So far, we’ve covered multiple roles in a coffee shop environment, including Shop/Floor Manager and Head Baristas. In this article, we’ll look at the role of Kitchen Manager.
Often out of view of customers, and sometimes even staff, the Kitchen Manager is right in the heart of the bustle that is any kitchen in a coffee shop.
It’s worth noting that what’s required of you will vary depending on the venue you’re working in, but the core principles will remain the same. We can’t tell you what it is like in an individual kitchen, but we can give you an insight into some of the things to expect.
As the Kitchen manager, your main role is to ensure the Kitchen is running smoothly, so all food is delivered in a timely and well presented manner. There are of course other duties, but this will be the focus of your time. You may not be a chef, but culinary knowledge and experience is a must. Your other main responsibilities would be:
Organising Kitchen Staff:
This will be your everyday. Whetheryou are an actual chef or simply steering the ship, it’s your role to ensure everything is moving smoothly. Not only will this make the fast paced environment less stressful for your staff, it will ensure efficient and speedy service for customers. This is crucial to the success of any venue. This will also include organising shifts, making rota’s and keeping your team happy and motivated.
Training and Hiring:
As the Kitchen manager, it is your responsibility to train your team and oversee hiring. You will need to interview and select your staff and ensure they receive the necessary training to succeed. The better trained and educated your team is, the better they’ll perform! In terms of hiring, this is an exciting opportunity for you to hand pick the people you’ll spend your day with.
Dealing with suppliers:
In essence, this is stakeholder management. As the kitchen manager, you’re in charge of ensuring the kitchen is fully stocked everyday. This food will come from suppliers, and the relationship you have with them is crucial. Be professional and friendly, these suppliers are key to your business, so you’ll want to ensure you keep them onside.
Menu Development and Food Management:
This is a chance to flex your creative muscles and business smarts. You can present your customers with well made classics or reinvent the culinary wheel – it’s up to you! However, you need to listen to your customers, what is popular and what isn’t. You need to be decisive and make changes where necessary. You also need to be conscious of your budget, and select ingredients you can afford. This isn’t a roadblock, but a chance to be creative. You will also need to ensure these ingredients are fresh and stored correctly in a sanitary fashion.
Budget Management and Cleanliness:
This part of the role may not be glamorous, but it is essential. Spending within your means helps the business stay afloat and profitable. You will also be responsible for ensuring all cleaning and hygiene standards are met. Regular inspections are a reality in a kitchen and failure pass may result in your kitchen being closed.
What to expect
Can you juggle? It’s ok if you can’t, it’s not a required skill. However, working as a kitchen manager is a juggling act. You will likely be overseeing multiple tasks or employees simultaneously, so you need to be able to lead and delegate with confidence. You can’t do it all yourself.
Your environment will also change rapidly. During peak times, things will be moving quickly. Orders will be coming in, prepared and served. Outside of these times, things will go quiet. Find your rhythm, so you can move between these stages comfortably.
You might also know this already, but kitchens get hot. Expect to sweat and be on your feet all day. Ensure you wear appropriate clothing that will allow you to perform your tasks.
Skills and Qualifications
Unlike some other hospitality roles, a kitchen manager is expected to have certain qualifications and experience. This will vary depending on the venue, but here is a list close to what you can expect:
- A bachelor’s degree or Diploma in restaurant management or a certification from culinary school is required. This is a role that requires formal education as there is a lot you need to know.
- A minimum of 3 years experience in a similar role. This position would be a step up from an assistant managers position, not the first step.
- A deep knowledge and understanding of kitchen health and safety regulations is a must.
- Ability to work well in a stressful and fast-paced environment and adapt on the go.
- Strong problem-solving and conflict management abilities.
- Excellent organisational and communication skills.