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Module 5: Principles of Food Preparation

1. Market

It’s important to know your market and how to satisfy them. Consider the following questions:

  • Who are your guests/customers?
  • What do they expect in terms of food and service?
  • What type of operation do you have?
  • Are the ingredients you need readily available?
  • Can you price your menu based on your market? Is your pricing affordable yet profitable?

2. Manpower

Organise your manpower with the following in mind:

Hire the right people

  • Clean appearance and presentable
  • Properly groomed
  • Project an image and attitude that’s right for your restaurant

Adopt the economies of scale

  • Enjoy cost advantages with bulk buying and leverage on your staff to produce at maximum capacity

Assign responsibilities

  • Make each kitchen staff accountable for smooth and efficient workflow

Ensure work safety

  • Staff must follow basic safety procedures in handling and operating equipment

Assess efficiency

  • Calculate time and activity for flexibility and maximum performance
  • Seek feedback to improve efficiency

Staff rotation

With proper staff rotation and scheduling, your staff will work better in teams.

  • Prepare weekly or monthly work schedules
  • Use your task analysis as a basis
  • Rotate managers
  • Give equal workloads to all shifts
  • Include cleaning schedules
  • Be open but firm about complaints

3. Materials

Materials refer to the ingredients, kitchen equipment and physical inventory such as cutlery and plates. When selecting materials, ensuring their quantity, quality and safety are paramount. Forecasting and inventory should precede any planning for large production of food. Forecast raw materials or ingredients by planning the menu and quantity of dishes in advance.


It’s important to think of the following when selecting and purchasing ingredients:

  • When compared to raw ingredients, the convenience of ready-to-use products cuts down on preparation time for certain recipes such as soups, stocks bases and sauces
  • The ability and resources to prepare from scratch or whether you should consider modern convenience alternatives
  • Consistency of working with ready-to-use products or raw ingredients

Equipment & utensils

Machinery, utensils and other equipment play a very large part in what your restaurant can offer. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the types needed?
  • What is the capacity for each machine?
  • How much space will it occupy? Can your kitchen accommodate it?
  • What layout is appropriate?
  • Are they detachable?
  • Are they easy to clean and sanitise?
  • Are chopping boards and knives colour-coded to prevent cross-contamination?

Physical inventory

Inventory determines what and how much of each type of plate or utensil you require for your restaurant.

  • A perpetual inventory helps keep track of all goods entering and leaving the storeroom
  • The ending inventory of the previous day is the daily beginning inventory of the day
  • Physically verify actual stored goods once every month, and have at least one neutral person witness the counting

4. Money

Ensure the efficient use of money and resources through:

  • Proper forecasting and inventory to prevent overstocking
  • Buying of high quality ingredients for longer shelf life
  • Well-trained and productive manpower
  • Proper preparation, holding and serving methods
  • Maximising the use of goods to prevent wastage of stocks

Congratulations, you’ve completed the 4 Ms to Running a Successful Restaurant topic!

Pick a related topic from the Principles of Food Preparation module, see the next module, or go back to the Chefmanship Academy modules page.

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