Running an Aged Care kitchen can be a complex process. In addition to planning menus that must tick many boxes, keeping your multiple stakeholders - residents, families, dieticians, facility management, accreditation authorities, etc. - happy, and managing budgets as well as preparing meals, Chefs have to also hire, manage, motivate and train staff.
Put safety first
Your staff need to know their safety is your priority. Make sure each new team member receives a formal induction into the procedures and safety standards of your kitchen.
Offer regular training updates and place posters to remind your staff of the steps they must take to prevent burns, cuts and falls.
A smooth kitchen is one where everyone knows what is expected of them and where there are set procedures for even small tasks.
Make this easy with laminated lists and documents outlining the best practices for your operation. This includes the preparation of standard dishes as well as the clean-up procedures for the end of the day.
Make shift management easy
Nowadays there are a number of shift management apps and software systems to help organise staff.
Programs like Shiftboard, Humanity and When I Work are cloud based, meaning they can be logged into from any screen with an internet connection. You can use them to create a roster and set them up to notify your staff when they have a shift coming up. These systems allow staff to swap shifts amongst themselves or put their hand up when there is an extra day’s work available.
If you are short on staff, instead of putting pressure on everyone else, use a platform like OneShift or Sidekicker to find someone who is available to work at short notice. These services review candidates in advance so you know you will be getting a reliable worker.
Kitchen work can feel repetitive so it is important to make it rewarding. Offering simple things like staff member of the week or month awards can break up the work routine. Rewards can be as simple as tickets to the movies or an early finishing time.
Encourage your staff to nominate who is most deserving of recognition as a way of fostering good team work.
Be a role model
As with every management role, the best approach is to lead by example with a positive, friendly and hard-working attitude.