When it comes to running a successful restaurant, saving time and keeping costs down are two elements which can seem like a constant battle. No manager wants to cut corners and compromise on quality but how do you find the balance between the two?
The majority of customers to any eating establishment will say that homemade and freshly prepared food comes high on their list of priorities when choosing somewhere to eat, and more importantly, choosing somewhere to return to eat. With customers becoming ever more discerning about the food they are served, nobody wants to concede the quality of food they are producing. That said, almost every operator knows that those same customers are likely to get fidgety and begin looking at their watches if they feel their food is taking too long to arrive.
How do you strike a balance between ensuring that your food is freshly made and that it doesn’t take too long to make leaving customers cross before they’ve even started eating?
One key element is having the right food service equipment; this may mean making an investment in equipment which will help you to save time, thereby ensuring you can prepare and produce the food ordered quickly and efficiently. There are an ever increasing number of gadgets on the market and they all claim to be the next wonder-toy for helping you in the kitchen. Make sure that you read personal reviews and that you try out the equipment before you commit to purchasing anything new; the worst thing you could do would be to buy something on a whim and then discover that it doesn’t actually do what you were expecting, or it doesn’t make your life any easier in the long run.
Another key element is to find a balance between the amount of freshly prepared food you have and food which you have prepared in advance. Sometimes, despite a chef’s best efforts it is simply not feasible to have every single item on the menu prepared as it is ordered and it makes sense to prepare things in advance where you need to. Again, however, with the advancements in technology and food storage there is no reason why, with some careful planning and forethought, the food cannot be kept fresh and many customers will not be able to tell the difference between whether their food was made earlier in the day and reheated or whether it was made there and then as they ordered it. A good chef will know how to make this possible.
Play around with different options if you can, see how the reaction of customer’s varies and don’t be afraid to adapt as necessary. When push comes to shove, most customers will prefer having their food arrive promptly than have proof that it was prepared the moment they ordered it and this is definitely something worth bearing in mind.