The kitchen area at our fast food restaurant is a lot like the submarines you see on Hollywood movies. You know, movies like “The Hunt for Red October” or “U-571”, or others. These are, I assume, accurate to the nature and procedures of real submarines and their crew.
In these movies the basic method for operating the submarine or it’s weapons is is always to have an order given (“10 degrees on the dive plain”) and then it is immediately repeated by the crew member responsible for carrying out that order. (“10 degrees on the dive plain, Aye.”) Sometimes it’s repeated three times. (Captain – “All engines ahead full!” First Mate – “All engines ahead full!” Lowly sailor assigned to unglamerous throttle control – “Aye! Engines ahead full, aye sir!”)
Well, quite some time ago I was struck at how similar our kitchen area (a.k.a. “Boards”) is to a submarine. We have the person on “Screens” (Captain) who is looking at the orders as they come up on the screen (Periscope). This person is responsible for coordinating the boards workers and preparing sandwitches. He/She hollars an order to the person at the breading table (Helm operator) such as “We need a chicken drop of 18!” The Breader responds by repeating that order, “Chicken drop of 18 coming up!” An order is then given to the one preparing buns, “We need those pickle cups!” Bun-boy responds with “I’m given you all she’s got!” An alarm goes off because the chicken strips are finished in the pressure cooker. The new guy (Grunt Sailor) goes over and silences the alarm, twists the sealing mechanism on the top of the deep frier (which looks strangly like the wheel turned hatch seals on a submarine), lifts the stainless steel lid while trying to stay clear of the hot steam now suddenly released, and proceeds to use a metal hook to lift the chicken out of the frier. Captain Screens gives an order to the one preparing nuggest and strips (First-mate) “I have three 8 nuggest on the screen.” The Nugget-mate says “Three 8 nuggets, Aye!” Metal clanks on metal, people move quickly, orders are called out, jokes are made.
Ok, so maybe that’s a little stretch, but the next time you get to observe (or work) in a fast-food kitchen, imagine Sean Connery giving orders and Matthew McConaughey shouting “Rabbit, we need the fries down now or we DIE!”, and you might find I’m right.