For any pizzeria, the back of the house drives food quality, service times and customer satisfaction. Given the impact on these key business areas, how well or how poorly your kitchen operations are organized and run often influences the bottom line.
While certain timesavers like pre-made dough balls can improve efficiency, it’s important to view your kitchen as a whole when assessing what is — and isn’t — working for your restaurant. Small fixes can have a big impact on back of the house flow, so consider implementing these best practices to address areas in need of improvement.
Set your team up for success
- Manage the menu. One of the easiest ways to keep your kitchen on track is to review your menu and get rid of underperforming dishes or those that are unduly fussy to prepare. Your team can then focus on preparing fewer menu items well, and you alleviate the hassle of ordering and maintaining an extensive ingredient inventory. You should also encourage the use of ingredients already in house, which prevents unnecessary increases in inventory and frees up precious storage space.
- Invest in quality equipment. Don’t limit your kitchen staff by asking them to use inadequate tools. As budget allows, purchase the equipment necessary to quickly and accurately prepare every menu item. If you find some equipment to be out of reach financially in the short- or long-term, you may want to rethink your menu to accommodate the capabilities of existing equipment.
Eliminate confusion and guesswork
- Keep inventory and workspaces orderly. In most kitchens, space is at a premium, so it’s tempting to stash ingredients and tools wherever they fit. On its face, this practice appears to save time but the opposite is true. The chaos that results when staff must guess where things are kept can really slow kitchen production. Instead, designate specific storage areas for each ingredient and require that workspaces are outfitted with identical prep tools. Performance is enhanced and orders get out quicker when every team member knows exactly where to find what they need.
- Establish standard operating procedures (SOPs). In the simplest terms, SOPs get everyone on the same page in the back and front of the house. They provide uniformity, help improve quality and reduce waste within your pizzeria or across multiple locations, improve training and establish expectations around team member contributions to the operation in areas from food prep and safety to cleaning and customer service.
Establish a support system
- Leverage POS system capabilities. Once heralded for simplifying sales transactions, POS systems are comprehensive tools that offer real insights into kitchen management when configured to track inventory, food and labor costs, and paper goods supplies. Plus, a POS system can provide metrics that aid in ordering — for example, if certain toppings are popular in one restaurant location but not another, you can adjust amounts to save money and reduce waste.
- Hire and train for efficiency. A well-paced kitchen is an efficient kitchen. Spare staff from working in the weeds by hiring an experienced front of the house manager who can enforce best practices that complement back of the house procedures, and keep orders flowing without overburdening the kitchen or compromising the customer experience. Further, don’t confuse staff onboarding with training. Establish an ongoing training protocol to keep team members engaged and working at peak efficiency.
You can boost your operation’s efficiency and bottom line with these best practices, especially when you pair them with products that save time and money, like Alive & Kickin’ Pizza Crust dough balls and crusts. Learn more in our latest infographic, 5 Ways Pre-Made Dough Balls Streamline Pizzeria Kitchen Operations. Click the button below to access your free copy.