As a working environment, restaurants have ebbs and flows in stress levels. One season, it can be a constant frantic pace that’s punctuated with lulls of quiet, and in slow times, it’s the opposite.
When it’s calm, steady business, it’s easy for your team to work together. Poor employee relations go unnoticed and slip-ups in communications can be handled without disturbing the customer experience.
It’s when things get busy that these dysfunctions transform your restaurant team into a discombobulated mass of opposing operations and communications. This is nowhere as obvious as the relations between chef and FOH staff.
Any person who has worked in a restaurant is familiar with the untouchable aura that surrounds a chef. Depending on the restaurant, they are the “creative geniuses” behind the scenes, and the usual rules don’t apply to them. While the chef benefits from the independence, this kind of rock-stardom has proven to have a bad affect on FOH performances and the overall guest experience.
If servers are too intimidated to talk to the chef, then order changes don’t happen, questions aren’t asked, high tensions fracture fragile working relationships, and the team suffers from poor communication. Below, we suggest several ways to improve relations with your chef and FOH staff.
When changes are made to a menu or new specials added, your chef must call a staff meeting to review what’s new. New ingredients and cooking processes should be explained, as well as flavor profiles, wine pairings, and interesting tidbits about the dish (such as, if the dish is Chef’s version of a classic, or was inspired by a recent trip). If it’s a protein, then it’s important to share its origins and how it was sourced. Customers love to hear about the food they’re ordering, and your FOH team can use every detail to sell, sell, sell.
Allow the FOH staff to taste the food while the recipes are explained in detail. Then, close the meeting with questions from them. With detailed answers and descriptors, the FOH is armed and ready to 86 the food specials.
Lavu Pro Tip: Avoid using chef jargon with the FOH staff. They probably won’t know what you mean, and it will save time to speak plainly with them.
Use a Kitchen POS Interface to Clear up Communications
Improve communications right away with a kitchen display system without shouting or last-minute changes. There are so many details that need to be shared quickly, and that’s difficult when employees are busy. Overall, you’ll find that it reduces tensions from both sides of the house.
Here are the ways the Lavu Kitchen Display System improves output and transparency:
- Itemized orders
- Late order notifications
- Ticket updates
- Modifiers appear in red, for easy viewing
- Expand button, to make an order full screen for clear visibility
- Real-time communication on your local network
- See the number of items on a ticket
- Order prep instructions
- Paid and unpaid identifiers
- Customizable interface options
- Customizable display options
- Customizable headers
- Order timer
- Reporting on order times and item times
With this kind of restaurant management software:
- Orders are not skipped or missed.
- FOH can relay customer requests fast and in real time, giving the BOH time to adjust.
- Productivity increases.
As an extra bonus, your staff relations improve, stress levels reduce, and the work environment is more enjoyable.
Don’t Kill the Messenger
As head chef, you know it’s not your server asking for that gluten-free pasta option, it’s the customer. When possible, accommodate change requests for the menu and don’t punish the messenger for it. You and the FOH team are working together to make the best guest experience possible, and this starts with a motivated, confident FOH staff