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The culinary underbelly

Make sure you are sending the right message about your restaurant.  Sanitation can be helped with a monthly audit.  Here are a few quick ideas about where to start and what to do. There has been quite a stir over Anthony Bourdain's book, "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly." From gruesome tales of three-foot long parasitic worms in the swordfish, to chefs who routinely stock up for the lean winter months by sneaking product out the back door, the general public now has an ugly view of what goes on behind the scenes in a restaurant. This book aside, food sanitation and safety is on the minds of the American public.

Does your operation send the right message?

  • Is the walk-in sanitary? How about prep stations? Is equipment cleaned and maintained? Would you mind if a guest walked in unannounced and saw the condition of the kitchen? I've seen kitchens that made me proud to be a restaurateur, and ones that made me never want to eat out again.
  • Are your bathrooms immaculate? Immaculate? Yep. What conclusion do your customers draw about your kitchen based on what they see in your bathrooms? Don't skimp here.
  • Do you have an open kitchen? Bravo. It takes guts and discipline to show the world what you're up to behind the line. And even more reason to obsessive about the cleanliness (and professionalism) of your kitchen.
  • Are aprons clean? Gloves worn? Checks and whites in good condition? Is your kitchen staff presentable enough to walk through the dining room and not turn heads? Don't let them out there unless they're a positive reflection of your kitchen.

If you care about the state of your kitchens, and take pride in your restaurant, my toque is off to you. When you're not there, do you have a way to ensure that the your high standards are met? A kitchen audit is a simple and standardized way to make it happen. Peter Drucker says, "If you can measure it, you can manage it."

A complete kitchen audit should cover:

  • Ceilings and Walls
  • Doors
  • Floors
  • Lighting
  • HVAC
  • Ice Machines
  • Server Line / Pickup Counter
  • Salad & Bread Station
  • Steam Table / Cooks' Line
  • Back Line / Prep Station
  • Dish Machine
  • Storerooms
  • Employee Restrooms
  • Attic and Roof
  • Refrigeration

Conduct the audit once a month, and make it your goal to improve your score every time... even if only by one point. Download a ready-to-use 100 point "Kitchen Flash Audit." Or consider our complete Facilities & Sanitation Audit to ensure your entire operation is up to standards.

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