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Managing Your Line Cooks: 6 Tips for Restaurant Owners

Line cooks are essential for running a restaurant. They dedicate themselves to one area of your kitchen, allowing them to make the food they create truly shine. But with the unique stresses found in a restaurant, keeping great line cooks can sometimes be a challenge.

Do you need ways to manage your line cooks? Here are 6 tips for restaurant owners to help their kitchens thrive!

Things to Consider 

It’s true — finding reliable help can be tricky. Nearly 50 million people quit their jobs last year in what’s now been called the Great Resignation. Food service was one of the industries that had the most job openings. If you’re sorely in need of good help, it’s essential to find a healthy middle between holding out for the perfect employee and hiring anyone who applies. While you may want someone with experience, think about training someone who shows the enthusiasm to learn.

The same article cited low pay and poor working conditions as some of the reasons employees were leaving their positions en masse. The inflation rate is rising and people need higher wages and better environments to do their best work. Listen to your employees when they come to you. If they aren’t, ask them yourself if there is anything you can do to improve their work experience. People want to feel valued, so make an effort to act on what they’ve told you.

Ceratin industries also experience high rates of addiction and substance abuse. 15% of workers have both used and been impaired by alcohol while at work. Food service is one of the workforces having the highest instances of heavy alcohol use. Long work hours and stressful environments can be significant causes of this. If you suspect an employee may have a problem, talk to them about it. Provide them with resources on how to get help and see if there are changes you can make to improve their situation.

The most important things to employees right now are respect and care. Communicating these to your line cooks will improve their work ethic and increase their longevity in your kitchen.

Tips on Managing Line Cooks 

What are the best ways to encourage enthusiasm from your line cooks? Here are some tips to improve the workplace for their benefit and yours!

Set the Tone In the Beginning

Job listings and interviews are how you and prospective employees get to know each other. A job post that sounds excited and hopeful will encourage more people to apply. Additionally, being honest and communicative in the interview will show them you are a kitchen that values its workers. Remember — they are interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. Fostering a friendly relationship from the start will increase their satisfaction from the get-go.

As mentioned before, you may receive applications from people who are untrained. If you are looking for a specific cook with many years of experience, talking to them might not seem worthwhile. However, consider giving them a chance. Opportunities to grow in the workplace are always motivating, so investing time in training someone could be in your best interest. You’re allowed to be picky but think about interviewing the ones willing to learn.

Provide Benefits 

Restaurants are an important business and you will always need good staff to keep them running. Therefore, it’s important to pay employees what they’re worth and include benefits. This will improve their happiness in their role because they’ll feel respected and valued. A trained, devoted worker is indispensable in any industry. Your line cooks will know you care about them when you provide them with the resources necessary for a successful work-life balance.

This can extend past the traditional medical, dental, vision and 401k benefits as well. Plan some employee outings where you can all have some fun off the clock. Your employees will feel more supported at work if it feels like a family.

Encourage Healthy Habits

The stress of a restaurant can lead to line cooks developing unhealthy coping mechanisms. While it would be difficult to eliminate all stress from a kitchen, you can assist by promoting beneficial habits. Staying hydrated and using breathing techniques can help line cooks have a better work experience. Proper sleep can also endorse better moods, stamina and concentration, so make sure your kitchen staff is getting the best rest they can before their shifts.

Have High Standards

While you do want your line cooks to feel comfortable doing their jobs, you want to encourage them to do their best as well. Having expectations for your staff will help motivate them to produce excellent food consistently. Even when things get busy, they should always focus on precise cooking and presentation. These standards should be both strict and encouraging, driving line cooks to do exceptional work.

Train Across Areas

A 2019 survey showed 90% of employees attested to training and development improving their experience. If your line cooks are willing, consider introducing them to new areas of the kitchen. This can allow them to prepare for different responsibilities like how to train others and what other kitchen equipment they can use. Further development can also improve their confidence and show you’re interested in their growth.

Celebrate Wins

If you’ve reached a quota or received a large amount of positive feedback, make sure your employees know it was because of them. You are all succeeding together because of your continuous effort and passion. When you reward their work, they’ll continue to feel as though all of their endeavors matter — and they do!

Manage Line Cooks to Achieve Restaurant Success

Line cooks are some of the most influential people in the kitchen. However, they can quickly start to feel unmotivated or stressed. Managing them in a way that shows how much they’re worth and what their hard work can accomplish is crucial for retainment and healthy, happy line cooks.

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