Monday, January 20, 2020

The Food Business 2020

The food service industry is ever evolving and changing as we head into 2020. Budgets are getting tighter with the rise in minimum wage and the cost of goods increasing.
Will the prices just go up? 
Will everyone in the industry just have to work harder?
I believe it will be a combination of adjusting prices, labor control, and managing food cost
     Prices will have to be increased as the cost of doing business increases.  That means as labor cost rises the cost to order products to do business will go up as well.  This in turn will be passed on to the consumer. Menus will be engineered to include a mix of more lower food cost items and less high food cost items to offset the increases. We will see a slow rise in prices every year to ease consumers into rising prices and reduce sticker shock. A example of sticker shock would be Mcdonalds raising the cost of a burger from $8.00 to $15.00 over night.  Instead they would do it gradually so people won't feel it as much.

     We have to run our labor as tight as possible while still providing customer service which  becomes more and more challenging. To much staff you lose money , to little staff , you provide poor customer service and you lose money.  So the challenge is to find the middle ground where you have the right amount of staff scheduled to provide good customer service and allow you to make money.  
As chefs and managers we also have to hire and train staff that can work multiple areas of the operation to get the most out of our employees.
      As an example in the kitchen on a slow day if you can work multiple stations you get the hours.  A person who isn't willing to learn multiple areas of the kitchen and only wants to work one station won't get hours when its slow.  Even when it is busy you may be able to have a person work two stations and save money by not having another person working. Another example is having a person prep in the morning for a few hours then go out and run a register or host when the food service operation opens up. Then there is no need for a morning prep person.
      Last but not least managing food cost which is one of the most important.  Chefs and managers will have to run their inventories as tight as possible by only ordering what is needed. They will have to minimize all waste and cross utilize products. Food will have to be ordered that can be utilized in multiple menu items to get the most out of the product.  Products will need to be purchased in bulk to get better prices.  Menus will have to be tweaked to make sure all menu items are selling which will allow you to go through the inventory and not waste product. 
     It is going to take skilled food service managers and chefs to mange the rising costs of doing business.  No the cost isn't just going to go up. Yes everyone in the industry will have to work a little harder with labor costs going up but it can be managed.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Over Worked Restaurant Managers

The fast pace, high  energy of the food service industry can beat down even the best of us.  Working without days off or 14 hour shifts constantly.  Which ever the case may be it has gotten even more difficult in the age of technology.  For some of us even when we are off we are not off with the constant connection our cell phones give us today.  You can receive emails and phone calls around the clock every time there is a problem or issue that arises.  So it seems even when some of us are off we never stop dealing with issues at work because we are always connected.
                   Always being connected can in some cases make it seem like you never get any rest.  You work 80 hours a week without a day off and when you get home you still have to deal with work.  This diminishes quality of life.  The one thing all of us with families strive to achieve is a good balance between work and home quality of life. 
                    It seems as though the people in upper management do not care about any ones quality of life as long as the restaurant or food service establishment is running properly.  They don't care if you work 200 hours as long as everything is running smooth. Upper management isn't going to step in and run a shift so you can have a day off either but you will be the first one they call when something is wrong after you just got off and your out to eat with your family. 
                    So in conclusion quality of life in the restaurant industry is diminishing the more we are connected and it always seems the bosses want more and more. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Kitchen War Stories

One thing is for sure if you have worked in the food service industry long enough you have either heard one, seen one or have been apart of one. Kitchen war stories or accidents cost food service businesses large amounts of money every year and can even cause them to go belly up. This is why more and more safety precautions are but in place every year by food service companies. Some companies even go as far as to offer rewards for having no accidents for the year or month. Kitchens are very dangerous and the more fast paced they are the more dangerous they become. This is why there are tons of war stories out there. I will share a couple kitchen war stories with you then please fee free to share your stories in the comment section.

One time in a restaurant where I worked I guy strained the oil out of a fryer while it was hot.  Then he took the oil out back to the to oil dumpster to dump it.  Well the light was out and it was dark.  They just brought a new oil dumpster which had a lid and the old one did not.  The guy went to dump the oil like he did many times before but it was dark and the lid was closed so he poured the hot oil all down the front of him.  It scalded his feet arms and chest.

Once more in the same restaurant a guy was making pizza dough from scratch in a big mixer with a dough hook.  Well the dough stuck to the side a little and it was only on speed one. So he thought he could put his hand in the mixer to scrape the dough off the sides.  Well he wasn't fast enough the dough hook took his arm and snapped it like a twig.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Managers vs Employees

In my food service experience I find that a lot of times establishments can become a battle of managers vs employees.  I believe it usually comes from changes in management.  When you have a management staff who is relaxed on some of the rules, then you change over the management staff and try to lay down the law so to speak the employees tend to rebel.  Sometimes this happens when one manager leaves and a new one is brought in to fill the position.  The battle can also arise when there is an inconsistency in counseling employees. 
     I find that the younger staff members tend to test management more often than older staff members.  The younger employees are there to make a few dollars and don't really have much responsibility.  Where as the older staff members are trying to support families or to make a living.  A lot of the younger staff tend to have the attitude of i don't care I'll just get another job.  These are the staff members that will try to tell you what they will and will not do.  The flip side of this is with the older staff who have been with the company for a long time and think they know better than management because they may have been there longer.
     Some of these types of employees can be counseled and become very productive good employees.  While others are like poison to the rest of the staff and get others to follow them creating a bad environment.  These types of people challenge management at every turn until they quit or get fired.  Some of them will straighten out after counseling just long enough until you have to start the counseling process over again.  This makes them very difficult to get rid off unless they do something that gives you cause for immediate termination.
    The best thing to avoid the managers vs employees situation is that management needs to be consistent  and all on the same page.  Management also has to treat the employees with respect as well