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Kitchen smaller than dinning capacity.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have recently taken on a Sous Chef position and one of my fist of suggestions was to shrink the menu. We currently have 48 menu items. We have a walk in cooler that is very cramped due to sharing with kegs and bottled beer (we are a Gastro Pub). We do not have a walk in freezer but one freezer on the service line and three others elsewhere.

I was told by the Chef that they upgraded the capacity in the dinning room without upgrading the kitchen and that the kitchen is capable of servicing about two thirds of what the dinning room can hold. Even our pick up window is very small compared to many other kitchens I've worked in and salad pantry and desert building is done far from the main line, which leads to much line crossing as well as frustration.

What would a typical menu size with a change of menu every 3-4 months be for a kitchen able to service 175 or so guests?

This is my first Sous Chef position after 8 years line/prep/supervisor, culinary school and I'd like to make a good impression.
post #2 of 13

I hate to be the one to tell you this.....

 

More than likely, the owners don't really give a sh*t about the kitchen.  The booze makes the money, the food is just an excuse to sell more booze.

 

The time to trim down the menu and to ask for equipment was before you were hired.  More than likely the owners will just smile and nod, keep on as before, and find a replacement for you if you become too demanding.

 

Like I said, I hate to be the one to tell you this.

 

If you ever have to share a walk-in with beer kegs, you know the owners are never serious about food....... 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #3 of 13

I guess I'm a little old fashioned. As Chef,  I want my Sous to supervise/train and take some tasks off my plate so that I could do the suggesting and changing of things. I don't know, when I was coming up through the ranks, as Sous, my job was to make the Chefs job easier.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post

I hate to be the one to tell you this.....

More than likely, the owners don't really give a sh*t about the kitchen.  The booze makes the money, the food is just an excuse to sell more booze.

The time to trim down the menu and to ask for equipment was before you were hired.  More than likely the owners will just smile and nod, keep on as before, and find a replacement for you if you become too demanding.

Like I said, I hate to be the one to tell you this.

If you ever have to share a walk-in with beer kegs, you know the owners are never serious about food....... 


Yes,it has been talked about. The Chef wants to too. One owner but I hope we can talk him into it
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am trying to build a name for myself. The Chef has asked me to make suggestions and so that's what I'm doing. I'm also watching my comments/suggestions also. Thanks for the tips guys
post #6 of 13
What's the seating capacity and kitchen layout like?
post #7 of 13

You have to look at the total square feet of real estate like a pie to be divided up.  The spaced dedicated to dining room seating brings in money while kitchen spaces eats up room that paying customers could be sitting in.  That's kind of short sighted but that's the calculus for most owners.  Looking at it with chef's eyes we'd all like more kitchen space than dining room and all the cool toys.;)  And no matter how "impossible" they layout he expects the kitchen staff to 'make it work' somehow.

 

A bit smaller and more streamlined menu would help.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skywind View Post

I am trying to build a name for myself. The Chef has asked me to make suggestions and so that's what I'm doing. I'm also watching my comments/suggestions also. Thanks for the tips guys

No offence there Skywind, I just missed the, 'the Chef asked me part'.

I can only speak to the Gastro Pubs in my area. 48 items seems like a large number to me. When we go to a pub, There is usually a smaller menu, as if the Chef cherry picked his favorite dish from the proteins, salads, etc. It also makes it easier to pair the beer I'm going to choose.  less choices/confusing, We do hit one pub frequently because they have a selection of boards with assorted

Charcuterie and Imported Cheeses. I see quite a few tables either ordering a board for apps. or sharing different boards for meals. They aren't cheap, so I don't think it affects revenue but I'm sure it's easier on the kitchen which I know is small.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by panini View Post

I guess I'm a little old fashioned. As Chef,  I want my Sous to supervise/train and take some tasks off my plate so that I could do the suggesting and changing of things. I don't know, when I was coming up through the ranks, as Sous, my job was to make the Chefs job easier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post

You have to look at the total square feet of real estate like a pie to be divided up.  The spaced dedicated to dining room seating brings in money while kitchen spaces eats up room that paying customers could be sitting in.  That's kind of short sighted but that's the calculus for most owners.  Looking at it with chef's eyes we'd all like more kitchen space than dining room and all the cool toys.wink.gif   And no matter how "impossible" they layout he expects the kitchen staff to 'make it work' somehow.

A bit smaller and more streamlined menu would help.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
I've been cooking professionally for 8 years and I've never seen a kitchen this small for the dinning room size. I agree the menu needs to be smaller and streamlined. We have many items that use certain ingredients for themselves. I do understand "streamlining" and that's what I'd like to see without upsetting the Chef and owner
post #11 of 13

It's an old saying that a huge sprawling menu is hallmark of an amateur.  Cheesecake Factory can have 150 things on their menu because they do $10 million per location per year and have a ton of staff.  Most restaurants, especially smaller ones that are limited in space and labor budget, are better off sticking with a small menu expertly executed.  When you do have more items at least try to riff on a few ingredients you already have. For instance, if you already do a reuben then adding a corned beef sandwich or corned beef hash would be easy.  If you serve burgers it's easy to have a half dozen different versions (eg mushroom & smoked gouda, onion & ale, "goo burger" with the works, etc).  You need good cross utilization to minimize inventory and storage concerns and to enable you to crank stuff on quickly when it gets busy.

 

It would also help a lot if you have some steam table/bain marie space.  I do a steak stroganoff at lunch where I keep the gravy base held hot; with the steak sliced really thin like stir fry it lets me bang out a dish in about three or four minutes.  For that matter if your volume is predictable you could have it completely made up and held hot, ready to serve over noodles, spaetzel, mashed pot, etc.  If you hold gravy hot you could rock out a platter of poutine PDQ, too.  You don't want to overload fry station but french fries are super fast.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post

It's an old saying that a huge sprawling menu is hallmark of an amateur.  Cheesecake Factory can have 150 things on their menu because they do $10 million per location per year and have a ton of staff.  Most restaurants, especially smaller ones that are limited in space and labor budget, are better off sticking with a small menu expertly executed.  When you do have more items at least try to riff on a few ingredients you already have. For instance, if you already do a reuben then adding a corned beef sandwich or corned beef hash would be easy.  If you serve burgers it's easy to have a half dozen different versions (eg mushroom & smoked gouda, onion & ale, "goo burger" with the works, etc).  You need good cross utilization to minimize inventory and storage concerns and to enable you to crank stuff on quickly when it gets busy.

It would also help a lot if you have some steam table/bain marie space.  I do a steak stroganoff at lunch where I keep the gravy base held hot; with the steak sliced really thin like stir fry it lets me bang out a dish in about three or four minutes.  For that matter if your volume is predictable you could have it completely made up and held hot, ready to serve over noodles, spaetzel, mashed pot, etc.  If you hold gravy hot you could rock out a platter of poutine PDQ, too.  You don't want to overload fry station but french fries are super fast.

Absolutely! All of which you've mentioned I have made suggestions and comment towards. We have a few items where the ingredients are only for that item and that is very frustrating.
post #13 of 13

After the dining room fills up you can just take your time.  :)  Make sure they don't seat too fast, bring them their beer and nuts first, and never double ticket you.

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