Understanding Back of The House In Restaurants: The Ultimate Guide For New Business Owners

Published on:
May 3, 2024
Read Time:

Often in the restaurant industry, the back of the house is the last place that anyone thinks of. But in a world where customer satisfaction is continuously fought for, the BOH is key to winning the fight. Your back-of-house (BOH) team is vital to your operation. 

Skilled chefs and line cooks are not only the backbone of your culinary operation, but they also are instrumental in food safety and hygiene. 75% of people would never return to a restaurant if they were involved in a food poisoning/hygiene issue (unless ownership had significantly changed). So understanding the back of the house in a restaurant is a must-have.

Moreover, the restaurant’s reputation and repeat business opportunities are built on the incredible experiences delivered to guests. 

With a labor shortage in the back-of-house restaurant roles growing over the past few years, restaurants have tried to overcome this problem by increasing wages and incentives. Still, because of this, the industry has not created a healthy BOH culture

The labor shortage in BOH roles has been growing over the past few years and even though restaurants have been trying to overcome this problem by offering higher wages and more incentives, they still are not able to build a healthy BOH culture

This definitive guide is designed to help restaurant owners and managers learn the ins and outs of Back of House (BOH) operations – from the business owners just starting on their restaurant journey, and all the way to the pros with decades of experience to lend to different F&B ventures. 

We’ll provide an insider’s look at the strategies and best practices restaurant managers use to help them excel in restaurant operations, to help you master your BOH and become a stronger, more strategically-minded restaurant manager in the process.

Sign up to get expert articles, guides, tips, and inspiration straight to your inbox.
You're in! Look out for our emails in your inbox.
Oh no! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Our Top Picks
The Workforce Operations Platform for Frontline Teams
Rated 4.9/5 stars on Capterra
Free Version:
Supported Platforms:
Available for up to 5 users
Starter for $99/month for the first 20 users (with free trial period)
Available on iOS, Android and Web
Free Version:
Available for up to 5 users
Premium for $99/month for the first 20 users (with free trial period)
Supported Platforms:
Available on iOS, Android and Web
Download Xenia app on

What is Back of the House in Restaurants?

The term: back of house in restaurant refers to all the areas of a restaurant or café that are not seen by customers. 

This could include the kitchen, the storage area, the break rooms, and the office. Usually, the back-of-house staff is all the people in a restaurant involved with planning the menu, preparing the food, and looking after the staff. 

To better understand Back of the House in Restaurant, let’s take a deeper look at it

Simultaneous Kitchen Operations: Here’s where all the chefs do their thing, cooking, preparing ingredients, and making sure every dish looks great as it goes out to guests.

Inventory Management: Inventory Management is the process of keeping the right items on hand, while at the same time avoiding stockouts and ensuring warehouses are not overstocked on inventory that accumulating in valuable space.

Cleaning and Maintenance: In addition to cooking talent, BOH operations include difficult cleaning and maintenance routines. It is important to maintain kitchen hygiene and functionality to uphold food safety standards and operational efficiencies.

The above are just surface level examples of boh restaurant operations; there's plenty more where it came from.

If you are dealing with a multi location setup, challenges grow to the tune if critical kitchen equipment maintenance, cleaning processes, daily restaurant opening and closing issues, overall operational efficiency - so on and so forth.

Difference Between FOH and BOH Of Restaurants

The Front of House (FOH) is the people or service team including waiters/waitresses, bussers, and hostesses.

The Back of House (BOH) is more of a brigade system that is a combination of chef, sous-chef, pastry chef, etc. 

The frontline staff members, or FOH, have direct contact with the guests and provide the service that they have heard so much about, this includes greeting guests and directing them to the correct table and/or drink area, then taking their orders, and finally making sure that the guest is comfortable throughout their dining experience. 

On the contrary, the Back of the house in the restaurant is where all meals are cooked and prepared behind the scenes. 

This is done by chefs and kitchen staff. They are responsible for preparing and cooking every meal according to the menu so that every meal tastes the same and the quality of each meal does not differ each time the meal is prepared. 

The BOH also consists of inventory management which includes ordering of supplies, receiving deliveries, and stocking supplies to be able to support kitchen operations.

Key Roles and Responsibilities in BOH Restaurant Operations

Having explored fundamental aspects of Back of House operations, let’s move into a more granular description of the key roles and responsibilities that make the kitchen run.

Chefs and Manager 

Heading up the top of the BOH food chain are the chefs and managers. They execute the owner’s restaurant vision, handle overall day-to-day restaurant operations, plan and price dishes and menus, develop clubhouse management reports, and on-hand dish and menu information, and handle all the daily food preparation and cooking that happens in the kitchen. 

You’ll ideally want to hire a candidate with a minimum of five years experience or more working inside a restaurant and with a culinary degree or certification, if possible.

 These roles include: 

  • Executive chef
  •  Sous chef 
  • General manager 
  • Kitchen manager 

Food and beverage (F&B) manager, who handles inventory management and pricing Sommelier, which you’ll usually find in a fine dining restaurant

Line Cooks

Line cooks are the BOH staff who make the food you order at a restaurant, with the instruction and under the supervision of an executive chef or sous chef. Depending on the restaurant, each line cook may be responsible for a different part of a dish. 

Two of the most common examples of such cooks are appended below:

  • Prep cook - Gets food ready for line cooks to use
  • Short-order cook - Usually works in a fast-food or quick-service kitchen and makes quick-to-make orders like eggs or fries

Cleaning and Maintenance Crew 

The messiness of restaurant kitchens and the fact that restaurant appliances need regular cleaning and repair necessitate at least one staff person dedicated to cleaning the inside of the restaurant and another staff person dedicated to cleaning restaurant equipment. 

There are specific jobs within the back of the house of the restaurant with specific roles and responsibilities, which as a whole foster a culture of accountability. 

Everything in the back of the house should run smoothly including how the employees work as a team and the way they communicate with each other. Moreover, By having good communication among each other, they can better divide tasks and work together towards the same goals. It is essential to have effective communication channels, mutual respect, and a supportive work environment for employees to collaborate and be productive.

Back of house in restaurant keeps control of what goes on, and makes sure that things run smoothly. 

The executive Chefs and the kitchen managers of all of the restaurants make sure that everything is flowing well in their areas. They set expectations and guidelines for their teams. They also manage hours, order inventory, and run interference for the team at service.

Coordination Between BOH and FOH to Maintain Service Quality

Clear Channels of communication: It is very important that FOH and BOH staff can communicate dish changes, order changes, guest requests, and more to each separation of a restaurant because when the orders come in, things need to get done in a certain way.

It is not always possible for each team member to read the whole order as sometimes many people call out the orders and the other people in that section must also be aware of the order.

Order Accuracy: Order accuracy and timeliness are the next factors, typically the back of the house and the front of the house staff must be in sync to perform this task. 

The order is correctly taken by the front of the house and sent to the kitchen with no errors. Then from the time that the order was received in the kitchen, the back will work to prep and cook the order and have it out to serve in the correct sequence.

Menu Knowledge and Customer Service: FOH staff serve as the face of the restaurant, interacting directly with customers and providing them with information about menu items, specials, and dietary restrictions. 

They rely on BOH staff to accurately prepare dishes as ordered and to accommodate any special requests or modifications.

Problem Solving/ Adaptability: In restaurants, anything can happen. 

There might be last-second changes to the menu or a rush that occurs out of nowhere. Both BOH & FOH staff need to be able to work together to solve these situations, adapt, and keep the customers satisfied.

Feedback Loop: Maintaining an open feedback loop between the BOH and the FOH staff allows for continuous improvement of the service, and the products the establishment has to offer. 

The front-of-house restaurant staff will be the first to know what the guests want, and how they feel about whatever items were ordered. With this information the BOH staff can change the menu and how the front of the house (FOH) staff carries out a task.

Common Challenges in BOH Restaurant Operations Management and Solutions

Efficiently running the Back of House in a restaurant comes with many challenges including controlling one’s food/beverage inventory, keeping up with the demands of labor, enforcing food safety, etc. But, these challenges can be solved by employing the right approach and software.

Inventory Issues: The inability to manage and control food costs is the reason 75% of restaurants fail (National Restaurant Association). Managing inventory is often very complex due to the risks of overstocking, stockouts, and food waste. Inefficient inventory management can lead to additional costs and operational inefficiencies. 

Staffing Challenges: Restaurants spend more than half of their monthly budget on employment expenditures. Many restaurants have great difficulty finding and retaining skilled BOH staff. Staff shortages or undertrained staff can lead to delays in service as well as a decrease in the quality level associated with your brand or concept. 

Maintaining Food Safety Standards: Ensuring your BOH operations comply with food safety regulations is essential. However, maintaining high standards of cleanliness, hygiene, and food safety requires constant vigilance.

The Future of BOH Operations

Several trends are shaping the future trajectory of back of house in restaurants. 

Sustainability practices are one of these trends, as restaurants are becoming more and more interested in promoting eco-friendly practices, such as reducing waste and using locally sourced sustainable ingredients.

In addition, technology integration such as the advancement of software solutions like Xenia will enable the digital transformation of BOH management. By employing such technological approaches, processes will become more streamlined, and efficient, and overall productivity improvements are to be expected. 

The focus on staff wellness initiatives will likely increase as restaurants as a whole recognize the importance of retaining BOH team members satisfied and healthy. 

The future of BOH operations will be moving towards a completely digitally driven, sustainability-focused, and employee-first model where innovation, automation, and continuous commitment to excellence will be its triggers.

Wrapping it Up 

To sum up, the back of the house in the restaurant drives a successful restaurant as far as serving high-quality food and the service provided. 

As we discussed earlier in this post, BOH management is necessary to keep food safety first in the restaurant, maintain the maximization of Inventory control, and maintain a functional work environment. 

As a result, 90% of restaurants believe that growing automation will allow their employees to focus more on critical duties.

Keeping that in mind, there are plenty of restaurant operations software out there. However, not all of them are worth it. 

We recommend going on a trialing spree so that you have enough wiggle room to test each restaurant task management software without paying upfront!

Once you have the right tool that works as advertised, feel free to jump to a paid solution and take it from there.

Unify Operations, Safety and Maintenance
Unite your team with an all-in-one platform handling inspections, maintenance and daily operations
Get Started for Free
Improved Restaurant Operations Accountability & Sustainability With Xenia!
Get Started for Free
Rated 4.9/5 stars on Capterra

Latest Articles

Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question? Find our FAQs here. If your question hasn't been answered here, contact us.

Illustration for empty FAQ section.
No FAQs Found

Looks like there's no data available in our FAQ section at the moment.