Sidework: why it’s important to your restaurant’s bottom line

Restaurant employee completing sidework, which in this case is dish washing.

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Sidework includes tasks such as dishwashing, cleaning, preparing food, and other duties that help to keep the restaurant running smoothly. No matter how talented a restaurant’s chefs, if the kitchen is a mess, the food will be, too.

Below, we explain the role of sidework, benefits for employees, and tips for completing tasks quickly and efficiently.

What is sidework?

The term “sidework” refers to all the tasks that need to be done in a restaurant to keep it running smoothly. This includes dishwashing, cleaning, preparing food, and other duties.

Sidework example. A restaurant worker prepping ingredients at a tray with spices and condiments.
Sidework includes prepping ingredients and condiments for tables spaced throughout the restaurant.

Why is sidework so important to a restaurant’s success?

First and foremost, it keeps the kitchen clean and organized. A neat kitchen equals an efficient kitchen, which means that food can be prepared more quickly and served hot and fresh to customers.

More importantly, sidework helps to prevent cross-contamination of food. This is a critical consideration in any restaurant, but it’s especially important in restaurants that serve food that is cooked to order. If food is not prepared properly, it can cause foodborne illness, which can ruin a restaurant’s reputation.

Finally, sidework helps to control food costs. Wasted food drives up the cost of ingredients and ultimately affects the bottom line. By keeping the kitchen well-organized, sidework helps ensure that food is used efficiently and that waste is minimized.

The benefits of sidework for employees

Sidework is an important part of any restaurant’s success, but it also provides several benefits for employees. First and foremost, because it keeps the kitchen clean and organized, it makes the work environment safer and more pleasant for employees.

Two chefs sorting out the organization of a kitchen.

In addition, sidework can help employees to develop a sense of pride in their work and the restaurant. When done well, it shows in the quality of the food and the overall appearance of the guest area. This can boost morale among employees and create a more positive work environment.

Finally, sidework provides employees with a chance to learn new skills and to take on additional responsibility. By taking on these tasks, employees can develop new skills that will be helpful in their future career development.

Thus, sidework can provide opportunities for employees to assume more responsibility, practice qualities essential to good leadership, and learn about other aspects of the restaurant business.

5 Tips for completing sidework quickly and efficiently

Here are several tips that can help employees to complete sidework quickly and efficiently. Use these tips to coach your team and prepare them for success:

  1. First, always work as a team and make sure that everyone knows what needs to be done.
  2. Second, try to keep work areas organized and tidy at all times. This will make it easier to find what you need and to work quickly.
  3. Third, always use the proper tools and equipment when completing sidework. This will help to prevent wasted time and effort.
  4. Fourth, always follow the established procedures for completing tasks. This will ensure quality and food safety.
  5. Finally, be patient and thorough when completing sidework tasks. Rushing through them will only lead to mistakes.

By following these tips, employees can complete sidework quickly and efficiently, without sacrificing quality or safety.

How to balance sidework with other responsibilities

Sidework can be a challenging but important part of any restaurant job. It can be difficult for employees to balance sidework with other responsibilities, such as manning the cashier station or waiting tables during a lunch rush.

However, with a little bit of planning and organization, it is certainly possible.

A chef adding salsa to a pot with many other cooking pots in the foreground.
  • The first step is to create a schedule that allows employees enough time to complete assigned tasks. If you work in a tip credit state, make sure you’re following the recommendations in our article on the 80/20 tip credit rule.
  • It’s also important to be efficient when completing sidework, so try to coach employees to work quickly without sacrificing quality or safety.
  • Also, try to plan ahead so that employees can complete as many tasks as possible before the doors open to customers. This will reduce the amount of sidework that needs to be done during the shift.
  • And lastly, encourage team members to ask for help if needed. Restaurant work can be demanding, but with a little bit of effort and teamwork, it is possible to balance all the responsibilities.

How task management software can help

Task management software can be a valuable tool for employees who need to balance sidework with other responsibilities. It can help to organize and prioritize tasks, so that employees can stay on track and complete all of their assigned work.

In addition, task management software can help to track progress and ensure that the team members meet deadlines. This can be especially helpful when multiple tasks need to be completed at the same time.

Line cooks prepping food on a grill behind a protective window.

Task management tools can also be helpful in tracking employee performance. By seeing what tasks have been completed and what still needs to be done, employers can get a better understanding of an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. They can then assign future tasks accordingly.

Overall, task management software is a powerful tool that can help employees to manage their workload more effectively. With its many benefits, it is definitely worth considering for any business owner or manager.

The bottom line: sidework is essential to a well-run restaurant

In short, sidework may not be the most glamorous part of working in a restaurant, but it’s essential to the success of the business. It helps to keep the kitchen clean and organized, prevents cross-contamination of food, and controls food costs.

A clean, well-organized kitchen is necessary for preparing delicious food, and sidework is what keeps the kitchen running like a well-oiled machine.

When everyone does their part in keeping the restaurant running smoothly, the employees, customers, and the business itself reaps the benefits. Task management software can help by organizing and prioritizing tasks, so that you can focus on what’s most important.

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