One of my goals for this blog is to peel the layers of the onion and unveil some truths about the ins and outs of the restaurant business and the hospitality industry. Albeit, I will never do it justice like Anthony Bourdain does in his legendary book “Kitchen Confidential”. In this edition I will break down the last hour of a closing shift in most commercial kitchens. A sense of ease comes to all when the dinner rush winds down. Cooks start to go for after dinner brakes to ease tension and serving staff starts to dwindle down on by one. In my opinion this the one of the worst hours in cooking altogether.
One big problem with this last hour of business is the closing duties. Managers and restaurant owners are so focused in saving money that they cause their kitchens to under perform and load the remaining cooks with a huge work load. In order to save money managers cut cooks and server shifts. One by one the cooks are sent home leaving behind 1 or 2 to flip the line, wash the dishes and set for the next day, plus they need to be done by the time doors close. All of this is happening while the restaurant is sitting new customers. Most restaurants open their tables when the reservations are over or until is time to close the doors. Here in lays the problem. The kitchen is expected to produce to the current customers and start the closing duties with a diminished crew and no extra time to clean up.
I’d be really weary to enter a middle of the line restaurant in the last hour of service. You will not get the best service, food or attention by your server. The experience will be inadequate at best. Though not every restaurant suffers from this phenomenon most are guilty of cutting short the service and cooking staff in the last hour to save a few dollars. Cooks will curse and say abominable things about you the new customer coming in thinking you still have 45 minutes to eat! BE CAREFUL.
Don’t be fooled by pretty smiles and quick food when adding to the work load of a few disgruntled employees looking to close shop for the night and release stress. Unless you know the establishment really well it’s better get your food delivered or take it to go!
Leave a comment and let us know of any horrible experiences you’ve had while dinning.
- When Anthony Bourdain praises your food, you run with it (theglobeandmail.com)
- [iPhone] Indulge your love of food and celebrity chef culture with Chefs Feed (dottech.org)