Kerfuffle in the Kitchen and other Stuff(ing)
Passionate explosions in an early morning prep kitchen probably occur more often than not.
First cook in the kitchen starts up the ovens, cleans the left-over greases from the grill area, and sets the staging for food preps of the day. There’s also similar fluidity to the common tasks required of each line cook and garde manger.
Occasionally when staffing schedules cannot sufficiently meet seasonal demand during peak season (think Spring Break, for instance), the prospect of seeing the GM working back of the house stations might provide the necessary assist on demand. Suffice it to say, the GM then moving along to wait tables, serve, and connect with the diners plays a very responsive PR part when all is accomplished to voluntarily move the orders as expeditiously as possible. In certain brand properties this motivational pull (volunteering to service outside of one’s ordinary station, regardless of managerial hierarchy at the property) is called “Snap”. It’s part of this restaurant’s business model, and its all-around effectiveness is a great marketing and public relations tool. (See the recommended reading below.)
Whether this concept is unique to a one-time occurrence, or is part of your restaurant’s vision, it certainly helps to understand the commitment each member of your kitchen staff (and front of the house operations) can have in making a kerfuffle in the kitchen, and whatever other chaos that may arise, reach a productive outcome.
A recent event at a local restaurant experiencing the onslaught of Spring Breakers and a major holiday coming together like a maelstrom that was beyond best expectations brought this issue to play out. The confluence of having staffing shortages “might” have caused certain chaos and untimely meal waits – and other stuff. The potential for chaos was quickly usurped by the timely intervention of the GM himself (wearing many hats – literally) to step in and assist with serving well-prepped orders, along with the familiar “good morning” greet for each delivery.
Kudos to John Love, Manager at First Watch Restaurant, in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
Recommended reading: Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma written by Patti Wood.