Sorry for the long winded post in advance but we need advice! We need advice on how we can work together in a two man team with limited space and equipment. Not so much food ideas but how we execute the dishes. Like I said the line is a two man team, one, printer, no expo, no one there to help plate or bail us out if we are busy.
We are a small casual place, about 60 seats in total counting the bar. We have two hot stations (plus GM) those being grill and saute. Grill has a 36" grill, one fryer and a convection oven, saute has an 8 burner range with one working oven. When I first started there basically everything was grill's responsibility because the owner worked saute every night and was tired. For example, if a pasta dish comes in it was grill's responsibility to go across the line and drop the pasta, grill guy had to arrange all tickets on the board, it was grill's responsibility to plate ALL items, grill had to finish all pan roasted items (fish, statlers etc.) in his convection oven because the owner refused to even turn on the oven under the range because it would require him to cook it himself. Much easier for him to sear everything and pass it off to grill. The menu wasn't saute heavy either he was just tired and wanted his hourly grill guy to get worn down instead of himself. Not to mention grill was running around like crazy plating, going between a fried items, grilled items and oven items and arranging tickets. All entrees were "cross-over" for example a steak with risotto is cooked between both stations (grill the steak and saute the risotto).
So now after much debate I've kinda convinced him that his older system doesn't work and isn't efficient, not to mention food quality drops. I haven't convinced him fully but at least it's a start, he still won't turn on his oven but at least he will drop his own pasta and plate his own dishes now LOL.
Currently our system is this:
1.) Grill dictates the flow on the tickets. In my mind this works better because grilled items take longer to cook than sauteed items. For example grill will call out "2 minutes on table 6" or "let's walk on bar 7 in 3 minutes" so he is basically the inside expo but doesn't call out the items, just when it's time to sell each ticket. It's been working nicely.
2.) Stationalize and Reduce Cross-Over. Saute had to take better care of their own station including plating their own items and doing things like dropping their own pasta, this was just common sense to me. This is your station, this is my station kind of idea. Take care of it. We reduced cross over by a lot by designing the new menu accordingly for example a steak gets roasted fingerlings now instead of risotto (grill does everything for that dish, grills the steak and pops the fingerlings in the oven) and most sauteed dishes are exclusively made by saute.
3.) Simpler Appetizers. No more breading things to order for fry (we are doing spring rolls which are simply dropped without breading as opposed to fried calamari) and reduced to the number of sauteed apps to one, This shaves minutes off sauteed app ticket times because we only have 8 burners and when we are busy by the time we free up enough space to get to that app it's already been like 10 minutes. This has been working well too.
It is working better but we are still not perfect. We still need saute to turn on their oven and we still have other kinks to work out too. Does this system make sense? What do other small restaurants do? But most importantly am I making a mistake by reducing cross-over too much? We did a lamb special where grill did the protein and saute did the other component in one pan and it flew out quickly and easily. Should we consider doing more cross-over?