dealing with hand witten checks on the line

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Joined Aug 24, 2013
Ive been in the industry for 15 years and a working sous chef for 8 I have worked most of my career with the micros system. Currently I am now employed with a company that uses hand written checks soley. Understanding different handwriting and various abbreviations from the servers I find it very hard to maintain quickness and accuracy o the line. when we get a rush all the cooks are questioning the servers to what they need, special requests, temp of steaks and so on. does anybody have any ideas o the situation. Remember the owners will not change. 
 
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I remember dealing with hand writen tickets, thankfully not for a long time now. What I do know is that the ex and gm, or just the owner always had a established standard way to write the tickets that was taught to new servers and cooks so that everyone was on the same page. That may be a way to approach the issue, it will take some time to establish but the payoff will be worth it.
 
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If the owner/manager is happy with the current illogical and inefficiency and wasted time,
I'd say you're screwed and tatooed. If they're open to improvements, rather than just mandating an
arbitrary system, which h can breed resentment with the servers, I'd suggest a meeting with ALL the
servers n staff to decide what works best and what doesn't. This can be a morale booster, as say
Tiffany's short hand for "no onions" etc works well, while Mandy's way of writing medium-well
Is voted the best, and stays. In the end the key is to arrive at standardized system so everyone's on
the same page. Especially the cooks.
 

pete

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Staff member
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While POS systems are great (at least until the power goes out or the server goes down) handwritten tickets were used with great success.  The key is (as everyone above has stated) that everyone must use the same short hand and lingo when it comes to the "official" tickets.  Servers can use whatever short hand they want will taking orders but when the ticket is made up for the kitchen it has to be done a very specific way.  That way servers don't have to spend so much time running back and forth between the dining room and the kitchen and it doesn't ruin the flow that the cooks get into by having to wait to get answers to dumb questions.
 
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If i could i would slap silly the waiters with that crappy hand writing. 

I remeber waiters giving us tickets and every time no meat temp on any tickets. Then when we would ask they would give us sass. 

Hand written tickets work , if the waiter has decent hand writing , and all start speaking the same lingo , i got tired of having to decifer hand writing and codes on tickets. 

Now the printer may just be more practical. 
 
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"Chef where's my order for table 12 !?"

"I'll remind you again, the clearer and more complete your tickets are the faster they

clear the wheel. Now....what does this strange symbol you wrote mean again? " /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif
 
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I still use paper tickets. We have a 'cheat sheet' of abbreviations that EVERYONE knows including the dishwasher(we are a very small tight kitchen)...all tickets get written using the same exact abbreviations....ex:CHIX PIC for chicken picatta, AHI for teriyaki tuna, Pasta Chix for pasta primavera with chicken etc. etc.etc. Steaks have the temp circled to the right. ex: Filet MR(circled), Flat M(circled), NY R (circled)....you get the picture. Soup or salad goes on the next line. ANY and ALL modifiers get STARRED to the left of and on the same line as the entree, but written to right of entree ex: SOS. If there is something really peculiar or longwinded about an order the waitstaff will also verbalize it(sometimes on tiptoes on a busy night)...it's like pavlov's dog....we can all learn/be trained to do it right. You as chef must insure the best you can that the ticket reaches the kitchen how you want/need it to..it takes training and patience on both sides, although at times i think a taser gun would be easier and a bit more fun!
The biggest problem with paper tickets is that when it's busy things don't always make it on the ticket(coffee,iced tea, dessert etc.)and it takes more time to calculate each ticket as well

joey
 
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Try dealing with servers who actually have a POS and still refuse to give meat temperatures and completely illogical side notes and substitutions. LT LT O on a burger, I give extra lettuce and tomato and it comes back "I wanted light light onions!"
 
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Thank you every one for your replys. All suggestions are of value to my kitchen staff and myself. however, like I said the owners are not willing to change. It appears that I will have to sit down with each server and develop a plan that will benefit both foh and boh. Maybe if the owners see a difference then they may take it a step further. Handwriting and abbreviations ae my major concern because every server does it different everytime. I will develop a universal abbreviation for all menu items that the servers will use and ask them to print as much as possible to eliminate the chicken scatch( I shouodnt be talking). Perhaps I could also develop a number system corresponding to the entrees on the menu. Again thank you to every one all have been a big help.
 
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light light onions lol....

If that burger came back i would fire another one , but the waiter would pay (with money) for that mistake , period. 
 
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One of the most frustrating experiences I've had cooking was getting a new job at this dumpy diner as a short order cook. The waitress gave me chicken scratch where I couldn't even make out one letter, let alone a single word. First day, first order and I'm having to go look for her like some idiot. I quit that job after the first day because the entire operation was ridiculous. I still remember that was the same place that the cook who was training me got an order for sunny side up eggs and cooked it so the whites were completely raw on top and then served it that way. I'm just staring at the plate with my jaw on the floor and telling him that's not how you do it and that I can cook them better. He says "Yes it is how you cook them, that's how they like it!"... A very loose operation with no oversight, obviously. I'm glad I didn't stay more than one day. The chicken scratch continued all day from that waitress and her attitude kept getting worse every time I asked her to write clearly for me so I didn't have to come find her after every order. Even to this day, about 12 years later, I see this place is ALWAYS hiring cooks. I'm surprised they are still in business.  
 
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Tell them""If I can't read them I can't make them''
Well said mate , it's worse down here in Oz as they are all written with an accent and 

                                                                                          !!! uʍop-əpısdn uəʇʇıɹʍ 
 
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 they are all written with an accent and

          !!! uʍop-əpısdn uəʇʇıɹʍ
Wha- Huh?  How'd you do that?  Magic?/img/vbsmilies/smilies/surprised.gif

lol ¡¡ʇı ʇoƃ ı--ʇıɐʍ ɥo
 
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Both of my restaurants operate with hand written checks and have no problem. It is essential that everybody is writing the orders the same way and in sync with the kitchen. Another way to go if the owners don’t want to use a P.O.S. system, would be to use a printed check like they use at ihop, where the menu is actually printed small and categorized on the check, therefore the servers are actually checking off what they want to order checking off meat temps. 
 
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When you talk to the owners about improving the system, swing it in a way that benefits their bottom line. Every server using the same abbreviations on their checks means less mistakes, which means less food waste and more money in their pocket. It also means less wasted time and labor, and shorter wait times for their customers. There's no downside to making an abbreviation cheat sheet. Enforcing it with servers can be difficult, but with the owners behind it, they fall in line eventually. You can sell it to the servers by pointing out less wait time and less mistakes mean a bigger tip for them.  
 
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