“Today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement.”

This is so right when running a restaurant kitchen!

There are so many things to think about, and you know that once your business hours start, your kitchen can be chaotic.

Particularly in food preparation, your kitchen team needs to dance to the balance of waste and availability. Prepare too much, and you watch your profits go down the drain. Hold back, and you risk your quality of service suffer. 

Complaints can arise when customers are dissatisfied with the unavailability of items or if service is slowed down because there was no prepared item ahead of time. Worst, you can risk serving a dish with an off-quality ingredient due to being prepared too far ahead in advance. 

One tool that can help you streamline your daily preparation before the start of business operation is a Kitchen Daily Prep Sheet. 

This tool will help in : 

Controlling Food Production and Wastage

This list indicates the food items and the required quantities for each kitchen station for that weekday. Or even for multiple numbers of days. It will help your kitchen team create informed decisions on how much prep to do for the day. It can also serve as a production checklist so that the products that are needed are not missed or forgotten. It minimizes waste as a result of producing the wrong quantity.

Maintain Food Consistency

The beauty of a detailed prep list is that it allows your Chef or cook to be precise when he steps into a station. This handily comes when you hire temp Chefs or when you train a new employee. It is easy to ensure consistency of product even when a new pair of hands is onboard. Or when multiple cooks share the same station.

Labour Efficiency

Your prep list help ensures order when your kitchen is crazily chaotic. It lessens the need for your Chef or cook to guess or estimate. They can immediately focus on the task. This is also an excellent tool to keep track of the individual performance of your team. As a result of your evaluation, you can determine if that staff can handle more than one station to maximize your staffing. 

RELATED READ: 5 Key Tips to Portion Control and Protect Your Profit

What is the characteristic of a good prep list?  

Detailed but not complicated. Your kitchen team needs an easy to navigate and follow guide. Remember, you want your team to focus on accomplishing the actual task of food preparation. 

  • Create a prep sheet using a form created in spreadsheet software (i.e. Excel). What’s good now is that many Point of Sales (POS) Systems already integrate a prep list with your kitchen inventory. There are also many free downloadable forms available online. 

Just make sure that the following details are included:

  1. Name of Station 
  2. Items – the items prepped for that said station.
  3. On Hand – the number of prepped items.
  4. Par- the quantity needed per item. It is wise to create columns for slow periods and another for busy periods. Some even do “weekend par” and “weekday par.”  
  5. Need- The amount that must be prepped to meet par. This is the difference when you subtract ON HAND value from par value.
  6. Unit- the unit of measurement including the utensil to be used.
  7. Storage – Where will the prepped items be stored: freezer or shelf? 
  • Once prep work is completed, items and quantities are checked off.

In Summary:

Using your Prep Sheet will help your kitchen team plan efficiently to control food production, which in result, will lessen food waste and control food costs.

Similar to sales forecasting, this document is not something that you set once and then assume that it will serve its purpose for a long time. Your par will change based on many variables, such as seasonality and menu popularity.

That’s it for this week.

As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!

Ciao for now,


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