What does the future hold? This is a difficult question to answer but this industry is notorious for change. The advent of technologies, such as the food network that gave the world a peek at what chefs were doing and how they performed their magic and created the first “celebrity chefs”, to yelp which has given the people a voice and power to affect change through review, all the way to present-day where rideshare delivery services have given restaurants the flexibility to maintain clients through a global pandemic. Establishments may change from diners of the 1950s to opulent luxury dining of the 1980s, to the fast-casual revolution of the early 2000s. The industry seems to turn every 10 years. Food tastes change, décor changes, staff changes, but there are some things that will never change. The need for qualified, driven, passionate individuals to run the back will always be in high demand.
Restaurants and food service providers are often forced to throw out unused food. This food may be prepared that has been out of temperature range for too long, be served to guests and uneaten, or stored and unused before its use-by date. Foodservice operations should take a look at their practices to see where they can minimize waste.
Ideas for minimizing food waste in restaurants and food service operations:
- Track food waste of raw and prepared ingredients and adjust orders and/or preparation quantities accordingly
- Offer guests various portion sizes so they can order only as much as they want or need
- Adjust preparation and production practices to minimize food being removed from refrigeration or heated until it is needed to fulfill a guest ticket
In addition to food waste, many foodservice operations could make reductions to their energy and water use. Managers should evaluate their processes and procedures for food preparation, cooking, and cleaning and see where potential reductions could occur. When kitchens are designed or renovated, owners and managers can also consider energy-efficient equipment and kitchen layout to make the operation even more sustainable.
Some back-of-house cost-saving and environmentally-friendly initiatives include:
- Utilize water-saving dishwashing equipment and practices
- Purchase locally sourced ingredients whenever possible
- Utilize energy-efficient tools and equipment
- Utilize an electronic order management system that displays guest tickets to kitchen staff digitally
Learn more in our Energy Considerations section.
Although the requirements of working in a kitchen may preclude individuals with physical disabilities from holding these jobs, there are great opportunities for those with mental disabilities to work in the culinary world. The repetitive nature of many kitchen tasks is well suited to people with certain disabilities. Large restaurants and foodservice providers should be able to make adjustments and accommodations to allow individuals with disabilities to be successful within their operations.
The number of people with allergies and dietary restrictions is growing each year. Though the causes of this increase are debatable, the fact is that foodservice providers need to accommodate these needs to stay in business. By offering a wide variety of foods and the ability to modify dishes, restaurants will attract a wider audience. When developing a menu, restaurants should consider how they will serve guests with the following concerns:
- Vegetarian (No meat)
- Vegan (No items derived from animals)
- Diabetic (Blood sugar regulation issues, Less sugar and carbs)
- Kosher (No pork or shellfish, No meat and dairy together, Meat prepared in a specific manner)
- Halal (No pork, Meat prepared in a specific manner)
- Children (Simple dishes with less spice, Smaller portions)
- Those Allergic or Sensitive to the Big 8 Allergens:
- Tree Nuts
Diversity & Inclusion
The culinary world offers career paths for individuals of any background. Because entry-level kitchen jobs are abundant and require little to no prior training or experience, anyone can get their foot in the door at a local restaurant. Those who begin their career at the bottom can expedite their trajectory by earning a degree or certificate from a local community college or career training center. Although culinary education and industry certification can propel an individual's career, many kitchen managers found their path to leadership by paying their dues and working up the ranks from dishwasher to cook and so on. Although a kitchen staff may include diversity in gender, ethnicity, race, and other factors, there remains room to improve diversity at the management level. Business owners and boards should access what tactics they can take to improve diversity and representation throughout their organization but particularly in leadership roles.