Tell the Front!


I have worked in many restaurants where folks in the back-of-the-house have tried to run the floor. From the kitchen. It doesn’t work. There is a reason that those folks are in the back creating, while the others are out front, presenting and selling. It has been set up, and has worked that way for centuries.

They know

The usual problem lies in the fact that those folks in the kitchen do not know what is happening out in the front of the restaurant. The front does. Or at least, should. If they don’t, then it might be time to meet and re-evaluate. Before or after the shift–not during. BUT, that doesn’t mean that things should be managed from the back. If things are not working smoothly in the dining room, it simply means that the front needs to get their act together. But that is a separate issue.

Don’t send out food!

Too many times I have had food handed to me and was told to take it to a specific table. My usual response was, “What the hell is this?” The cooks in the kitchen are not aware that this particular table is working on something, have papers strewn all over the table, and have asked to be left alone for a while.


The food in question is being sent to a couple who is in the middle of an argument. The front knows this, but the back does not. That is why it is important that the front run things.

Or even

Maybe the guests at that table had just warned me of some serious allergen issues. Again, something the kitchen doesn’t know and the front does.


Now, if the kitchen tells me that they want to send food out to a table–Great! Now I am prepared to do it with some style. In a way that works. For all involved–the kitchen, the customer, and the front of the house.


Kitchens like to think otherwise, but the front is in charge of what goes on in the restaurant. Want to have an amuse bouche for all customers dining tonight? Fantastic. Tell the front. Have some food you want to send out to a friend or to a VIP? Beautiful. Tell the front.

Of course, this communication works both ways. The front needs to include the kitchen as much as possible. You just found out about someone’s food allergies? Go communicate it to the boys and girls in the back.

Let them do their job

I am operating under the assumption that you want your food well represented. Let the front manage it. They are best equipped to do so. Let the experts that you hired do their job.


This respect thing works both ways. The front needs to realize how challenging it is to work a long day in a hot kitchen. The back needs to realize that the front has to deal with customers.

Don’t stand back in your kitchen barking orders out to the front of the house. It isn’t effective, and it looks bad. Be aware of how you are coming across. Both by your employees and by your customers.




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