Monday, October 6, 2008

Restaurant Rant

What do you think is the most important thing for a restaurant to have? Great food? A passionate staff? A great wine list? Caring but discreet service? Clean bathrooms? Nice Building?

The answer is yes. And no. Of course you need all these components to make things work. But what a restaurant needs is great communication--on all levels.

The thing that makes communication so important (and difficult) is that rarely is one piece of information more important than the other. How much produce you ordered--the AM shift needs to know about that. The nozzle on the hose in the dish pit is leaking--the kitchen manager / sous chef needs to know about that. There are only 9 chicken left--the front of house needs to know about that. But wait! That fish special has been coming back to the dish pit with plates almost full all night--the whole kitchen needs to know about that. Add to this the constant chatter between stations during service, the manager’s critiques on the plates coming out, or the GM letting you know that a food critic just sat upstairs, and you've got a lot of information flying around.

It’s all about communication.


I used to give new managers homework. Culinary terms to look up. Articles to read. Places to eat.

It's interesting, how many cooks think the job ends when they leave the kitchen. Sure, cooks like to look at (not read) cookbooks, and sure, they like to eat out...but how much information is being absorbed there?

How many managers know what is happening at the restaurant across the street?

There is no way to grow if you're only focused on what’s going on where you work. Having said that, there is really no way to grow if you're only focused on the type of cuisine you cook. Get together with your fellow managers, cooks, servers, - trade books and articles, and eat out as much as you can. Just don’t drink too much.

•I’m trying to write, but the stock market is making me want to stab myself in my eyeballs. My parents will soon be living in my garage. I could be forced to sell our youngest child.
•Heard at the airport last weekend - "she looks like a cross between Maggie Gyllenhall and John Goodman." "She looks like she's spent a lot of time in tents."
•My wife sings bad hip hop music when she drives
•Tina Fey is still my pick for VP.

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