Cafe restaurant systems and procedures should provide a comfortable and enjoyable experience for customers in the restaurant, or the front of the house, and they also should ensure that the kitchen, or back of the house, operates efficiently enough for customers to receive appealing food in a timely fashion. In addition, there should be systems and procedures in place for enabling the front of the house to communicate effectively with the back of the house in order to provide patrons with an optimum dining experience.
Front of the House
Front of the house systems and procedures for a cafe restaurant should create an appealing ambiance and take care of customers' needs. A hostess should greet customers as they come in the door and bring them to their table. Table assignments should distribute the available customers evenly among members of the wait staff in order to keep workloads manageable and ensure customers receive their food in a timely fashion. Wait staff should greet customers and take drink and appetizer orders soon after they are seated, and the bus staff should fill water glasses. Wait staff should take entree orders after delivering drinks, and they should take dessert orders after clearing away the dishes from the entrees. The bus staff should assist with keeping eating areas clean and cleared between courses and between customers.
Back of the House
Back of the house systems and procedures for a cafe restaurant involve getting quality food to customers in an efficient manner. Different kitchen staff should be assigned to produce different types of menu items, such as salads, entrees or desserts. Whenever possible, ingredients should be prepped in advance and should be accessible at each employee's workstation. Stock should be conscientiously rotated both at individual workstations and in storage areas. Daily specials should make creative use of surplus ingredients. Workstations should be kept clean and safe, and employees should follow daily and weekly cleaning schedules.
Interaction between Front and Back
A cafe restaurant should have systems and procedures for communicating customer orders to the cooks who will fill those orders. This system can be a computerized network, or it can be as simple as physically delivering a handwritten ticket. A successful system should present orders to the kitchen staff sequentially so customers receive their food according to when they place their orders and so diners at the same table receive their food at the same time. Serving staff should have a thorough knowledge of the menu and the daily specials; if possible, they should take the time to sample each daily special so they can describe it to customers.
Devra Gartenstein founded her first food business in 1987. In 2013 she transformed her most recent venture, a farmers market concession and catering company, into a worker-owned cooperative. She does one-on-one mentoring and consulting focused on entrepreneurship and practical business skills.