Some principles which from basic guidelines to managing catering operations are
Division of work: The principles of division of work is based on the concept of specialisation and since food production activities are each quite distinct in the skills they require, jobs are generally divided according to abilities of staff. The idea is to make abilities more efficient by performing each task repeatedly, till production speeds up and staff gain confidence. As the size of the establishment increases the principle of division of work becomes more applicable as against a small coffee shop in which a cook and his assistant do most of the kitchen work, and shift to the service counter when production is over. Similarly, an owner – manager of a small canteen would probably perform the tasks of the cashier, accounts clerk, purchasing manager, recruiting staff, and catering supervisor and so on. But as the establishment increases in size and the amount of work increases, the jobs would be delegated to people having the required abilities to handle them.
The principle of division of work, however, has to be applied with care in food services because its strict application might lead to staff being unable to takeover another’s job. For example, if a cook leaves, the assistant would not be able to produce the food for the customer, to the detriment of the establishment. The principle should only be applied to the extent to which it helps timely achievement of goals. Since food has to be prepared and served at a particular time, this principle may be used to ensure speed.
Authority and responsibility: The principle of authority works in two ways – that which is exercised because of position in the organization, through the chain of command formally laid out, and hat which is attributed to a person’s intelligence, experience and the sense of values he holds. Both types of authorities complement each other. In any work situation some of the official authority may be delegated along with the responsibility a task carries. For example, the task of meal production and job distribution may be delegated by the catering manager to the head chef in the kitchen. He then also gets with the delegated job, the responsibility of ensuring correct portions, standards, quality, customer satisfaction and profits. Authority may also be dispersed or centralized in principle.
Discipline: The principle of discipline covers punctuality, courtesy, adherence to rules and regulations, obedience, etc – all of which are essential for smooth functioning of establishments where group activities are involved and directed towards common goals.
Unitary command: Application of the unitary command principle goes a long way in establishing loyalty to the senior in command and to the organization. It removes chance of confusion, improves communication through better understanding of particular personalities.
Where more than one person is giving different instructions, loyalties get divided and subordinates take advantage of the conflicting to evade work. The result is that time gets wasted, work gets disorderly and performance drops.
Unitary direction: This relates to coordination of activities to achieve a single goal. There can be no command without direction. Undirected or multidirectional goals only lead to confusion and unachieved goals.
Individual goals subordinate to establishment goal: This principle is a must for success of any establishment, because if every individual starts working so achieve his own goals first and then those of the establishment, there is no doubt that the organization will have to close down. This is because there is no end to individual needs and when one is satisfied another will crop up, at the cost of the food service.
Payment or remuneration: The methods of payment agreed on should satisfy employees and the organization, the terms in principle being, as far as possible, impartial.
Hierarchy: The principle of hierarchy refers to the chain formed by superiors placed at different levels in an organization structure of an establishment, and corresponds to the various levels of management- line, middle, and top management.
Orderliness: This principle is most applicable to catering establishments which are constantly handling materials, heavy equipment and working with steam and other fuels, heat, cold, oils, etc. Material orderliness is of utmost importance because perishables need to be kept for different periods of time in raw, partly prepared and prepared forms. Orderliness helps to avoid cross – contamination, saves time looking for materials and equipment when required for use, and ensures safety for all concerned.
Orderliness with regard to manpower is helpful in placing people in positions so that “the right man is in the right place at the right time” – a reflection of good organization.
Loyalty and devotion: This principle ensures an atmosphere at work which is bound to generate a unified attachment to the organization, and its interests and goals, through development of harmonious relations at work.
Work stability: The principle of minimized labour turnover creates a sense of security and confidence in people, leading to better orientation at work. If this principle is not followed for any reason, and cheap labour is employed, the turnover increases which is very costly both in terms of the wage bill and increased recruitment and administrative costs, besides resulting in poor performance.
Initiative: If staff is allowed to suggest plans which can be followed even partly, it is highly motivating for them. For example, if a recipe idea offered by an assistant cook is accepted and prepared by the head cook, initiative develops in the staff. Based on this principle, staff is often encouraged to participate in making decisions which affect them. This helps raise morale, develop new ideas and increase efficiency.
Unity: This principle emphasizes the spirit of group work, and establishment of smooth communications, between people, thus developing healthy team spirit.
Control: This principle states that limiting the area of control of a leader or supervisor to cover the work of about five or six people only having related jobs, brings about greater efficiency. This is often referred as “the span of control
Thus principles used with good judgment enhance the chances of reaching set goals, increase understanding of other people and oneself, help in decision – making and encourage better use of resources.
Since all plans of action are based on decisions made within the value structures of managers, principles provide the base from where to start towards goals.