Although chefs are important at every stage of the food creation process, one often-overlooked step occurs at the loading dock.

  1. Having a chef on the back dock ensures maximum quality—and safeguards against subpar ingredients. Checking for product quality is especially important when items are sold by weight or refrigerated. It’s common practice to check the temperature of refrigerated trucks to ensure that the food is kept in the safe zone. In addition, double-checking the weight of by-the-pound products safeguards against getting ripped off on pricing. By rejecting products that don’t meet these (among many) standards, a chef sends a message to the supplier that can result in higher quality ingredients being delivered to their location.
  2. Only a chef could know if the quantity of ingredients is too much, too little or just right, i.e., the order is correct. Just as chefs generally know their ingredients and where to put them, chefs also tend to be in tune with customers. For example, a Memorial Day weekend event at a BBQ restaurant is sure to create increased demand for pork. Although another employee may be involved, the chef understands exactly what this demand entails and how much more pork should be bought as a result.
  3. Since chefs know best, they can teach others to know, too. Knowing the difference between a ripe and non-ripe tomato, what the temperature of a truck shipping shrimp should be, and how much flour should cost per pound are hard-learned tidbits of intelligence that chefs can pass down to other people who could help with receiving goods. Chefs can teach other members of the receiving team what should be inspected and how, as well as what to accept and what to reject.

Utilizing a chef at the back dock of your kitchen can be a cost-efficient and time-saving step in the food purchasing process. Although chefs work mostly behind closed kitchen doors, keeping the back door open to their input and expertise can be extremely advantageous to any school operation or business.

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