Commissary Kitchen Series: Part 2: Increase Your Efficiency

Imagine if you could create delicious, masterpiece menu items with the speed and efficiency of assembly line production. Now, stop imagining – because it’s possible when you use the commissary kitchen model for your restaurant.

When all of your food is made at one location, you create more efficient staffing and production that can improve quality, consistency, and your bottom line. (And, as we discussed in our last commissary post, consistency is a key ingredient to restaurant success.) Instead of a large staff at multiple locations trying to perfect everything at once, you can hire specific people who can specialize and focus on perfecting a signature item. They will become experts at what they do and be able to do it in less time because they are doing it more often – something your customers will most certainly appreciate.

Let’s look at an example.

Say you serve signature bread at four locations that takes one person several hours to make. That person has to measure out the dry ingredients, prepare the yeast mix, knead the dough, let it proof, shape it, and then bake it. They are starting and stopping, and probably getting distracted by all the other demands in the kitchen. That is too many hours a day spent making bread. But, if you utilized a commissary kitchen, you could have one person constantly baking all the bread that is needed for the day, at all your locations – freeing up time for the chef in the restaurant’s kitchen to focus on the main course. By bringing it all together you increase your kitchen’s efficiency and serve a consistently wonderful product to all your customers.

With commissaries, you get more product out of one person in less time. If you sell a lot of something – like signature bread – it makes more sense financially to produce it in mass quantity. You can continue creating that item at a commissary and have it delivered daily or twice daily so it is still fresh – you just need to put it on a plate and walk it out to your customer.

A final consideration is that a more efficient staff doesn’t mean people will lose their jobs. In fact, with a commissary kitchen you can more easily hire specialized employees to create something new. And you still need employees on location to assemble and prep food before it is sent out on a plate. If you operate a grab-and-go, you still need sales people or staff who can handle customized orders and stocking shelves. Another benefit to commissaries is that they actually create less turnover because you are hiring people for a specific role – not expecting them to handle a million different little tasks.