Every good chef knows the value of a kitchen prep list, but not every restaurant manager knows what one is, or how to make one. This begs the question, "How do you make a prep list?" or even better, “Is there a blank kitchen prep list template you can use to make things easier?”
Well, there sure is! But let’s review what a kitchen prep list is before learning how to make one yourself.
First Off: What a Kitchen Prep List is Not
A kitchen prep list is not a to-do list for the front of house staff. It's not anything hosts, servers, or bartenders need to worry about. While it is important for condiment containers to be full, napkins to be stocked, and so on, that's not what a kitchen prep list is about. Silverware, tablecloths, seating arrangements… those are matters for the front of house staff, who should be double-checking their restaurant checklist.
So, What is the Purpose of a Kitchen Prep List?
If it's not a checklist for the restaurant as a whole, then what is the purpose of a prep list for the kitchen? That's easy: It's a checklist for the back of house staff to ensure that the kitchen is prepared with the proper ingredients for the day.
A dining area can open and operate with the help of a restaurant checklist. But, without the back of house team ensuring the kitchen prep list is in stock and prepped for the day, you’re going to run into trouble.
Why a Kitchen Prep List is Important
A restaurant won't be able to operate for very long if the kitchen prep list is ignored. Why? Customers are visiting your restaurant for a specific reason—they want what you serve! Guests expect to be able to order and be served the items advertised on your menu in a consistent manner.
A kitchen prep list displays all of the food on the menu, and all of the ingredients necessary to make those meals happen. Furthermore, a kitchen prep list shows the quantity of ingredients needed for various menu items.
With this list in hand and prominently displayed at a particular kitchen station, the chef or cook at that station can know they have everything they need to make whatever may be ordered that day. And, if another chef has to temporarily take over duties at that kitchen station, they too can be sure all needed ingredients are there.
By checking the kitchen prep list, a restaurant manager can also better manage food supplies and inventory. If a particular day is usually slow, potential food waste can be minimized by checking the prep list so only the par, or needed quantity of ingredients, likely to be used is prepped.
Similarly, what if a particular day or week is known for being busier than normal? If certain meals are more popular than others? A kitchen prep list can account for that too, and ensure that a chef stays on par with the ingredients needed to prepare all the meals for a particular station.
The Ideal Kitchen Prep List Template
What should a kitchen prep list include? How do you make a kitchen prep list? The ideal kitchen prep list template should provide the ability to list and keep track of a variety of things, like so:
1. Date/Day (useful for keeping track of specials and forecasting anticipated business)
2. Name (chef/preparer's name)
3. Station (griddle, salad-prep, pizza, etc.)
4. Food Items (whatever needs to be prepped at that station)
5. On Hand (quantities of already-prepped items)
6. Par (quantity needed for each item)
7. Need (how much should be prepped to be on par)
An Example Kitchen Prep List Template
Usually, a kitchen prep list template will appear in the form of an Excel file.
Following the kitchen prep list template above, we can put in the Day (Monday), the Name (Alfredo), the Station (Grill), the Items (Salmon, Steaks, Grilled Veggies), the On Hand (this will change as items are prepped), the Par (pre-filled out in two columns, split up into slow times and busy), and the Need (subtract On Hand from Par to get this)
Voila! There's your kitchen prep list template, ready for action!
Download our pre-made template for free here!
Let Qwick Be Your Staffing Template
With the help of a kitchen prep list template, your BOH staff can keep your restaurant kitchen running smoothly. What's more, a restaurant prep sheet like this can help any kitchen staff you bring in, whether for a night or a season, quickly fill a needed role. How will you fill those shifts? Qwick can help you out!
Qwick is innovating the way the hospitality industry works. With our leading professional platform, you can tap into the best hospitality talent whenever you need helping hands to ensure you're never understaffed. Visit today to see just how Qwick can help with your staffing needs!
Download Our Free Kitchen Prep List