5 Documents You Should Have in Your Restaurant’s Kitchen

chef-kitchen-clipboardRestaurant kitchens are fast-paced work environments, which means things can get pretty hectic. Having all your restaurant’s essential documents readily available ensures that operations run smoothly and safely. So, which documents are most important to have in your kitchen?

1.    Licenses and Permits

The most important documents to keep accessible in your restaurant are your various licenses and permits. Many state governments mandate that a food service license and sellers permit remain visible in the restaurant. Additionally, most states require that employees have food handler permits, which should be kept on file in the restaurant. If you aren’t sure about what license and permits you need to have, check with your local or state health department.

2.    Employee Handbook

Employee handbooks shouldn’t just be distributed when you hire new employees. Having an employee handbook nearby can aid your employees with any questions they might have about standard operating procedures, job descriptions, or dress codes. This establishes clear expectations for both kitchen managers and employees.

3.    Daily Operations Checklists

Daily checklists for all operations in the kitchen help to ensure consistency and efficiency in your restaurant. These are particularly important when training new employees. Providing daily checklists for the opening, midday, and closing employee shifts establishes standardized tasks such as cleaning restaurant equipment or food prepping. Written procedures and tasks will regulate the experience for your employees and customers.

4.    Restaurant Equipment Manuals/How-to Guides

It’s tempting to hide away restaurant equipment manuals in a drawer somewhere out of the way, but keeping those manuals readily available and visible should be key to running your kitchen. How-to guides help train new employees on using and cleaning the equipment. If a piece of equipment breaks, the productivity of the kitchen slows down or stops completely, so locating the manual or how-to guide quickly can be essential to keep things running smoothly.

5.    Inventory Forms

Do you know how many dollars your kitchen throws into the trash each year? Food waste and spoilage are common “hidden” restaurant costs that can decrease profits. Therefore, managing your inventory correctly and frequently becomes essential to maximize the money you spend. In order to efficiently and consistently conduct inventory, here are a few tips:

•    Assign the same team to handle inventory
•    Establish the frequency of conducting inventory
•    Categorize inventory forms in the order products appear on the shelves


Want more tips for operating efficiently in your kitchen?  What’s Cooking is happy to oblige.  Check out these posts for our best restaurant industry tips:

•   How to Save Energy in the Kitchen
•   How to Take Food Inventory Faster
•   How to Make an Inventory Form for Easier Ordering

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