Digitizing Kitchens Saves Lives
February 7, 2023
If You Can’t Stand the Heat…
Welcome to your first job as a minimum-wage prep chef. You’re jittery, but looking forward to this being the first in a line of many stepping stones that define your long and fruitful career.
This kitchen is sweltering, cramped, a little tense, and all of your coworkers are worried about the ever-present possibility of losing their jobs. You know you’ve got a target on your back — after all, you’re only here because someone else got fired or quit. That feeling is compounded by the owner’s griping about operating at a loss for the third week in a row.
As you secure your apron and take a look at your list of actionable items for the day, your eyes go wide. There’s a lot more math involved in cooking than you realized.
Someone just told you to “chop 200 pounds of onions,” but no one clued you in on how many you’d need to start with to land at 200 pounds after accounting for trim waste. All you know is that if you don’t do what you’ve been asked to do exactly right, you’ll be fired… and good luck getting your next job with a bad recommendation looming over you. No pressure, right?
“Sink or swim” is no way to live, that’s why Galley is unflinching in our determination to offer a software solution to a problem no one seems willing to address. We want to modernize kitchens, maximize employees’ skill thresholds, and improve the quality of life of kitchen staff all over the world.
In a hot, tiring, and often monotonous environment, human errors are inevitable, even for star employees and super geniuses. The trick is to acknowledge errors, then create systems that circumvent them.)
One Example, Infinite Implications
Those of you who know me have probably heard me speak at length about the concept of “the flywheel.” For the uninitiated, a flywheel is a mechanism that uses forces in its own motion to gain momentum and keep itself spinning after it’s been activated.
In business, this principle applies when one small action affects such positive change that it snowballs into momentum for a company. This momentum makes it look like the operation is drawing customers and expanding its reach automatically when that growth only arrived as the result of the initial good decision that kicked it all off.
With that in mind, the opposite can be true, too. This is what I like to call the “Negative Vortex” effect… or when one bad decision inspires a domino effect of other bad decisions that ultimately lead to a company’s failure.
This isn’t a problem unique to any one kitchen, it’s a pattern I’ve seen play out ad nauseam with every team whose logistics were based on outmoded inventory methods. And if you think it only affects employees, you’re wrong — its impact always finds its way back to diners, as well.
The Negative Vortex: How Bad Decisions Compound
It’s a bold statement, but reliance on “old school” kitchen logistics is dismantling everyone’s quality of life brick by brick. Let’s take a look.
Let’s say a member of the kitchen staff is tasked with ordering onions. They have to decide how many onions to order for a number of different recipes, and have to take into account things like menu specials and seasonality of produce.
Our hypothetical employee doesn’t know that tomorrow’s special calls for 200 pounds of onions. They wing it and only order 170. The next day, the head chef has no choice but to use the paltry 170 pounds of onions that they have on hand. As a result, the special doesn’t taste as it was designed to. The quality of the product has been impacted for the consumer. The owner will eventually feel this in the company’s bottom line.
Alternatively, the employee might order 250 pounds of onions just to be safe. This leads to 50 pounds of food waste — 50 pounds of extra cost. A whole set of expenses get added to operating costs because one employee didn’t have a tool to consult, a single place to go for information. A source of truth. There’s no way to be sure how many onions are in the fridge, and cross-check that number to what recipes are coming up in the rotation, and get an exact number of what’s needed.
Asking kitchen staff to constantly bear the burden of these daily micro-decisions will lead to stress and burnout. Not to mention, when an owner feels the pain of operating at a loss for weeks on end, they begin to assess which costs are worth cutting.
First on the chopping block are usually expendable employees — people who didn’t hit the performance benchmarks that were expected of them. This could be a younger person with an entire career ahead of them, an older person who couldn’t hang with the breakneck pace, or someone in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That’s a surefire formula for animosity and needless competition among any kitchen staff. It breeds resentment, discourages coworkers from helping one another, and reinforces an “us versus them” mentality that does no favors for morale. In terms of quality of life, it’s no coincidence that kitchen staffers have a higher proclivity for tobacco, drug, and alcohol abuse — all things that can disrupt or shorten lifespan.
If the cash hemorrhage isn’t fixed after every eligible employee has been canned, the next thing to be rolled back is the quality of ingredients. That’s where patrons continue to be affected by the effects of the Negative Vortex. Cheaper ingredients mean less nutritional content, more filler components, and a little more leniency in determining when that turnip went bad.
You’ve seen the Negative Vortex in action anytime you’ve watched a restaurant, catering company, food truck, or other service-related establishment suffer from a slowly eroding reputation in the form of fewer customers.
Too many bad weeks later and that owner is going to have to shut down, ending a slew of careers, legacies, and livelihoods for all involved.
No onion is worth this much anxiety.
Galley’s Here to Help
With Galley, we eliminate the guesswork of kitchen logistics by providing a software-based solution to traditionally analog decision-making.
By leaning on Galley to be the source of truth for the necessary equations, techniques, and recipes kitchen staff needs to do their job properly, they’ll know exactly how many onions they need for the week — no guesswork or food waste, here. Could bring a tear to your eye (or maybe that’s just the onions.)
By alleviating small pressures here and there, we intend to create an industry-wide flywheel for the culinary world. When an entry-level employee is confident in their ability to handle a task, the ripple is felt far and wide.
Whichever employee is tasked with placing orders will be pleased to know that they will never again have to over-order to account for food waste. Chefs can operate more freely knowing they don’t have to step down to train their staff to get them what they need. Owners can rest easy knowing they’re maximizing revenue.
A happy kitchen means a higher quality of ingredients for customers, better execution of dishes, and an all-around more pleasant atmosphere.
Cooking Up a Better Future
At Galley, we’re itching to kick off a flywheel effect of increased profit margins, elimination of stress in the kitchen, efficiency that doesn’t come at the cost of overloading individual employees, and a shift from fear to fulfillment that encourages growth in our sector.
While Galley Solutions is a data-driven answer to clearing up the chaotic logistics of running a kitchen, our true aim is to improve lives. Rather than transfer knowledge person-to-person, Galley allows employees to transfer their knowledge person-to-system. That system then layers on additional knowledge and value to that information, helping the organization become more effective.
Food tastes better when whoever prepared it is passionate about what they do, and everyone deserves to work a job they love.
Are you ready to reimagine the future of culinary operating systems?
Minimize Human Errors in Your Kitchen With Galley
Galley Solutions is a modern culinary operating system for food brands that want to outsmart the human errors around planning and producing food.
Inventory, purchasing, menu planning, recipe costing, production plans, instant recipe scaling—with all of your food data in one centralized place, it’s easy for kitchen teams to instantly scale recipes and batch cook accurately, with less waste.
Not to mention the back-office efficiency gains from having all that data connected and being able to spot and plug leaky buckets at the costing and planning stages.
Want to see how Galley can help you run your business with fewer errors and greater efficiency? Reach out for a demo today.
What’s a Rich Text element?
The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.
Static and dynamic content editing
A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!
How to customize formatting for each rich text
Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.