How to Use Kitchen Reports to Run an Efficient Restaurant Kitchen

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Start asking the right questions about your kitchen efficiency. To make the most of your restaurants, tap into these reports and take the best course of action.

It's not uncommon for a kitchen to be completely chaotic. With so much going on in a restaurant, it can be difficult to measure the efficiency of your kitchen operations and staff, and even harder to implement changes to the way your kitchen is run.

Kitchen reports, derived from a modern restaurant POS system, make it simple for restaurant owners and managers to answer important questions regarding their kitchen efficiency. 

Let's take a look at five questions you can now answer thanks to kitchen reports. 

1) Are You Staffed At the Right Times?

By tracking the number of tickets fulfilled per hour on your kitchen display system, you can determine when your restaurant consistently experiences rushes, and when things are moving a little slower.

restaurant kitchen
This kitchen report shows that the restaurant is busiest between 5-6pm. You can use this information to ensure you’re always staffed appropriately during the dinner rush, either by hiring more staff or by moving staff from the slower part of the day onto a later shift. This way, you end up with a highly efficient kitchen every shift.

2) Is Your Kitchen Running Fast Enough?

Even if you staff up during the busiest parts of the day, you may need to dig a little deeper to determine whether your kitchen is able to keep up with the extra demand. 

By tracking your average fulfillment time by hour of the day, you can extrapolate whether you have enough hands on deck to keep your customers smiling, or if there are a lot of hungry customers waiting for their food because the kitchen is backed up.

efficient kitchen

The report above shows that your kitchen has fairly consistent fulfillment times all day, but that is takes about four times as long to fulfill an order around 10pm. This may be a sign your kitchen is understaffed for that unexpected late night rush that’s been hitting your restaurant as of late.

3) Is Food Being Delivered Fresh?

We’ve all experienced that disappointing moment; You finally get your plate and hungrily dig into your food, only to burn your tongue biting into a potato, and find that your steak and asparagus have gone cold. 

By tracking prep time by station, your expo will know which items to fire first and which to hold until the end, ensuring that every guest at the table receives their food prepared the way the chef intended for them to enjoy it.

The following report shows that soups take less than two minutes to reheat and ladle into a bowl.

restaurant kitchen

Grill items, on the other hand, consistently take 15 or more to fulfill.

kitchen efficiency

If you want to please both the guest that ordered a clam chowder, and his friend who ordered the grilled chicken sandwich, the expo can hold the chowder for 13 minutes after he fires the sandwich, and then fire the soup when there’s two minutes left on the clock.

4) Do Your Guests Have the Right Expectations?

The menu at Boston’s popular tapas restaurant, Barcelona Wine Bar, notes that the paella takes 25 minutes to prepare. This smart decision gives hungry or rushed customers a heads up so that they know to pick a different option.

By digging into your fulfillment times by prep station, you can identify the outliers on your menu that take the longest to prepare, and then make sure your guests are happily settled in for the wait, rather than tracking down their server to ask when their food will be ready.

5) Who Are Your Best Managers?

When your kitchen managers log into the KDS at the beginning of their shift, you'll be able to see how smoothly service goes when they take the reins. Prep times for all items prepared during their shift will be attributed to them in your reporting, so you can average out fulfillment times when each manager is in control of service, then compare across your staff to identify your most successful managers.

Managers with the fastest fulfillment times have a solid command of the kitchen, and are likely jumping in to help run food when the kitchen gets backed up; managers with slower-than-average fulfillment times may need a little extra training. Use this reporting to help all of your managers kick it into gear by giving the most efficient manager a bonus, and incentivize every manager to be a team player since they’re now responsible for speed-of-service. 

Increase Kitchen Efficiency and Insight

A modern POS, integrated with a kitchen display system, provides restaurant leadership with all of the insight they need to run their back of house smoothly.

Interested in learning more? Sign up for a free demo of Toast POS and learn how we can make your kitchen more efficient.

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DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and publication does not constitute an endorsement. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this content. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein. It may be advisable for you to consult with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor for advice specific to your situation.