Create . Cook . Manage
We dedicate our careers to mastering the craft of cooking, focusing on creativity, flavor, and presentation. We spend long hours in hot kitchens, sacrificing personal time to build a reputation and career for ourselves. We take chances and push ourselves and the staff on a daily basis to hone the skills to become better at our art. As one Chef told me, “Food is Love” and without question, food requires great passion and dedication. This same level of dedication needs to be given to managing the operation and our bottom-line. Creativity and quality will bring customers in, but it is how we manage the operation and the numbers that will determine whether or not the doors stay open
Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash
Once Upon a Time.....
There was a time when being a good cook was good enough to get you a job and you could work your way up to becoming the Chef. As the Chef, you were the leader of the kitchen; the expert of all things food. You needed to understand the principles of cooking, be creative and be able to get the food out on time. The rest of the operation was the responsibility of the General Manager or the owner. This meant that the numbers were their problem. Occasionally, you would hear, “the food cost was high this week,” and you would start by looking to see if maybe you forgot to count something on inventory if inventory was done at all. If you didn't hear anything that was a sign you had a good week.
Photo by Bank Phrom on Unsplash
Unfortunately, the culinary market today is far more competitive with the influx of culinary schools and the dreams of becoming the next big celebrity chef. Being a creative cook alone will no longer set you apart from the crowd. Additionally, more and more businesses are looking to maximize their profits which usually starts with a reduction in labor. Sure, a Chef with a great reputation will help bring people in the door, but that is only part of the equation. Sales are only good if there is a flow-through of profit to the bottom line. Meaning, the operation is run efficiently and effectively in a professional manner.
Today’s Chef requires a higher level of skills, training, and knowledge of the business in order to succeed. Businesses are not only looking for creativity and talent but business-savvy leaders that can effectively control cost to maximize profit while leading and developing a team of culinarians. More and more, Chefs are required to be as creative with running the business and controlling costs as they are in writing menus. Today’s Chef needs to be viewed as a business solution and not just a business enhancement.
Photo by Charles Deluvio 🇵🇭🇨🇦 on Unsplash