Kitchen Supervisor Job Description
If you’ve ever wondered how a restaurant managed to prepare a delicious meal for you in 15 minutes, chances are a Kitchen Supervisor was at least partially responsible. Kitchen Supervisors oversee all kitchen activities within a food service facility such as a restaurant or cafeteria.
Regardless of whether they work for a Michelin starred restaurant or a traditional diner, the duties of Kitchen Supervisors are fundamentally the same: to enforce rules and regulations, maintain standards and motivate the kitchen staff. Kitchen Supervisors oversee everyone who works in the kitchen except the Chefs, which includes Dishwashers, Line Cooks, Servers and Expeditors. They always work in a food service environment, and typically report to a higher-level member of staff, such as the Executive Chef, Restaurant Owner or General Manager.
Kitchen Supervisor Duties and Responsibilities
In order to keep the kitchen in their care running smoothly, safely and legally, Kitchen Supervisors perform a wide array of tasks. We analyzed several online job postings to identify these duties and responsibilities.
Since health codes directly affect the wellbeing of both staff and customers, this is arguably the most important part of a Kitchen Supervisor’s job. Kitchen Supervisors must monitor their kitchen’s adherence to health codes multiple times a day, and must keep an eye of food storage, food holding temperatures, surfaces, hand washing facilities and more. If and when they find an infraction, it’s up to them to correct it as quickly as possible.
Every kitchen has the potential to run like a well-oiled machine, but it takes a lot of work to get there. That’s why the Kitchen Supervisor needs to dedicate a considerable amount of time to overseeing the activities of all staff members. Doing so involves evaluating individual performance as well as overall group cooperation. Any failure to perform tasks, obey health codes or operate as a time should be met with an appropriate response, whether that means a pep talk or a reprimand.
In addition to the people in the kitchen, Kitchen Supervisors also have to keep track of the food in the kitchen. Having too much or too little of any food item will result in negative consequences for the restaurant as a whole. Because of this, it’s essential that Kitchen Supervisors make informed purchasing decisions, organize and label everything in the inventory and oversee both incoming and outgoing shipments.
Train New Staff
Whenever a new Server, Cook or Kitchen Steward is hired, it falls to the Kitchen Supervisor to train the new employee until they are ready to begin working with the rest of the staff. Doing so requires the Kitchen Steward to motivate and help the new employee while simultaneously making sure that they understand the correct way of going about their daily tasks.
Conduct Performance Reviews
Since Kitchen Supervisors see every kitchen worker’s strengths and weaknesses in person on a daily basis, they will often be required to draw up a performance review for each employee. In a similar vein, Kitchen Supervisors are also responsible for hiring and firing employees when necessary.
Kitchen Supervisor Skills
Kitchen Supervisors are often gregarious, detail-ordered individuals with a seemingly endless supply of energy and patience. They are just as adept at managing inventory as they are at coaching kitchen staff, and they tend to perform very well under pressure. In addition to these general skills and personality traits, employers are looking for Kitchen Supervisors with the following skills:
- Attention to Detail - When the temperature of a bowl of water can mean the difference between a successful dinner service and a health code violation, it’s essential that Kitchen Supervisors have an extremely keen attention to detail.
- High Energy - There are few work environments which are as fast paced as that of a kitchen, so Kitchen Supervisors need to be able to stand, walk and talk for hours at a time without getting overwhelmed.
- Ability to Multitask - Since any restaurant kitchen will always have multiple things happening inside it at the same time, Kitchen Supervisors must be great multitaskers who aren’t easily flustered or confused.
- Communication Skills - Without superb communication skills, Kitchen Supervisors would be unable to train staff, correct mistakes, keep tabs on kitchen activities, ensure quality or adequately perform just about any other aspect of their job.
- Cooking - Unlike a General Manager, Kitchen Supervisors are directly involved in food preparation. Because of this, employers require Kitchen Supervisors to have cooking experience, be able to follow recipes and know how to prepare various types of food.
Kitchen Supervisor Salary
According to findings published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Food Service Managers, which includes Kitchen Supervisors, make a median salary of $48,690 per year. The lowest ten percent earn $28,780 per year or less, while the highest ten percent earn $83,010 per year or more. Kitchen Supervisors in Rhode Island, New Jersey and Delaware enjoy the highest median wage in the United States, making $69,300, $68,400 and $62,300 per year, respectively.
Kitchen Supervisor Tools of the Trade
In order to accomplish their daily goals, Kitchen Supervisors use a variety of tools. If you’re planning on pursuing a career as a Kitchen Supervisor, you should be familiar with the following:
POS System - Many restaurants use a digital POS system to track orders, payments and customers.
Culinary Equipment - Kitchen Supervisors are surrounded by hot stoves, fryers, dishwashers and ovens on a regular basis, so they must know how to use all types of culinary equipment properly and safely.
Culinary Tools - Kitchen Supervisors need to know how to use knives, pots, pans, meat thermometers and many other culinary tools.
Computer Software - To keep track of payroll, inventory, expenses and more, Kitchen Supervisors use different types of computer software such as Microsoft Excel, QuickBooks and Fishbowl.
Additional Kitchen Supervisor Resources
We put together the following list of resources to help you keep exploring your career as a Kitchen Supervisor.
Restaurant Business Magazine – Visit this website for a wealth of valuable insights, trends, reports and news.
The Restaurant Expert Blog – This regularly updated blog contains in-depth advice on budget strategies, management techniques, POS systems and more.
The Tip Jar – GrubHub’s blog, The Tip Jar, is an unexpectedly useful source of tips and tricks for Kitchen Supervisors and other restaurant workers.
National Restaurant Association – The NRA provides its members with legislative advocacy, webinars, an annual conference, newsletters, research and a career center.
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