Maximising staff productivity in your commercial kitchen is one of the most significant factors for business success. Whether it be your head chef or kitchen porter, ensuring all of your kitchen and catering staff are able to do their work with maximum efficiency and effectiveness will help you meet your goals and maintain profitability. With that said, let’s take a closer look at how you can operate your dark kitchen, so it runs as smoothly as a well-oiled machine…
Common Issues Affecting Efficiency in a Commercial Kitchen
There are many issues that affect the way an employee performs their job, but by focusing on these common issues, you can take steps to create an environment where employees feel valued and encouraged to succeed.
Ways in which you can optimise efficiency are as follows;
- Space management and layout
- Commercial kitchen equipment
- Processes and policies
- Hire the right people
Kitchen Space Management & Layout
One of the keys to being a successful dark kitchen business owner is ensuring that your employees have everything they need in order to be as efficient and effective as possible. Working towards a more productive kitchen begins with maximising the space that you have available. You may need to take certain steps such as reassessing the layout of your kitchen space or by making sure that everyone has enough room to work without feeling crowded.
Organising Your Kitchen Workstations
Don’t underestimate the importance of an organised kitchen! One essential way to increase productivity in any commercial kitchen is through proper storage and optimised workflow. Maximising your space means creating an environment that encourages efficiency.
In addition to an efficient layout, you will want to focus on workstations to ensure that all of your employees can perform their daily tasks with ease and comfort. This is where organising how you use each area becomes important. We suggest organising your staff by their tasks, for example, by utilising the food prep table as a row of stations where each employee works on one specific task.
Optimise Your Kitchen Storage
When it comes to maximising the workspace in your dark kitchen, you will want to make sure that everything is properly organised and stored for easy retrieval. Efficiently organising storage does not only mean utilising every nook, cranny and shelf throughout the entire area of your commercial or dark kitchen but also ensuring that each item has a designated spot once it’s been put away.
Whether it be dry, frozen or cold storage, ensure the storage area is kept as organised and safe as possible and not cluttered with unused items or other miscellaneous objects which can slow down production time, clutter up valuable space and make it difficult for staff members to find necessary equipment in a timely manner.
Implement Efficient Kitchen Habits and Processes
One way to make your commercial kitchen more efficient is to use ‘time off the line’ as wisely as possible. This simple measure is an easy way to increase your staff productivity. A dark kitchen’s ‘time off the line’ is the time spent away from their station, usually doing maintenance or other tasks that are necessary for the upkeep of the facility.
Implement a rota of routine tasks that staff members sign up for in advance. This way when there is nothing going on they are being productive by doing their part of the kitchen clean or other menial tasks and not wasting time.
The first consideration is that there are times when it would be better for an employee to take a break, but if their break coincides with a gap in customer orders or key prep time, they can be effectively swapped out for another employee who doesn’t need to take a break at that time. We’d also recommend aiming to save time in tasks like cleaning by breaking it into stages. Review how tasks are performed and whether there is a better or more efficient way of doing them.
Maximising your commercial kitchen’s production capacity and output with the least amount of labour required is an important part of;
- Establishing clear KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for each role in your dark kitchen will allow you to understand where changes can be made to improve efficiency.
- Working on your kitchen’s production capacity and output with the least amount of labour required is an essential part of running a profitable food business, so make sure to take advantage of technology that can help you monitor KPIs. There are apps available for both iOS and Android operating systems that allow staff members in dark kitchens all over the world to record their daily tasks. This helps to ensure that they are working efficiently and also provides managers with data that can be used for future planning purposes.
Training your staff is key to achieving the goal of running an efficient commercial kitchen. An example of this is ensuring that your kitchen staff know when it’s time for them to take a break and when there is a gap in customer orders or key prep time. As mentioned above, provide employees with clear KPIs for each role. These will allow you to understand where changes can be made within the role and help improve efficiency. Staff members should work towards improving their production capacity, by rotating tasks within the kitchen with the least amount of labour required, so it’s important to make sure that they are using technology to help monitor KPIs.
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