The battle between the front and back of the house has existed since before the days of Escoffier. Every establishment has the same familiar arguments.
It’s a story as old as time as they say.
The writers at Serviceable have spent decades in the industry as cooks, chefs, and other positions. We’ve seen some outrageous things happen between members of the front and back of the house. And we’ve seen moments of pure joy when both work together like a well-oiled machine.
Today, we’ll focus on the eternal conflict from the Back of the House’s point of view.
You may be asking why does this matter?
Despite the arguments, each side may have about who has the harder job or who is right and wrong, at the end of the day you need each other whether you like it or not.
Teamwork is vital to surviving an overbooked lunch or dinner and to ensuring the guest experience is the best it can possibly be. All of this affects tips and efficiency.
This may sound like common sense, but it’s something both sides need to be constantly reminded of due to the immense pressure during service.
How to work together.
The comradery between front and back is inevitable and encouraged.
But, it’s good practice to avoid some topics, no matter how close your team is. Things you may want to avoid bringing up in conversation are:
- Pay rates.
No cook wants to hear how big of a tip a customer gave you or how much you have made at the end of the shift. It can cause friction, especially if cooks aren’t tipped out nightly or the end of each month.
And it just takes one person to be mad to affect every aspect of service. The line loses its flow, orders get backed up, and you can very quickly be in the weeds.
This scenario could easily be avoided by not talking about money period.
Cooks and chefs have been known to be vicious in their words and tone. Perhaps it’s the type of personality that thrives in the back of the house, perhaps it’s because they don’t have to worry about appearances since they’re not in front of guests.
The lesson is: the back of the house should maintain a calm composure and speaking manner when coordinating with the dining room manager and servers. It’s not always easy but if cooks and chefs develop this skill, it drastically improves ticket times and guest satisfaction, as well as the overall morale of the staff.
Maintaining respect on both sides is also key to an excellent, consistent service. Yelling and shouting out to the cook’s line, “How long on my order?” instead of addressing them in a polite manner will get you nothing but a harsh answer.
That being said, cooks should not be shouting at servers either. There’s no need to yell that orders are in the pickup window at the expo. Cooks or the kitchen manager should know where the expo is at all times or at the least someone should be in the area to communicate to the serving staff.
So the next time you feel anger towards the opposite house just take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Is it worth me contributing to the detriment of the service?”
By all means, at the end of the shift, if you have an issue with another employee then go through the proper channels and express your concerns. Do not confront the other person or freaking out on them. It will not end well for anyone.
Food service is all about teamwork. The stronger the team, the better the service. The weaker the team, the worse service will be.