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New-age restaurants value staff meals

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Drop in at this much raved about restaurant in Mumbai during late lunch hours and you will probably see the staff bonding over a sumptuous luncheon — planned and prepared by them together — on another table. “Staff meals at our restaurant are not just another meal but a well-thought-out affair. It encourages communication and stronger working relationships,” says chef Thomas Zacharias. What was so far a hurried bite or grab-and-go meal of the day is now becoming a community or family meal in restaurants. From world-renowned restaurants to small mom and pop diners, kitchen and front-of-house staff make it a priority to sit down for a team meal before every busy dinner service.
For a healthy staff

Chef Vikramjit Roy finds the staff meal concept very close to his heart. He says, “For me, staff meals are as important as the food we cook for our guests. We focus very much on ensuring that the food cooked for the staff is firstly, nutritious, secondly, delicious and thirdly, not monotonous.”

While some restaurants focus on local and regional cuisines once a week, some are particular about celebrating all festivals and occasions with their staff which are marked out well in advance and food menus are planned accordingly. Roy strongly believes that at the end of a tiring day it’s important that the staff gets something nourishing and easy to eat.

Breaking bread

“Bringing one and all to the same dining table is important. We get a chance to know each other a little more, breaking most barriers,” says executive chef Hussain Shahzad, who follows a roster system of family meal at his Mumbai-based eatery.

RekhanshKaramchandani, MD of a Bangalore-based hospitality firm, says, “One cannot serve well on an empty stomach. Our ‘Chef of the Week’ concept sees non-food production staff getting equally involved in what has been cooked and served to all staff. The manager putting on a chef coat and dishing out delectable food is what we encourage.”

In addition to providing nourishment for the chefs, staff meals can help cooks in testing new recipes or finding creative uses for leftover ingredients.

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