Kitchen workers reports

Joined Feb 11, 2003
Not a very good "Subject" description. Actually what I'm wanting to know is if there is anyone who might be able to give me an idea on how to formulate a schedule/report that the cooks in the kitchen can be "made to use" for accounting for their work down and also inventory. The situation is this; the restaurant is a "barbeque joint." The workers are to load the wood-fired pit with various ribs, roasts, and chicken product depending on the shift(s). The problem araises when one shift decided that they are "ticked off" at the next shift for not having completed their expected work load the day before. Thus we have a vacious circle of conflicting statements as to who has or has not done whatever. This restaurant is a high volume business that is very dependent upon the various meats to be ready upon demand yet because of the cooking process involved, it isn't something that can be boiled or nuked on the fly. It is my belief that if we were to somehow approach it where this type of report could be viewed by the kitchen staff as a tool for them to keep track of inventory, it would lessen the appearance of what it really is -- a tool to find out if they are doing their work. I might add that this is a single stand-alone restaurant operation with a super cheap owner who is not willing to spend a bunch toward anything, so it is where the hiring of a consultant or bringing in others is not going to fly -- heck, there is one employee who celebrated his 15th year working there who is making only $9.00 per hour (no benies).

Any help would be appreciated.

Bill H
Joined Oct 28, 1999
I am thinking the simple might be better than the complex. How about a 'task list' or 'prep list' (call it whatever) that each shift is assigned. Each respective line worker is to initial when their operation is complete. Leave a space at the bottom for any comments/concerns.
Also, if there is 'in-fighting' between shifts, there is a larger issue with which needs to be addressed. Generally, a staff meeting with someone there to take notes of each shifts gripes and then some constructive results. The notes should be discussed as follow-up material and hold each employee accountable. If a meeting isn't do-able, how about a "night out" and shootin' the sh*t over a couple of drinks. Sometimes, things get resolved that way.
Good luck.
Joined May 26, 2001
I agree 100% with what Jim said, and want to add:

1. There is almost always conflict between the day and the night shifts. BillH, if you're the one in charge overall you have to listen to both, be non-judgmental, and use what you hear to make up the 'task list' or 'prep list' (I used to call them "setup lists" also) for every position.

2. Don't let it become personal. That's why I used the word position instead of person or worker.

3. Don't just give the crews lists of tasks to do and initial and then walk away. You've got to follow up, to "monitor" what they say they've done (and what they've ACTUALLY done, which might not be the same thing :( ). Explain that you're not looking to punish anyone; just that you want them to do what they're supposed to, THE BEST THEY CAN, because if they do, that helps business and everyone who works there.

4. Finally, assuming you are the supervisor, YOU make up the lists after consulting with the workers. That way, you find out what they think their jobs are -- compared to what you KNOW their jobs are -- and you can make sure that no task falls through the cracks.
Joined Oct 13, 2001
Great advice given so far . Keep it simple and dont take it personal . All I can add that I would do is to keep it strictly as a team approach to making the job better for everyone .Look at who is pointing there finger at the other shift and the other co-workers the loudest and you are probably looking at the source of a lot of the restraunts dissention . Either this person , or these individuals can be taught the benifit of playing as a team ie: If the first baseman in baseball always drops the ball when it is thrown to him by his teammates , and then blames them for there bad throws , well who do you think is going to get benched , traded , or in our biz fired ? The team or the first baseman ?
Another factor is that some of these people actualy derive enjoyment out of complaining and causing dissention . In there own way it seems to make them feel better than others and more needed .
Ill be honest , I can not stand these kind of work envirements so I try to put the strong team together quickly and if I do find I need to bench someone or trade them , well I do it for the benifit of the team which in turn lets the team know I am out for the teams best . Be open and honest while being firm but fair and you shall always win . Clear skies , Doug.....................


Joined Jan 20, 2003
I agree with all replies sent. I think Jim
surmised it well, offering a simple straight forward production/prep list may be the answer
if not already in place.
You noted an employee of 15 years, so it's
not a new place and obviously a successful operation on some levels to be around this long. I'm curious of what existing systems of accountability are presently used. Maybe those
can be revisited and reintroduced to your staff
with clearer guidelines and expectations with
regards to production. Without increasing costs
in labor, possibly rework schedules and bring
in the second shift an hour or half hour earlier
to allow for more communication between staff
and placing more ownership on a peer level.
As already noted, one can't communicate enough
to staff, individually and as a group. Sitting
down and having a cup of coffee with that 15 year
old employee and asking her/his opinion of what
they would do to improve their job or the job
place may offer some surprising or needed answers
towards building a stronger foundation in teamwork.
Good luck, ml
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