The Slow Season & A Busy New Year
Sometimes, even though its slow, to keep the cooks busy we’ll cross train them. This get’s them their hours and keeps it fun while mixing up their day. It makes them more valuable to Tiki’s, the more they know, the stronger they get as a team. It’s hard to send home the line cooks as there stations are live until midnight serving our lanai menu. And of course there is the perpetual prepping for the next day. If one particular cook is set up early or I know they were slow yesterday then I’ll give them the nightly special or help them design a special in our style. There isn’t much down time in a busy restaurant like Tiki’s.
Keeping up with daily inventory & ordering requires close attention to usage. We use daily log sheets, kinda like perpetual sheets. We count product in and out. Food deliveries that arrive each day are logged and then subtracted back out as the items are prepped for service. The opening chef fills out the daily prep sheet paring to the current trend in business. So if yesterday we used 15 orders of swordfish & 32 orders of calamari then we par back to that amount so there isn’t an excess prepped for the next day. In the same, the evening chef, when doing the ordering knows, in general the amount of produce & fish that was used throughout the day because of the log sheet. He can easily order just the amount of fresh fish & vegetables we need for the day. The orders for those items are emailed or called in nightly for the following day, this insures freshness for our product. Although possible we don’t “86” or run out of many items (hopefully none) and maintain a constantly turning inventory of fresh ingredients. It’s definitely a task that take a close attention to detail.
Being aware that it’s better to do certain things when we are out of peak season is key. We plan menu changes around these times to give room for unforeseen snafus. It’s also a good time to do repair and maintenance, change out equipment. Like our POS (point of sales) system and new ice machines. Some of our staff takes off but we don’t encourage everyone to go at once, that would be rough. Everyone would like to be off for the holidays but, this is the restaurant business. It will be balls to the wall in a couple of weeks and then nobody’s going anywhere!
As far as the new year, we’ll all be here for the new year, together, busy, cooking and celebrating. All the kitchen staff will most likely be still cooking when the ball drops, being perhaps the busiest night for most restaurants, the veterans expect it. I’ll be here with them, knee deep in it. Our pre fixe menu I’ll cook off of the back line to devry some of the line items and help with the workload, we win together or lose together for that matter. Like most dinner houses throughout Honolulu there will be controlled chaos but thats what keeps you in the business. The sheer adrenaline rush that comes with the holiday dinner rush, we cooks long for it, we live for it, it keeps you young. Perhaps there will be bubbly for them. There will definitely be cold beer at the end of that tunnel.