While a kitchen is the nerve center of a restaurant, a kitchen manager is the lifeline of the kitchen, and without the right kitchen manager in place, who is capable of driving the entire staff together, the kitchen operations will fall apart. To avoid such situations, it becomes imperative that you devote ample time to hiring the right kitchen manager for your restaurant, who will pave the path of your restaurant towards success. However, with the number of restaurants cropping up every day in the US restaurant space, it has become extremely difficult to find the right kitchen manager.
Hence, we here will provide you with the duties that a kitchen manager must perform, along with the qualities to look for. With this detailed guide, hiring a kitchen manager will become a cakewalk for you.
The restaurant industry in the USA is notorious for high employee attrition rate. It is estimated that the labor turnover rate in the US is almost 70%. This clearly shows that once a restaurant gets a good kitchen manager on board, they try very hard not to let them go. And this makes it all the more difficult for you to find the best one if you do not have one already.
Since a kitchen manager will be the heartbeat of the kitchen, it becomes imperative for him to know his duties and perform them diligently. From managing vendors, inventory management, recruiting kitchen staff, keeping the kitchen costs under control to ensuring that the kitchen staff abides the regulations, all fall under the duties of a kitchen manager. Along with this, since he will be the leader of the kitchen there are certain basic qualities that you must look for in a kitchen manager, like, he should have strong communication skills and decision making, and problem-solving ability must be a multi-tasker and should know the art of team management. Once you find the one with all these qualities and who can perform all the above-mentioned duties, you can take a sigh of relief that your kitchen will never be haywire.
Top Duties Of A Restaurant Kitchen Manager
The kitchen manager, being the focal point of the kitchen operations has to monitor as well as perform a number of tasks on a daily basis. Below we have mentioned the major tasks that he has to perform, that will help the kitchen to run seamlessly.
1. Manage Vendors
Raw materials are what keeps the restaurant running, and this makes vendor management extremely important. Hence it is advisable that a kitchen manager assesses multiple vendors in the market before finalizing one. This is primarily because the quality and the price of the raw materials affect the food cost and the service provided. The kitchen manager must under all circumstances keep in mind some points before finalizing a vendor for the restaurant, and they are Credit Period Rates Quality Timely Delivery.
2. Inventory Management
Managing the inventory is one of the most crucial duties of a kitchen manager. He should keep a keen eye on the inventory at the beginning and the end of the day and place orders as and when required, to avoid overstocking or running your restaurant out of stock. It is important for the kitchen manager to check the raw materials when the kitchen receives them, to ensure that the quantity and the quality are right. Storing the raw materials at the right temperature in a proper way is also essential, and hence a kitchen manager must ensure that the health safety standards are abided, and this will also ensure that the raw materials are not spoiled before the expected time.
3. Equipment Management
Without the proper equipment, a restaurant’s kitchen is simply nothing. Hence, it is imperative that a kitchen manager checks all the equipment from time to time, to ensure that they are properly functioning. Religiously servicing of the equipment is important, which will ensure the longevity and efficiency of the product. He should also be well aware of all the new equipment that might be available in the market, which will reduce the dependency on the kitchen staff and augment efficiency exponentially.
4. Recruiting And Managing the Kitchen Staff
A kitchen manager would best know, the requirements in the kitchen and accordingly, he should look for hiring kitchen employees. Considering that the rush will be rather high during the festive season; the kitchen manager can decide on getting part-time or seasonal staff on board that will help him run his kitchen seamlessly.
Not only should the kitchen manager simply looking into the hiring process, but he should also play an integral role in managing the employees. He should monitor the performance of each staff and accordingly, send the performance reports to the restaurant owner and plan to provide incentives or awards which will help in motivating the employees immensely. It is not unlikely that a kitchen manager might come across staff who might not be performing as per expectation, this, however, does not mean that the kitchen manage will completely ignore them. He is responsible for imparting comprehensive training sessions for all the new staff and also to the ones who might not be performing well and encouraging them to give in their best.
5. Abiding By The Food Safety Guidelines
There are strict laws in the States when it comes to the health and safety codes. From preparing the food in a certain way, cleaning the hands before preparing the dish, keeping the cooking and the preparing area clean, and ensuring that the storing area is hygienic. All these are the duties if a kitchen manager, failing to abide by the set standards can cost your restaurant a lot and might get you into legal tussles, which will be extremely detrimental for your restaurant’s image.
6. Keeping The Kitchen Costs Under Control
Just like other organizations, the restaurant owner delegates budget to the various departments, and it is the responsibility of the kitchen manager to ensure that the budget is not exceeded. The major expenses that a kitchen incurs are behind the purchase of raw materials, salaries of the kitchen staff, and being maintaining and buying the equipment.
A kitchen manager should bring in cost-cutting techniques in place that will help the kitchen from incurring unnecessary expenses. He should enforce strict recipe and yield management system, and this will ensure that the generation of kitchen waste is to the minimum. He must be smart enough to understand that instead of keeping a huge permanent staff force he can simply call in for seasonal labors as and when required, this will help you reduce your labor cost exponentially.
Major Qualities To Look for in a Kitchen Manager
Since the kitchen manager will be the leader of the kitchen, you simply should not bestow anyone with the enormous responsibility, unless he possesses some inherent quality. Some of the most important qualities that you must look for before getting a kitchen manager on board are strong communication skills and decision making, and problem-solving ability must be a multi-tasker and should know the art of team management.
1. Strong Communication and Decision Making Skill
With the kitchen manager being the leader of the kitchen, it is not unlikely that the kitchen employees will up to him for all the necessary information. Hence it is extremely important that a kitchen manager ensures that transparency is maintained in the kitchen and all the staff is informed about all the major changes or the plans of the restaurant that would either impact them directly or indirectly. In short, the kitchen manager is expected to be the bridge between the restaurant owners and the kitchen staff. Not only he should communicate the decisions of the owner to the employees, but he should also be able to place the concerns of the kitchen staff before the restaurant management that will help the kitchen staff to perform better.
Along with strong communication, a kitchen manager should possess the ability to take prompt decisions. There might be instances where the restaurant owner might not be available in the kitchen, and he might have to take some strong decisions. Unless the kitchen manager can take ownership of the kitchen and act responsibly, it is unlikely that the kitchen will perform seamlessly. For instance, in a busy festive season, two of your kitchen employees might be on leave. Instead of panicking about what might happen a good manager should try and find a solution to the problem.
2. Problem Solving Ability
Restaurant and primarily the kitchen is a place where every day some new challenge may crop up. And hence look for a kitchen manager who has the ability to solve all the problems and sticky situations with optimum ease. For example, while it is not desirable, a kitchen may run out of an important item on a busy day, instead of being at a loss, a kitchen manager should find ways to control the demand while order immediately so that the finished item reaches the inventory in no time.
Hence a kitchen manager must be patient and must have the ability to think well in problematic situations. This will help keep all your kitchen employees at ease and contended.
3. Should be Good at Multi-Tasking
A kitchen manager primarily is responsible for the complete running of the kitchen. Hence, one can only imagine that a stellar kitchen manager should be one who can invest his mind and his heart in a number of things simultaneously. While employee management is important, he should also keep in mind that he must look into the inventory from time to time, along with this ensuring that all the food goes out of the kitchen in a timely manner is crucial which will increase the table turnover time exponentially.
4. Must Know Team Management
Managing a team isn’t easy. A team essentially comprises of different personalities who come in together to work, and hence conflicts can be expected more often than not. Hence, it is essentially important that a kitchen manager knows how to solve the conflicts amongst the members of the team, without taking sides. Partiality can be disastrous for the health of your kitchen’s health. He should ensure that all the members work cordially. The slow members should not be neglected, on the contrary, a responsible and competent kitchen manager must boost and motivate them.
Where You Can Find the Best Kitchen Manager For Your Restaurant
When you know what are the qualities to food for, and the major duties of a kitchen manager, your next step will be to know all the places from where you can get the best one on board. While there are multiple channels from where you can tap the best ones, we below have mentioned some of the major places where you can try your hand.
- Spead the news that you are hiring in your vicinity, through flyers and pamphlets.
- Use social media to the fullest. Put hiring adds on your social media pages, and on your restaurant website. Do not forget to surf through the job portals.
- Get in touch with your well-wishers, ex-employees, and take their references into considerations, they will never refer to someone whom they do not consider competent enough.
Hope you have gained a comprehensive knowledge that will help you hire the best kitchen manager for your restaurant. Once you have the best one on board, it will streamline your kitchen restaurant operations like never before. Hence, do not neglect this process, give due importance and invest some time, and you will be happy to see your restaurant blossom in the US market.
A lot of responsibilities lie on the restaurant manager’s shoulders for efficient and smooth restaurant functioning. For a restaurant manager to be successful, he needs to be able to communicate effectively and handle problems swiftly.