FOH vs BOH: it's not only the ultimate hospitality meme template but rather the essential division of life within every restaurant.
Good management of both FOH and BOH contribute to the success of your restaurant as much as stage and backstage are the fundaments of a great play. In order to succeed, both front of house and back of house should work as one team where communication occurs smoothly and operations are optimized.
From understanding how to hire the perfect candidates for the different front of house and back of house jobs to reviewing the functions of your restaurants' gears, this article will help you reshuffle the organization within your team and provide you with some tips to run your restaurant business.
Building the right team: FOH vs. BOH
Front of house
When working in the front of house, you are the face of the restaurant. Your presence affects the overall customer experience as much as your menu does. FOH workers should pay attention to details and ensure appropriate human interaction.
As the California MICHELIN guide points out, good restaurant service involves the whole process from the first to the last impression. Good FOH workers know how to welcome guests and say goodbye to them. They know their scripts and how to add extra flavor to make the interaction less standard and more human.
Basic FOH skills include listening, good communication, and critical thinking skills. From taking orders and setting tables to responding to customer's needs and concerns, a good front of house worker knows what it takes when it comes being good hosts. They are not afraid of handling criticism and can always deal with uncomfortable customers or situations in a professional manner.
Also, these types of jobs call for the ability to focus and know how to prioritize. For instance, this is something that servers do on a daily basis while ensuring that customers get the best dining experience without waiting too long.
FOH positions include jobs whose tasks imply facing customers, taking orders and reservations, handling payments, coordinating the staff and reporting to the team. These can be:
- Food runner
- General manager
- Shift manager
Back of house
The back of house team is mostly made up of food-prep staff and those assisting them. This does not only imply handling food and cooking but also other duties that are vital to the safety or finances of your restaurant business.
BOH tasks include planning menus and specials according to food costs, ordering food and managing inventories, cleaning and respecting food safety rules, determining expenses, and contributing to administrative work. Besides possessing a set of hard skills when it comes to working in the kitchen, there is a set of soft skills that good back of house workers have. These include cleanliness, time management, and proactivity.
A back of house job is a great way to prepare yourself for the fast-paced nature of working in the restaurant industry and will teach you a set of valuable skills while meeting tight deadlines and stress management. BOH positions include:
- Head chef
- Sous chef
- Line cook
- Delivery driver
- Kitchen manager
Optimize BOH and FOH flows
In order to achieve great results as a whole team, both FOH and BOH teams should work and communicate smoothly. From a restaurant management perspective, this implies hiring the right talents, as well as managing them effectively, defining roles and expectations, providing training and adequate salary, establishing a correct shifting plan (our guide can help you manage your staff schedule), and being able to delegate while leading the managerial aspects of the whole restaurant.
One way to optimize operations is to conduct periodic performance reviews with your team members, both as a group and with individuals. This is important for a series of reasons, from understanding the internal dynamics between your team to assessing kitchen hazards or critical points that lower the overall performance of your restaurant.
Creating a space for your team to give feedback on their day-to-day work and reviewing the critical aspects of your front or back of housers work will allow you to come up with the right plan of action.
You should also consider optimizing individual and cross-team works in a restaurant is digitization. There are many different digital tools that can simplify your or your team's work and save up that precious time that is usually dedicated to the core operations of the business.
These also include ordering platforms like Choco, a free app that allows chefs and managers to manage orders from suppliers from one single place and communicate with their team.
Other useful restaurant technologies include scheduling systems, digital menus, and cashless payment tools.
Team, team, team
When FOH vs. BOH translates into working as one team, things flow better. There is a series of practices that managers can follow in order to leverage team spirit.
Indeed, one is communicating your restaurants' concept well: whereas your main focus is providing smart and customer-friendly service within a high volume dining spot or communicating values of environmental sustainability and local products, your brand and purpose should always be clear to your team.
Strengthening your vision and making sure that everyone in your team understands it and shares it is helpful to communicate with your customers effectively and to motivate your employees. Remember: aiming at the same goal is the best way to celebrate success together.