Production Planning in a Food Service Establishment
Efficient production of food can be essential to the success of any food service establishment. The ability to accommodate rushes of customers or patrons and eliminate waste and inefficiencies are important considerations in managing supplies and planning food production. The challenges in this industry are great, and understanding weekly sales patterns are essential to handling them. Efficient ordering of supplies, storage, preparation of food, and stellar service are all important ingredients of a successful food service establishment.
One of the most important aspects of production planning in a food service establishment is the management of inventory. Everything needs to be managed so the establishment never runs short on any supplies used to prepare products or provide to customers. On the flip side, proper inventory management also can lead to less waste, fresher ingredients and more sanitary food storage conditions, preventing the waste that occurs when too much food is ordered and is allowed to sit around and go bad.
Using broken equipment can be hazardous as well as inefficient. Making sure all equipment satisfies the requirements of each job, is in proper working order, and is placed in areas where safety is a consideration, is essential towards making the kitchen and establishment safe and efficient. Methods of storing food, in raw forms or as finished products, need to be consistent and up to health department standards, meeting critical temperature and other storage requirements. Label stored food properly, and check temperatures of storage units, soup stations, salad bars and other display equipment.
Ensuring a consistent product can be a battle when staffing levels can't accommodate any rushes or spikes in activity. Staffing becomes very important during lunch or dinner rushes and shifts are never 8 to 5 in variety. Stagger the start times of shifts to ensure down time is minimized. Busy periods need to have maximum coverage, and employees need to have enough hours week to week. Anticipate holidays in advance, know when sales are heaviest, and know the capabilities of staff members in order to make stronger teams. Make sure the best people work when you need them, not necessarily when they want to work.
In the food service industry rushes will happen, but it is how an establishment handles these rushes that can make or break its reputation. During these rushes, product consistency is a primary concern. Cold food or corners that are cut in the kitchen will get noticed and can be far worse to a reputation than customers complaining about waiting too long for food. As important as it can be for the staff to be able to respond to any rushes, it is equally important to spend any downtime to do work that prepares for these surges.