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One of my favorite TV programs from the 50's was Amos and Andy, and the Kingfish was my favorite character. Streetwise, savvy and witty, the Kingfish and the others had some pretty philosophical exchanges.

Once, the Kingfish told Andy that if he was more experienced in the ways of the world, he wouldn't make stupid mistakes. Interested, Andy asked where he got his experience. The Kingfish answered, "By making stupid mistakes."

Many of the systems I use in my restaurants evolved from making stupid or unnecessary mistakes. This is how Kitchen Line Checks came to be. Why serve cold soup, when a simple line check would have detected that the pilot light was out?

Kitchen Line Checks ensure high quality products and performance. At the opening, middle and toward the end of each shift, have your kitchen staff perform line checks. Have the cutting boards been sanitized? Is the plate warmer working? Is the water level correct in steam tables? How about the consistency of the sauces? The list might seem endless, but one missed detail can ruin an otherwise perfect meal. Why risk it?

Develop a well-organized list for food items and equipment, and include spaces for check marks, sign-off's and observations. A downloadable Kitchen Line Check form is attached. I guarantee you'll see improvements immediately. Kitchen-related returns will become practically non-existent, food quality will improve noticeably and customer satisfaction with increase if you implement these simple protocols. When you raise the level of professionalism in your kitchen, you'll raise morale too. After all, your reputation is literally on the line.

See also:
The culinary underbelly
Behind the line

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