about how much time he takes to prepare a dish, the consistency of the dish, how he presents his dish and how he maintains the kitchen while he prepares the dish.
8. Check the References of the Applicants
Do not hire a cook without cross-checking their references. Here you will receive an unadulterated opinion about how you the person worked in his previous job, whether he worked in the team well, why he left his previous job. Such information will help you to receive an insight on the cook you are planning to hire. One good way of getting to know the value the person had in his previous job is by asking, “Will you rehire this person if you get another chance?”
Hiring the restaurant staff is a difficult task, indeed. You need to have a clear human resource structure, with specific tasks designated to each member of the team. Out of these, the chef or the cook is the most important one in the restaurant kitchen, since he is the one driving the entire kitchen operations. We hope that after reading this article, you got the insights needed to hire a cook for your restaurant!