Your Chef got sick and can’t come to work.

While I know of some chefs who will still come to work while feeling unwell, this isn’t always the case.

As owners of a food service business, how do you make sure that your kitchen will still be serving the same quality of food? 

The old way of running kitchens is to have a guideline recipe and have the more senior chef or cook teach new cooks. This practice is risky, considering that the reputation of your business is at stake. The quality and amount of information passed on to new kitchen members are affected by how effective the mentor is in passing down tips and tricks.

The solution? 

Standardise your recipes.

The characteristics of a standardised recipe are the following:

  • It includes the following information:

    • Recipe name 
    • Number/Category/Meal Type for easy reference
    • A list of all the recipe ingredients (garnish and spices included) 
    • Description whether the ingredients are frozen, dehydrated or canned
    • The exact quantities of each ingredient 
    • Specific directions for the order of operations, including standard garnish/presentation 
    • Cooking temperatures, cook time, and holding temperatures
    • Steps for assembling ingredients
    • Special diet information (allergens, gluten-free, etc.)
    • Yield in terms of portion size and quantity


  • It is created with your kitchen in mind. It should be tested and evaluated to adapt to your foodservice operation. By testing, I refer to adjusting and evaluating until you reach the desired outcome based on flavour, appearance and texture.
  • Clear, direct and as simplified as possible. Always consider the human factor in your business. Your kitchen staff should be able to easily follow the instructions for them to have a better chance of committing to doing it and doing it efficiently.
  • It is consistently checked and adjusted if needed. Consider adjustments to the recipe if the original recipe is no longer applicable. For example, if the recipe yield is for 100 orders, but the current demand for this recipe has significantly decreased. At the same time, take note if there are frequent leftovers from the diners’ plates.  That is your cue to make adjustments.

Benefits of a standardised recipe:

  1. Consistency in food quality and yield

Menus or recipes that are set and uniformed help ensure that your food business delivers quality and portion CONSISTENTLY. 

  1. Food cost control

Admit it or not, but the majority of business owners consider this is as one of their primary focus. No shame about that. Financial success is a significant factor and motivator to business owners. A wise business owner is savvy with creating budgets and managing operational costs. They know how to move the funds available to them and how to reduce expenses to ensure success. You can check out my previous post for more on this topic.

  1. Improving staff skills and strengthening integrity

When standardised recipes are used, it is easier to measure who among your staff is performing. This is extremely helpful for your kitchen team in achieving mastery and speed. Any person who steps in will be able to replicate an identical dish or at least close to it. 

And then, what happens when the chef or cook takes leave?

One solution is to contact a dependable chef labour agency and seek a temporary chef for hire. If you are based in Perth or anywhere in Western Australia, Anytime Chefs is a reliable agency that can provide you with the right professional temporary staff to get through your volume. And when you do hire a temp chef, your standardised recipes will make their transition to your kitchen smoother and quicker.


Furthermore, if your staff training is thorough and no other factors can account for an item or yield loss, consistently using a standardised recipe can help you identify if there is thieving in your kitchen.

The restaurant industry is notorious for having a rapid staff turnover. Take a look at this article where it is stated that the turnover rate in the restaurants-and-accommodations sector rose to a post-recession high of 74.9 per cent in 2018.

The fast turnover does not provide the chance for an employee to fully integrate with the company values. This may result in a feeling of certain detachment and therefore not caring much for your business.

  1. Because the expected quantity of raw materials to be used is predictable, inventory monitoring becomes easier.

In Summary:

In summary, standard recipes should be a reference for cost control and consistency. Creating a standardized recipe is best done before opening a restaurant business or when including a new recipe in your menu. Review it periodically to determine if it is still effective or not.  But do remember that this is but one of the many factors that can affect your business. The financial success of your business depends on you keeping your overall operational costs in check and this one certainly can contribute to it. 

That’s it for this week.

As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!

Ciao for now,


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