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Order/Fire system

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Does anyone NOT run an order/fire ticket system, or am I in the minority? we are changing our system in the next month, just hired a new chef (3rd in 24 months) and this Chef finally stood up and has decided to change onto an order fire system.

 

The last 3 years i've been at my current club, we've run off a fire system, we see salads/apps/entrees all solo... so we are blind as to what the dinner table is getting, which always leaves us in a huge bind.. instead of seeing a 9oz filet mid well, we have to wait until it's fired before we can even get it on the grill, this seems so ludacris, but the place has always operated as such.

 

Does anyone else run on a system where courses are fired on their own, and you don't see the whole ticket at once?

post #2 of 14
We run out of two windows off of two grills. One guy on a grill, his assembler, own set of servers

We share the saute and two fry guys

Me and my assembler have our own style separate from the other grill guy and his assembler. The servers call in their apps at the same time as they bring out their salad from the cold station. Apps take no longer than 4 minutes, they come print their ticket and then take out apps. I shoot for 10-12 minute ticket times unless there's a porterhouse, 16oz NY or 12oz filet... Or it's 12+ people
post #3 of 14
Our servers ring in the entire ticket with coarse lines separating each coarse.
The expediter calls out "fire first coarse table x" "hold table y" "fire second coarse table z", etc.
The kitchen expediter sets the pace of the meal depending on covers, cook times and guests waiting for tables.
If the expediter knows what their doing it works extremely well.
We turn 400 covers from 130 seats on peak nights.
post #4 of 14

TJ - do the servers fire or does the kitchen fire? 

 

ie: fire tickets or just use the clock?

post #5 of 14

I have recently adopted a clock based system which all but alleviates the need for an expediter with the exception to make sure the right food leaves the kitchen.  We have a clock on the wall that is 15 minutes slower than the clock on the POS.  When tickets are rung in, the cooks fire accordingly knowing that when the time on the clock matches the time on the ticket that order is picked up.  If done correctly, this system should create consistent 18 minute ticket times across the board.  It has its pros and cons and I am undecided about the system as I have always been a verbal expo and verbal cook.  I hate having to read the tickets I am cooking!

post #6 of 14

I have worked in a place where everything comes solo, no course lines between cold/apps/entrees so when a ticket is rung in it means to start fire on that immediately. Outside expediter is crucial here during a rush. Not to mention a lot of yelling between each station like how long on that steak I need to drop a a fish and chips which only takes 3 mins.

 

I've also worked in a place where everything is rung in course lines. When a ticket is rung in basically the first course is to be fired immediately and a slow fire on every other course. So if a ticket is ring in as: salad-mussels-steak/fish/chicken-dessert the salad goes out right away without the need to say fire. Everything else is slow fired (IE the med rare steak is taken to blue/rare, the chicken is cooked about 90percent of the way and so forth) so when the servers tell expo they're ready for the next course expo says fire next course table 8 it means that course is ready to be taken to the table ASAP. This usually means that the item is simply finished or reheated as necessary to make it fit to sell.

 

I'm sure it's different everywhere you go but the way I know it have their advantages and disadvantages. The first method requires a lot screaming and communication between your cooks and a strong expo. Not to mention ticket times are slower but they are also usually delivered to the table fresh off the pan. The second method doesn't require a strong outside expo but does require a smarter type of line cook to keep track of their tickets, scratch off each course as it goes with a sharpie, timing, and clear precise communication between each station with grill leading the charge because their items take longer to cook than any other station. Grill guy would tell everybody he's x amount of mins out on his ticket or would simply say lets go on the table 7. He was basically the second expo. I think this method worked slightly better but also had the disadvantage of everything was basically precooked.

post #7 of 14

Aren't ticket times pretty much saved for fast food or family dining places?

And why is that anyway?

In finer dining the ticket times are determined by the customer and how the table is getting along.

Why is this not the case in casual or family dining?

If the kitchen is ready to fire a table but the table is still enjoying an appetizer that's where problems arise.

Isn't it the server who determines when the food should be fired and not the kitchen?

 

I have had this happen more than once, and I'm happy to ask the server to take the food back and re-make it when I am ready.

 

I get...

"Our kitchen determines when it's time to send the food out.....many of our customers are local businesses that only have an hour to eat, so we make it this way...."  

I say...

"what about the people who aren't local businesses and don't want to be hurried."  

She says..."You should have told me that when you first got here."

Me..."I shouldn't have to...that's your job!!!" SIGH!!!


Edited by Chefross - 2/18/13 at 4:08am
post #8 of 14
Chef Chad, the kitchen fires the ticket based on elapsed time from coarse to coarse.
It's not an automatic amount of time that passes as many of our apps are shareable. The greater number of people sharing the app cuts the fire time down on the next coarse.
The only time the server will instruct fire times is if the guests have mentioned "we're in a hurry" or "we'd like to take it slow tonight"
post #9 of 14

For me, the customer sets the timing of the meal, not the kitchen.

 

The communication channel is customer->server->expediter->kitchen, not the reverse.

 

The customer pays the bills!
 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by linecook854 View Post

I have worked in a place where everything comes solo, no course lines between cold/apps/entrees so when a ticket is rung in it means to start fire on that immediately. Outside expediter is crucial here during a rush. Not to mention a lot of yelling between each station like how long on that steak I need to drop a a fish and chips which only takes 3 mins.

 

I've also worked in a place where everything is rung in course lines. When a ticket is rung in basically the first course is to be fired immediately and a slow fire on every other course. So if a ticket is ring in as: salad-mussels-steak/fish/chicken-dessert the salad goes out right away without the need to say fire. Everything else is slow fired (IE the med rare steak is taken to blue/rare, the chicken is cooked about 90percent of the way and so forth) so when the servers tell expo they're ready for the next course expo says fire next course table 8 it means that course is ready to be taken to the table ASAP. This usually means that the item is simply finished or reheated as necessary to make it fit to sell.

 

I'm sure it's different everywhere you go but the way I know it have their advantages and disadvantages. The first method requires a lot screaming and communication between your cooks and a strong expo. Not to mention ticket times are slower but they are also usually delivered to the table fresh off the pan. The second method doesn't require a strong outside expo but does require a smarter type of line cook to keep track of their tickets, scratch off each course as it goes with a sharpie, timing, and clear precise communication between each station with grill leading the charge because their items take longer to cook than any other station. Grill guy would tell everybody he's x amount of mins out on his ticket or would simply say lets go on the table 7. He was basically the second expo. I think this method worked slightly better but also had the disadvantage of everything was basically precooked.

We are starting to adapt more to the second method, searing off a fish/shrimp/scallop and leaving it on a sizzle until the grill is close to picking up steaks, or resting steaks, then finishing the saute proteins in the oven, not ideal IMO, but it's all we can work with until we have an actual order/fire system in place.

 

Order/fire will obviously speed everything up, because atleast the proteins can be out, seasoned (seared if needed) before the table is necessarily fired, the system we run now, like I said, leaves us totally blind until the entree ticket is sent through.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SquirrelRJ View Post

We are starting to adapt more to the second method, searing off a fish/shrimp/scallop and leaving it on a sizzle until the grill is close to picking up steaks, or resting steaks, then finishing the saute proteins in the oven, not ideal IMO, but it's all we can work with until we have an actual order/fire system in place.

 

Order/fire will obviously speed everything up, because atleast the proteins can be out, seasoned (seared if needed) before the table is necessarily fired, the system we run now, like I said, leaves us totally blind until the entree ticket is sent through.


Yes, we also finish off sauteed proteins on a sizzler plate in the oven like salmon and scallops. Agreed, not the ideal method in terms of quality as sometimes those items are resting 25+ mins on busy nights before being finished off but it is effective and the customers don't seem to notice quality issues. Also, as I stated before, with this method, grill is basically a second expo (or what I call an inside expediter) because he yells when to fire the next course (after being told by the outside expediter) because all his items take longer to cook than saute/fry. In my place this method only works with a really strong grill cook with leadership skills. I'm sure this is a hybridized version as I've never quite seen a grill cook taking directions from the outside expediter than relaying the message to the rest of the line.

 

Could you explain a what an actual order/fire system entails? I'm only familiar with the two methods I described above, the second method being what I would consider an order/fire system.

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by linecook854 View Post


Yes, we also finish off sauteed proteins on a sizzler plate in the oven like salmon and scallops. Agreed, not the ideal method in terms of quality as sometimes those items are resting 25+ mins on busy nights before being finished off but it is effective and the customers don't seem to notice quality issues. Also, as I stated before, with this method, grill is basically a second expo (or what I call an inside expediter) because he yells when to fire the next course (after being told by the outside expediter) because all his items take longer to cook than saute/fry. In my place this method only works with a really strong grill cook with leadership skills. I'm sure this is a hybridized version as I've never quite seen a grill cook taking directions from the outside expediter than relaying the message to the rest of the line.

 

Could you explain a what an actual order/fire system entails? I'm only familiar with the two methods I described above, the second method being what I would consider an order/fire system.

Order/fire is the second system you described, you get the entire ticket at once, so you can see what the entire order is app/salad/entree..

 

Right now, we get separate tickets for each course, but we only see that course, so we have no idea what the entree is going to be until it's fired... by then, we could have had some of the proteins working already, depending on what the first two courses are. The method we use slows us down bigtime, and if anything goes wrong at all, we're logjammed.

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SquirrelRJ View Post

Order/fire is the second system you described, you get the entire ticket at once, so you can see what the entire order is app/salad/entree..

 

Right now, we get separate tickets for each course, but we only see that course, so we have no idea what the entree is going to be until it's fired... by then, we could have had some of the proteins working already, depending on what the first two courses are. The method we use slows us dosown bigtime, and if anything goes wrong at all, we're logjammed.


OK I see. I used the exact same method of separate tickets for each course you have described, so no, you are not alone unfortunately. I feel like this method is not too uncommon in casual restaurants (I interned at one using the exact method). Big panic and sloppiness in crunch time on busy nights as you get crushed with huge orders all fired at once! Not to mention it takes a ton of time just to get the first ticket out, the subsequent tickets do go out easier than the last but it takes forever to dig yourself out of the trench. New servers who do not stagger their orders properly always end up waiting longer for their food too. I would assume because the more experienced servers fire their apps and entrees within a couple of minutes of each other knowing that it will take a while between each ticket allowing proper timing for the guest. Many less experienced line cooks simply cannot compose themselves in the system like they can in the order fire system.

 

The order fire method (all courses on one ticket) has worked better for me IMHO. The servers just need to realize that certain dishes do take longer than others (pan roasted chicken breast or a big ribeye for two) so plan accordingly.

post #14 of 14

The place i'm at now uses and inside and outside expo at night, and we get whole coursed tickets as well as solos, white and yellow copies. i expo a couple nights a week and it's a game of keeping my tickets in track with what he has lined up on the other side, and a food runner will go out and see how tables are doing for courses when the inside expo calls for a check. he also keeps track of who's firing what and who needs to work together on dishes to get to the window together. we run a wood grill so if anything is coming off of that the expo times the rest of the ticket off it but that's the closest it comes to linecook's setup. 

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