As the US restaurant industry grows, rush hours are expected to get busier. To thrive in the restaurant business in the USA, you need to hire cooks and create a talented culinary team that can create exceptional cuisines. A night chef is one of the core members of the team.
Since the rush hours are usually at night time (during dinner time), restaurants in the USA need night chefs to manage the rush hours. You might be wondering, how to hire a cook for rush hours, that too at night? Hiring the right night chef is important as it can make or break your food business during rush hours. While it looks easy, it is a daunting task. Here we are to help you find and hire the right cooks for your restaurant in the USA.
Role Of A Night Chef
The main responsibility of the night chef is to prepare food during the night shift and manage the rush hours. The process, however, is not as easy as it sounds. For this role, you need highly organized chefs who can handle a large volume of workload. They must have a fast-paced approach to food orders.
The duties and responsibilities of a full-time night chef include-
- Plan, prepare and serve special meals as required
- Ensuring food meets the highest quality standard and is served on time
- Determining how food should be presented and ensuring proper food portion, arrangement and garnishing
- Maintaining inventory of groceries and supplies, stocking ingredients, and equipment along with placing the order on your POS (point of sale) software
- Enforcing best safety, hygiene, and sanitation practices in the kitchen
- Coordinating with kitchen staff and assisting them
- Training staff to prepare and cook all the menu items
- Collaborating with the restaurant management while optimizing staff productivity
- Keep food overproduction and wastage in check to reduce food cost expenses
- Keep track of new trends in the industry
- Incorporating feedback from the customer, restaurant staff and managers to make improvements
- Maintain kitchen logs for food safety program compliance
- Make sure all standards and procedures are in place and followed
- Creating new recipes to update the menu regularly
- Report maintenance, needs, accidents, injuries and unsafe work conditions to the manager
How To Hire Night Cooks?
Wondering how to hire a cook to manage those busy hours? Here are a few tips that will help you to hire cooks for full night operations easily.
1. Research For A Qualified Candidate
You can take help from recruiting agencies, professional networking sites, post an advertisement or conduct mouth advertising to hire a desired candidate. The qualities to look for while hiring the full-time night chef:
- Experience: Night cooks must have at least or more than 2 years of experience in cooking and baking. They are required to have an in-depth knowledge of food principles and practices.
- Knowledge about food safety measures: This is a must. Night chefs should have a basic knowledge about food hygiene, safety, and prevention from food-borne diseases. Not just night cooks, but all cooks must know standards in health, safety, and cleanliness. They must comply with the quality assurance, expectations, and standards of the restaurant.
- Passionate: The cooks must have a passion for creating new delights that attract customers.
- Excellent communication skills: Your night shift chefs also need to address guests and co-workers politely, using appropriate and professional language.
- Leadership quality: Treat all the staff members with respect and dignity. Develop and maintain positive relations with others and support the team to reach a common goal. It is also important to listen and respond appropriately to the concerns of the other staff.
- Pressure handling: Night chefs should be able to thrive in a high-pressure environment and do high volume work.
- Creative: Innovational thinking and creativity in terms of food planning, preparation, and serving.
2. Background Check
You can ask for a reference and conduct a cross-check. By asking a few questions, you get to know about the abilities of a cook along with previous job commitments and deliveries. You can also get to know about their behaviour and ability to work under pressure.
3. Test Culinary Skills
Before hiring the cook in USA, ask them to cook their signature dish. You can ask questions related to plating the dishes, customers’ expectations and tastes, the variety of dishes they can whip up, and new cooking ideas. Don’t forget to ask them about their thoughts on maintaining hygiene and sanitation while preparing food.
4. Test Other Skills
Besides having excellent culinary, leadership, and communication skills, your night chefs should have an eye for details as, more often than not, they will be working without supervision. They should be able to manage food wastage, quality of food, inventory management, and time. Your chefs should be tech-savvy as well to help manage your POS cloud system. If they are not already experienced with your POS, they should be tech-friendly enough to learn it quickly.
5. Check The Physical Requirements
The night chef must be able to lift, carry and pull around 50lb of weight individually. Also, the work may require frequent climbing of stairs, prolonged standing, stooping now and then. They should be able to communicate accurately, loudly and clearly with a fellow employee and others. They should have a good sense of hearing, smell, and have manual dexterity. It is also important they are not addicted to drugs and have no active communicable disease.
6. Check The Mental Abilities
Night cooks should be free of phobias of confined spaces, flying, travelling, and height. They should have good observational skills and alertness to be able to do their job safely and properly. They must have a problem-solving approach and the ability to handle work pressure.
7. Agree To Work Conditions, Terms, And Services
Before hiring, it is important to explain all the work details to the night cook. Explain to them about working hours, working conditions, salary, job benefits, holidays and paid leaves. All the terms and conditions should be cleared before hiring the cook.
8. Hire A Backup Night Cook
It becomes difficult to manage the kitchen during rush hours in the absence of a night chef. To solve the issue, there is a need for a backup night chef. They will help in
- Managing peak hours, weekend rushes and night rushes
- Making simple preparations
- Purchasing ingredients
- Controlling and managing food cost
- Supervising food storage and stockings
- Supervising sanitation
- Overseeing kitchen in night chef’s absence
A good culinary team can take your restaurant to newer heights. Having the best night cook and a backup chef will increase your chances of tapping into the rush hour traffic and help you drive sales. So, make sure you hire night cooks who have the desired experience, excellent culinary skills, and the required mental and physical abilities to help your restaurant grow.
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