It depends on the venue and the chef. Usually there's station lists, where items can be checked off, quantities of prep on hand noted, and other notes written in as necessary- just to let the next guy on the station know what he has to work with, and where he needs to focus his attention first. Some places don't use those, though, so communication goes from the line cooks to the sous chef/lead cook or whatever, and he goes back to the next crew of line cooks.
Master preplist for the cooks, inspected by myself or the head man. Alot of correspondance between myself & the head guy too as we don't often work together but need to be consistant with our decision making processes.
There's a kitchen dry erase whiteboard that is good for random messages as well. It's definitely NC-17.
Ah yes, as long as their straight and sober haha. I ask because some chefs are now leaning towards Kitchen Pass-Ons, a communication log book that the line cooks (or even Sous Chef) can fill out at the end of service to give a brief shift re-cap. -how did service go - guest concerns-piece of equipment on line acting up - someone didn't show - how did front of the house do - how many covers - 86`d items - They make log books for lines to use, and its great as the Chef to just take a peek at it every morning to see how things are.....
hospitalityconnect.ca has Kitchen Pass-On's, Front of the House Pass-Ons, Manager Pass-Ons and so much more. Kitchen Pass-On's are less than $8 a month and they put your company logo on the front cover (NO CHARGE)
We require an email at the end of each shift which is sent to all key players. It includes covers, good & bad things of the shift, equipment needs, potential problems for the next shift, ordering needs, special directions, etc. This is nice because I can quickly go to the shift log from Thanksgiving last year and see what happened and what to expect this year. I delete most normal business shift logs after a few months, but hang onto the special event/holiday logs.
Also, we use a daily Task List form to detail out daily routines for each station. The sous checks these each day, and there is one created for the sous which the chef checks each day. It's easy to modify, so if something isn't getting done as it should then it goes on the appropriate station's Task List. Now it is both a good reminder, and a document-able form for HR if needed. Here is a link to a kitchen task list which I find useful.
I used a spiral notebook -- classroom type--- to communicate to both servers and cooks, bartenders on a daily basis...anything I wanted them to be aware of, problems, group bitches and group kudos This eliminated a great deal of shift-passing info that never got done. Everyone who worked at the facility was required to check the notebook at the start of each shift, and initial off that they'd read it. They were also allowed to enter pass-on notes of their own . When someone hadnt worked for a few days they had to go back to the entry for last day they signed off, and read & sign everything since.
Worked pretty well, and no excuses that "nobody told me.....". If I left detailed to-do lists/notes for cooks orb banquet staff etc, I did it separately and noted in the book that there was a list for them. Its the old CYA insurance.....put it in writing.
I have used the notebook ide too, but had better luck with the composition style books instead of spiral where the pages are sewn in so no one can rip out a page and claim there were no notes when they got in.
I also have used the book and notes as part of the daily or shift meetings. Currently I also gave each cook a comp book and make them take notes at the daily meeting on each of their areas. It keeps me in line too when they go back and 4 or 5 of them all tell me what I said 4-5 days ago.