Mediterranean restaurant seats 60.
During the week we open at 11am, with a lunch rush that lasts up to three hours. Throughout this time, the restaurant is at about 75% capacity. 3 cooks.
One cook mans the grill, griddle, fryer, and the two shawermas (upright rotating rotisseries, one with chicken stack, the other with gyro stack). 2 cooks man the app/plating station.
When a ticket comes in the person in charge-usually my chef, who is manning the grill/griddle-pulls the ticket, calls out what came in, then instructs the other two on what to get ready. ONe person cuts and portions the meat and hands the container to chef, who then begins the cooking, while the other two get apps and plating ready. The two cooks who aren't the chef generally dance around each other, picking up where the other guy left off if one has to move. Works well. Hectic as Hades usually, but smooth, until servers begin making mistakes and priorities get interrupted. I'm sure y'all know how that goes.
Let me tell you about today.
At 1058am, the manager on duty (who's in for Chef during lunch today) opens the door and twenty people pour into the restaurant...TOGETHER, as in, they were 1 party. The three of us in the kitchen gear up for those twenty and before you know it, every table in the house is occupied. Sensing the turmoil that's about to come, the manager phones two other managers, who had worked until 4am the night previous. The manager that was already there starts us off as best we can when the app tix start coming in. We're behind already, then the two servers start making mistakes in deliveries. The manager is making calls as best he can when the other two managers show up.
Allow me to interject here that all three of the managers are co-owners.
One of the owner/managers takes charge, as he usually does-which is not a problem in and of itself-and the manager who opened with us goes FOH to help the servers. This owner/manager has his own system of ticket management, which differs from that of my Chef, which differs from that of the manager that opened with us. Habitually, when he comes into the frenzied kitchen, he asks, "Where are we at?", and one of us peons tells him where we are as far as ticket order is concerned, but NOT where we stand regarding which tix have been re-prioritized, or put into the system incorrectly, or which have been delivered to the wrong tables, as that is not our concern; we're turning and burning according to our instructions.
Needless to say, everything began to crumble. It got so bad that we literally reached a stand-still, while tix were printing, trying to figure out what the hell. This happens whenever the house is full and we get a fourth or fifth body in the kitchen. Each body in there is necessary, but I feel that without a strict protocol for emergencies, we will always fall apart.
My question is, is there a way to set up a standard for emergency situations, when there are more than three bodies needed and, more importantly, how would I approach my chef and the owners about implementing one? I certainly wouldn't want to offend anyone by implying that what each of them does individually leads to problems, but I feel that we HAVE to do something, in the interest of the restaurant's success and customer service.