Keeping Cooks in the Kitchen

Keeping Cooks in the Kitchen


According to a survey by 7shifts, the average tenure of a restaurant employee is under 60 days. Great foodservice chains may utilize replicable processes that are easy to teach but replacing the cooks recreating your signature dishes every few weeks isn’t good for brand standards. Although increasing pay helps, research indicates that improving the physical environment kitchen employees work in enhances employee retention. Consider these three ways to improve the food prep and cooking experience for your restaurant teams.

Keep It Cool

California’s June passage of a “heat-illness” standard mandates that if restaurant kitchen temperatures rise above 82 degrees, measures must be put in place that will basically require cooks to - well -  stop cooking. While taking workers off the line during lunch-rush may be costly for your restaurant system, the standard underscores the need for operators everywhere to address high kitchen temperatures. The good news is that a knowledgeable foodservice consultant will be able to specify solutions that give your employees and labor costs the heat relief they both need.

The most efficient and effective means of lowering back of house temperature is to provide conditioned make-up air through kitchen ventilation. Building HVAC in strip malls and other typical build-out locations are not designed and, often, not capable of meeting the cooling requirements needed to create comfortable cook-line environments. A knowledgeable foodservice consultant or equipment specialist can guide operators through the process of retrofitting existing kitchen ventilation systems (hoods) or constructing new restaurants that incorporate air-conditioning throughout buildings.

(Don’t) Feel The Burn

Oil burns are the number one cause of restaurant injuries, fryers are the source of burning oil in kitchens, and skilled foodservice equipment experts know what fryer features to specify to keep your chefs and cooks burn-free. An experienced and customer-focused foodservice consultant will first take the time to understand your menu, ingredients and processes. With a comprehensive knowledge of your production needs, the consultant can then modify your existing fry line-up or select new equipment that will both ensure product quality and maximize safety for kitchen employees. 

Often, the changes to processes and with equipment needed to improve fryer safety are not expensive. Making equipment changes to minimize burns can both increase employee retention and lower liability and healthcare costs for your restaurant system.

Reduce, Retain, Then Relax

Exploring ways to make kitchen tasks easier with a foodservice consultant can also reduce overall labor needs while increasing worker longevity. If your back of house specialists are stirring sauces by oar in a kettle, cleaning pots and pans by hand, or performing deadlifts with 60 quart mixers there’s a good chance your restaurant system can reduce labor costs and increase employee satisfaction by adding and reconfiguring equipment and processes. With back of house changes in place, you can expect to see profit margins rise and have to spend less energy on finding new employees.

When keeping cooks in the kitchen is your goal, improving working conditions for your employees will keep those orders coming and profits soaring.