The organization of restaurants will obviously vary depending on the restaurant to a certain extent. However, the basic organizational structure of restaurant establishment will be at least somewhat consistent between locations. There needs to be a management hierarchy, a restaurant kitchen hierarchy, and front of house hierarchy. These roles might overlap in some cases. During very busy nights, some employees might assume each other’s roles.
However, these basic positions usually need to be in place. Collectively, these individuals are sometimes known as the ‘Brigade de cuisine.’ They work together in order to make sure that all customers have a good time and that the restaurant is still profitable. The restaurant business is one of the toughest businesses around, and it takes a well-ordered and talented Brigade de cuisine to make it work.
Organizational Hierarchy for Restaurant
The head of the management hierarchy is the restaurant manager. In some cases, there might be a co-manager. In the case of family restaurants, people will sometimes see a number of people acting as the restaurant manager collectively. However, the basic position of a restaurant manager always exists.
The restaurant manager performs a number of different tasks, including doing the promotion and marketing for the business, supervising, recruiting, and training the staff, and setting and regulating budgets. They also tend to oversee the kitchen stock levels and order supplies. They handle all of the issues associated with licensing and hygiene. In many cases, restaurant managers are in charge of the menu planning as well. They’re the people who are running these complicated businesses.
The Headwaiter is often considered part of the management hierarchy and works directly under the restaurant manager. The Headwaiter is more often referred to as the maitre’d. The maitre’d job is largely a customer service position, since the maitre’d has to greet and welcome the restaurant customers while directing them to the right table. In many cases, the maitre’d will also handle the incoming restaurant calls. When people make reservations, it’s the maitre’d that records them and handles almost everything to do with the reservations. People in this position will have to decide whether customers can get their preferred tables or the tables that will more efficiently fill the space. The maitre’d handles almost anything to do with customer service.
The very largest restaurants will sometimes have a Group Chef. Despite the name, this is more of a management position than a position that relates to the kitchen itself. Group Chefs won’t do a lot of actual cooking. They’re often in charge of several operations within the restaurant, particularly with regards to kitchen supplies and the relationship between the kitchen and the rest of the business. However, they still spend more time working with the restaurant manager than the rest of the kitchen staff.
Restaurant Kitchen Hierarchy
The executive chef or the Chef de Cuisine is typically the head of the restaurant kitchen hierarchy. The executive chef might actually be the restaurant manager in some cases. However, there are plenty of restaurants where the role of the executive chef and the role of the restaurant manager are completely separate. The executive chef manages and supervises the rest of the kitchen staff. In most cases, the executive chef also works with suppliers and tries to develop strategies to reduce or manage kitchen costs.
The sous chef or the second chef is directly under the executive chef. The duties between the two individuals will tend to overlap. However, the sous chef does more of the actual cooking and supervises the rest of the staff more directly. The sous chef also interfaces with the suppliers and people beyond the pass less frequently. People could think of the second chef as the head cook in many ways.
The remainder of the kitchen hierarchy is made up of line cooks. These people are collectively known as the chef de partie. The line cooks will vary depending on the restaurant. In some cases, there will be just a few on staff. In many cases, there are specialized line cooks who will handle very particular selections of food. There might be a butcher chef, pastry chef, grill chef, vegetable chef, fry chef, pantry chef, and roast chef in some of the largest and the most expensive restaurants.
There will also be a line cook that usually fills in for other people and picks up the slack in some of the other stations. In smaller restaurants, line cooks are usually less specialized and handle almost all of the dishes at some point during their working days. The chef de partie physically cooks all the food. They’re also responsible for keeping their stations clean. In some restaurants, they might do the dishes as well. In larger restaurants, there may be staff members who will clean the kitchen and the dishes specifically.
Front of House Hierarchy
The station headwaiter works under the maitre’d. The station headwaiter helps to supervise the rest of the waiters and wait staff. The waiters themselves are in charge of retrieving the finished food from the kitchen and distributing it to the people who ordered it. Waiters take the orders initially, revise the orders, and update them as needed. They’re also in charge of making sure the customers get what they want and that they feel comfortable. Sometimes, the wait staff will clean the tables after people leave. In some larger restaurants, busboys will specifically clear the tables instead.
In many expensive restaurants, there will be enough of a selection of wines that there will be a head wine waiter and a wine waiter. These individuals will specifically take orders for wine. They’ll also make wine recommendations. In many cases, the wine waiter finds the wine for the restaurant in the first place by going to wine tastings in order to find the best possible products. However, in smaller restaurants, the other wait staff carries on the duties of the wine waiter.
The size of the restaurant and the type of food served will have an effect on the restaurant hierarchical structure. However, there will always be cooks, waiters, and managers. The proverbial restaurant hierarchy chart will only change so much.