So how can software for restaurant kitchens improve workflows? Well, when we think of the restaurant kitchen, we romanticize them. We picture a tough yet inspiring head chef and leader who helps to conduct the entire kitchen into an orchestra of efficiency. Most often it’s a dynamic environment that can present an array of organizational challenges on a daily basis.
Of course, there are some constants like time of day for rush hour service, prep and production periods, and what menu items to produce that day. However, there is no clear solution for the ebb and flow of changing kitchen routines. There could be days when the popular main dish switches out, or where staff must focus on training new hires.
To make matters more difficult, many of these kitchen processes are written down with pen and paper. Whether it’s tasks for the day, coveted recipes, or the flow of communication, surprisingly these can be found scattered throughout the kitchen. Recipes are typically held in binders, opening / closing procedures and prep snapped to clipboards. Order guides are hung on walls, which can only add to increased inefficiencies. Unfortunately, these are general practices across many kitchens and an accepted part of the restaurant kitchen culture.
These inefficiencies showcase a need that technology can help fill to cut down on time and ultimately costs.
How to introduce software into restaurant kitchens
Before putting tablets into the kitchen or back office, take the time to have a plan on what you want these tools to accomplish. What are the pain points in the kitchen, and prioritize those first! Is it inconsistency in food prep, or lack of transparency within production? Whenever possible, it’s important not to integrate an entire solution overnight. Take an interactive approach to the primary needs.
With this roadmap, you can help show the kitchen staff there’s no longer a need to look at binders and clipboards for crucial information. By utilizing everyday devices, they can easily access this information; whether from a phone, tablet, or computer. This allows for decluttering of food prep and office space, while providing access to a safe and central location.
From there it’s ideal to digitize components one by one. The first area for implementing software in restaurant kitchens is the common day-to-day tasks and kitchen operating procedures. These tasks rarely change, so keeping them in order and in an easy-to-reach format will be an immediate help.
In addition, you can extend to daily and future food prep tasks, even if they’re regularly changing. This will help to consolidate all procedural and food prep tasks into one ordered location.
After you’ve got your operational tasks down with the software in restaurant kitchens, you’re ready to start digitizing what’s most important for a restaurant; recipes. Instead of looking at worn-out recipes written by hand that have difficult-to-read handwriting, digitize them! Easily retrieve recipes from your phone or a tablet when you need to reference them. Edits to the recipe, scaling, or adding numerous variations are also possible at a much faster, legible, and cleaner rate. This way, you don’t need to try to figure out what that special ingredient is or manually scale each ingredient; it’s all possible with just a couple taps.
From here it’s all about the right team communication. Whatever the medium is, the best option is always to stick with one primary channel of communication for the team. Utilizing the right type of technology that syncs up all the tasks, recipes, and teams will help with the overall flow and teamwork throughout the day. This will allow for a clear channel of transparency and accountability within the team.
What is the impact of software in restaurant kitchens now?
When considering the overall operation of a restaurant, especially with food production, it takes time and passion to prepare the food properly. Every mistake or delay starts to compound the overall queued system mentality. Thus, this will start to delay the delivery of food to the customers. Whether these customers are ordering for dine-in or take-out, there needs to be some type of order in that kitchen.
Software tools help to put the overall tasks, procedures and data for the kitchen into one centralized and mobile accessible location. It allows for this crucial information to be secured in digital cloud storage solution without a fear of losing it.
Imagine accidentally looking at the recipe book to practice making a new dish and then spilling ingredients all over it. Or, handling a prep station before a busy lunch rush and realizing you misread one of the instructions because it wasn’t in clear writing. These situations can lead to a loss of food production and consistency, eventually, loss of food sales. Restaurants survive on the proper number of table turns, and every second starts to count.
A Bottomless Pit of Storage
Staying organized with the use of technological tools will help to keep the focus on what’s most important. Providing high-quality and consistent food as quickly as possible to generate revenues, satisfied customers, and repeat business. It may seem easy, and maybe having a notepad with all the critical information is a good idea now. However, in the long run, that type of storage medium will start to degrade and not be so easy to read, share or keep track of.
Also, when switching to a digital format, there’s no limit to how much you’ll be able to store in many cases. This is because you’re storing primarily text-based information with some accompanying photos. You don’t need to have binders and clipboards all over the office and kitchen with the list of daily check-ins, prep work, task management, and recipes. Your digital system can store all that without taking up that physical storage space.
If you take the approach to working with an online software as a service (SaaS) option, then your data will end up having storage on a cloud-based system. These systems are secure and routinely backed up, meaning you won’t be losing those recipes or those highly efficient restaurant operational processes. Ones that have taken years of experience to conduct and perfect.
If something happens to your hardware while at the restaurant, simply look for another tablet or phone with an internet or data connection. You’ll quickly be able to access your stored information without having to worry if you’re going to have to start all over again.
What software should I use?
One element to always bear in mind is that there are a lot of various SaaS options out there. Although there may appear to be many one-size-fits-all solutions, it’s a good idea to consider an option specifically focused on your needs in the restaurant kitchen operation. Otherwise, you’ll be inundated with features that have little to no use for you. Thus, you’ll have an overly complicated system and paying for more than you need or can utilize.
This is where opsi comes in – the workflow app for chefs. As a culinary professional, opsi does exactly what you need it to do. From creating and refining recipes in an easy-to-access format to ensuring that you have an overall view of all the necessary tasks that need completion.
With opsi you can manage true recipe costs enabling accurate daily food production expenditure. Opsi’s communication feature also provides a centralized communication channel – easy to understand and use for workers at any skill level.
Opsi helps your restaurant build transparency within its team for greater consistency in the workplace. Streamline communication, help develop skill-sets faster, and bridge the gap with training tools helping your team feel more impactful and successful in their positions.
You can access opsi online or via a mobile app download in the App Store or Google Play Store, opening the accessibility to anyone on the team who needs access. This helps to sync up all necessary responsibilities and functionality into a neat system. Thus, helping you get your kitchen chaos into an orderly kitchen.
A New Age
Restaurant kitchens are an environment where technology is just finding its way. Software in restaurant kitchens helps in every aspect to push and train the kitchen staff to be as efficient as possible. This alleviates common stressors and gives staff the proper training and tools to manage daily tasks.
It’s always the best idea to reach out to us to get yourself a demo of the system to discover its focused features.
Give yourself the peace of mind that your team is organized, and your most valuable assets and backbone of consistency for the operation are protected, archived, and easily accessible.