Sascha Barby, trained chef and Vice President of Live Customer Experience/Marketing at RATIONAL, shares seven tips for better organizing your day-to-day kitchen routines in hospitality:
Build on a good core team
In general, kitchen processes are made up of many individual steps. Efficient process planning is always based on the experience the chef and his team bring to the table. For Sascha Barby, efficiency in the kitchen always starts with the team. “I can have really great equipment, but if the core team isn’t functioning well, the technology won’t help me much.”
Give your staff a break
When it comes to staff, the industry not only suffers from a shortage of skilled workers, temporary and unskilled staff are also hard to find. New employees have to learn the processes first. “Modern technology can help by reducing training requirements and supporting quality assurance and standardization.With intelligent functions such as the iProductionManager, your staff gets a break,” explains Sascha Barby. Questions such as: What needs to be made á la carte? How long does it take to prepare? What temperature is the right one? – are now a thing of the past. “Everything is saved individually and can be accessed directly by anyone,” says Barby.
Create added value through digitalization
Sure, you have to look closely at where digitalizing processes and workflows adds value: Where does it help you position yourself better and reduce the skills shortage, for example? The answer is simple. “Digitalization primarily helps where it relieves the kitchen of routine tasks, such as documenting HACCP data . However, it also helps with asset management in terms of equipment,” explains Barby. Both of these aspects and much more is possible with digital management systems such as ConnectedCooking. “It’s also important not to overwhelm the team with digitalization. This could lead to rejection which means you lose more than you gain,” says Barby. When it comes to this topic, what you need is a delicate touch, a healthy balance and a focus on what creates added value.
Standardize your processes
Hold on – don’t just go for it: It’s important to first take the time and critically examine what can and must be optimized. “For me, the key to many challenges lies in process standardization. Maintaining a certain standard in the dishes we make is a real challenge,” Barby emphasizes. With the right technology and digitalization, you can achieve a lot here: Standardized cooking times, easily accessible recipes and defined processes. According to Barby, a perfect example of this is the á la carte business. “With the right equipment, such as the iCombi Pro, I can standardize all products and make them accessible to anyone.” Anyone can select the product and drag & drop it to the corresponding rack level. That’s it! “This way, the products are always made in the same amount of time and have the same level of quality – no matter who’s standing in front of the cooking system,” Barby says.
Machine-based work that’s still easy to understand
Digital solutions must suit the kitchen and team in order to be accepted. To put it another way, humans and machine have to speak the same language. “To do this, it is important for the team to immediately recognize the advantage the machine-based solution offers: it’s easy to understand, easy to use, facilitates my day-to-day work – and brings the best results,” says the expert. These solutions needed to be self-explanatory and technically straightforward. Solutions developed by chefs for chefs made implementation simple and at the same time increased acceptance. It is also important that the appliance manufacturer’s contact partners can be reached when needed, so that day-to-day kitchen routines can run smoothly and efficiently.
Rely on energy efficiency and sustainability
Using energy only when it is needed is a challenge in the kitchen: Many cooking systems have long preheating times and are therefore always on. Right now, this is a disaster considering the rising energy prices. In addition, many cooking systems support only one type of preparation: the deep fryer deep-fries, on the grill you grill. “Modern kitchen equipment combines many devices, which means it takes up less space and also saves you money. Good insulation and short preheating times bring potential for savings as well,” says the expert. In terms of sustainability, standardization also plays an important role. “If I can cook to perfection and with consistent quality, then I use less food, throw less away”. This not only has a positive effect on food costs, it also helps prevent food waste. “In the restaurant industry, about up to 30 percent of the food purchased is thrown away because too much food or poor quality food was made,” Barby knows.
Support your employees
There are currently many opportunities to change jobs. In many cases, they offer higher pay, a better qualified team or a more modern working environment “Of course, young chefs especially enjoy working with equipment that offers more and makes their working day easier,” says Barby. Modern technology can also help take the pressure off the kitchen, both in terms of service and preparation. This has a positive impact on work-life balance. “Standardized processes save time during preparation, including pre-production. Food that is pre-cooked to perfection, which is correctly cooled and then stored, reduces production to two to three days per week. This means there is no need to make food every day,” says the kitchen expert.