How to Streamline Culinary Operations

M Culinary cross-utilizes ingredients in its chicken slider with buffalo mozzarella and its Caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella.

Four tips for boosting efficiency and maximizing profits

By Michael Stavros, director of business development at M Culinary Concepts –

If you’re in the business of managing a culinary enterprise—whether it’s a restaurant, bar, catering company, convenience store or food truck—it’s essential to ensure all products, operating systems and facilities are optimized. Efficiency is key when it comes to the success of your business.

At M Culinary Concepts, we have helped several companies completely redesign and streamline their culinary programs. Our consulting firm, M Culinary Associates, has worked with a diverse array of clients throughout the United States, including a national hotel chain wanting to revamp their restaurants and banquet services. Working with their architects and engineers, we have redesigned kitchens, bars and FOH spaces, and developed training programs for their F&B teams.

Additionally, we have worked with a convenience store chain in the Mid-Atlantic region to implement a made-to-order and quick-service in-store food operation. We designed and tested our “cockpit kitchen” concept—in which a single culinarian can, at key times, operate the entire kitchen—and supported their development of a culinary training program featuring hands-on instruction.

Our programs have resulted in:

  • Dramatically improved food quality
  • Decreased cost of labor
  • Slashed food costs (from 63% to 32% in one case)
  • Smaller kitchen sizes with reduced construction and equipment costs
  • Effective training systems, instructional videos and step-by-step manuals
  • Happier customers

I know, it might sound too good to be true, but it really isn’t. Following are a few quick tips for developing an efficient culinary concept for your business that will help you make more money, even during the slower seasons.

1. Evaluate Your Ingredients

Take a look at the number of unique products you are using to create menu items, and do your best to decrease it. Cross-utilization allows for a lower number of products/ingredients to make a higher number of quality menu items. Added benefits include lower inventory management costs and smaller storage facility needs.

2. Equip Yourself with the Right Machinery

It’s important to do your research and invest in multi-purpose, quality equipment that can serve several functions to create more space and ease of use.

3. Keep It Simple

In today’s tight labor market, it can be tough to find culinarians with the right experience. Therefore it’s a good idea to create menu items and recipes that can be easily implemented and taught to anyone, regardless of their experience level.

4. Leave Room for Local

On the national spectrum, we always recommend leaving room in the menu for local offerings and flavors. Serving regional cocktails, wines and craft beers, as well as local specialties and ingredients, is very important so things don’t feel too “corporate.”

M Culinary cross-utilizes ingredients in its chicken slider with buffalo mozzarella and its Caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella.

The Takeaway

These four strategies will work together to streamline operations and drive your bottom line. Implementing them will help lead to profitability and brand growth—the ultimate goal of all culinary operations.