Back of House Positions that Should be Front of Mind

There are a number of pieces to the kitchen puzzle and adequate staffing plays an integral role in a kitchen’s success. Your staffing decisions on certain positions can truly make or break the kitchen’s success.

There’s a lot to take in when you walk into a restaurant.

The ambiance, the bustle of staff and fellow diners, the smells of food coming out of the kitchen, and the mouthwatering dishes that are served to your table.

While guests typically only interact with front-of-the-house staff when they’re seated and served, there’s a well-oiled operation going on behind the scenes to ensure each guest has a pleasant experience.  

The back-of-the-house staff needs to work harmoniously with one another to execute all kitchen responsibilities and timely delivery of guest orders.

There are a number of pieces to the kitchen puzzle and adequate staffing plays an integral role in a kitchen’s success. Your staffing decisions on certain positions can truly make or break the kitchen’s

Let’s dive into some of the key players who work behind the scenes but make a huge impact on your guest’s experience (and where you can find high-quality shift workers!).

Head Chef

A kitchen without a head chef is like a ship without a captain.

The head chef is typically a seasoned veteran of the food and beverage industry and carries the knowledge to make sure each part of the kitchen is firing on all cylinders.

There are a number of responsibilities on a head chef’s plate as they set the tone for the rest of the kitchen.

First and foremost, a head chef oversees all food preparation – from menu creation to ordering ingredients to inspecting dishes before they are sent out to guests.

While food preparation might seem like the most important responsibility of a head chef, it’s equally as important that all food is prepared with the appropriate safety and sanitation practices in mind. The head chef must ensure that each kitchen station follows safety protocol and that all dishes are cooked to the correct temperature.

Another major responsibility of a head chef is the hiring and training of the rest of their kitchen staff. There are a number of key players in the kitchen and the head chef needs to make sure that each of these roles works in a collaborative and cooperative manner.

Sous Chef

A sous chef is a crucial position in a restaurant's kitchen hierarchy, working directly under the head chef or executive chef. The sous chef plays a vital role in managing and coordinating the kitchen operations to ensure the smooth functioning of the culinary team.

Sous chefs assist with the day-to-day operations of the kitchen, including overseeing the preparation of food, monitoring the quality of the plates going out to diners, and maintaining a high standard of kitchen hygiene.

A sous chef helps serve the kitchen’s needs – whether that’s taking the reins on a complex recipe, conducting quality control checks throughout meal preparation, or ensuring that the kitchen workspaces remain organized and safe.

In addition to their daily responsibilities, sous chefs will also collaborate on menu development, kitchen staff training, and inventory management.

Line Cook

While the head chef oversees all kitchen functions, there are a number of key players that are responsible for executing the head chef’s orders, including line cooks.

Line cooks typically work in designated stations - such as a frying station or a grilling station. Since line cooks execute specific recipes, they also set up their stations with the appropriate tools and equipment they’ll need.

Like any other member of the kitchen staff, line cooks uphold all food safety guidelines and sanitation procedures in their work. Following completion of their required tasks, they also clean up their respective station and ensure that their inventory is restocked accordingly.

Lastly, line cooks are an integral role in ensuring that all dishes get out to guests in a timely fashion.

Prep Cook

Line cooks and prep cooks are often confused with one another but they are distinct roles with unique responsibilities.

Prep cooks are typically more junior than line cooks and have fewer years of culinary experience.

Prep cooks help ensure that each line cook station is prepared with the ingredients they need to complete their assigned tasks. That means washing and cutting vegetables, carving meats, and measuring out ingredients.

This helps each station run efficiently and keeps things in the back of the house running smoothly.


When it comes to running a successful kitchen, don’t underestimate the importance of your dishwashers!

While they don’t handle food prep or delivery, dishwashers are integral to maintaining a clean and orderly kitchen environment.

Dishwashers set up and organize dish stations so that the rest of their team is equipped with the tableware, barware, and flatware they need.

During peak restaurant hours, dishwashers ensure that the rest of the kitchen has enough pots, pans, dishes, and utensils to continue serving diners efficiently. Not to mention, they make sure that the kitchen is prepared for the following day of service at the end of each night.

The Backbone of Your Restaurant

Although they work behind the scenes, there’s no doubt that the back-of-house team is the backbone of any successful restaurant. While the front-of-house team cultivates the customer experience, the back-of-house team creates and delivers the culinary experience.

The dedication, skill, and expertise of these professionals ensures that food is prepared with precision, creativity, and consistency.

If your restaurant is in need of trusted, high-quality back-of-house staff, shiftNOW can help. We know it's not always easy to find flexible shift workers, but our network of pre-vetted shift workers has experience across multiple shift types and is available to work when you need them.

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