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The Receiving Clerk of Choice May Not Be the Person You Think He or She Is

Who does the receiving in your restaurant? Often, it’s up to the chef, kitchen manager, or the manager on duty. Who are the two or three people in any restaurant who usually have the least amount of time? Who are the ones constantly putting out the fires, dealing with problems, and are frequently interrupted by someone? Invariably, it’s the people in your management positions.

Many times, when your chef, kitchen supervisor, or manager checks in deliveries, they start the process but are interrupted or diverted to something else before the entire delivery is properly inspected and the process completed. Just think about how difficult it is for a manager to have more than about 10 seconds of uninterrupted time during a shift. As a result, managers do not always do a very thorough job of the receiving functions every time.

Some restaurants have recognized the time and attention constraints of their managers, so they select and train a good hourly employee to do the receiving functions during certain hours of the day. The person they select is a solid performer and is thoroughly trained to do the job. These operators have found that it is much easier for an hourly employee to have 10-20 minutes of uninterrupted time so they do a more complete and thorough job of receiving than a manager typically can.

Although receiving is an extremely important function, face it, it is basically a repetitive, almost clerical function. It should be done the same methodical way repeatedly. It usually does not make much sense to have your decision-makers and highest-paid people performing clerical functions when you have capable staff members who could get the job done just as well at a much lower cost.

Now, depending on your menu, if you use, for example, a lot of exotic produce and high-end fresh seafood, then you may want only the chef or his or her assistant inspecting certain types of products. But for most items, a good, well-trained hourly employee can do a good, competent job of checking in your deliveries.

Another reason to have an hourly person do the receiving is that often our managers and chefs do the purchasing. Unless it is unavoidable, you never want the same person handling your purchasing and receiving. There are just too many games someone can play and ways to obscure their tracks when they do both.