Using the Decoy System in Restaurant Service

Organize Dirty Dishes with the Decoy System

In hectic commercial kitchens, creating an optimized workflow in the dishroom can help ensure your guests receive capable, satisfactory, and sanitary service. The dish decoy system in restaurant service is designed to help employees efficiently sort soiled dishes so they can be loaded into the dishwasher without confusion or delay.

Implementing the Dish Decoy System

In a restaurant, the decoy system is meant to help employees quickly and accurately stack dirty dishes that have been cleared from tables. To set up a dish decoy system, locate an available portion of your dish table on which you can lay out one piece of each dinnerware type in a line, arranging dishes from smallest to largest diameter for superior organization. Consider installing cantilevered, or angled, racks above a dish table to double the available storage space, further streamline the process, and provide a separate area for organizing smaller items, like dessert plates, as well as glasses, cups, and other beverageware.

As bussers and servers bring dishes back, they can place dirty dinnerware on the corresponding stacks. Then, employees tasked with loading racks into the dishmachine can easily sort through the soiled pieces to place them into the appropriate racks.

Dinnerware will likely need to be scraped before it is added to the designated stacks, since stacking plates with food scraps on them can make it difficult to maintain the stack's balance. If this is true for your operation, your dishwashing workflow should include a place for a scraping station; this may be a trash can or a more elaborate pre-rinse sink and faucet setup.

The decoy system in restaurant service can also be applied to flatware by setting up soaking bins and containers that employees can sort soiled utensils into after they are retrieved from the dining room.

Benefits of the Dish Decoy System

During busy dayparts, the optimized workflow provided by the decoy system can be a crucial component of providing timely service, but it also offers operational advantages. By implementing a more organized system, dinnerware and other serving pieces are less likely to be damaged during the bussing and dishwashing process, lessening the chances your restaurant will lose money replacing pieces that were broken or chipped.

Because the foodservice industry is notorious for its high employee turnover rates, it's important to have a comprehensive and easily understood training process in place. When it comes to the bussing and dishwashing positions in restaurants, the decoy system simplifies training by providing visual cues. Since the decoy system is also a more efficient way to begin the dishwashing process, it can also reduce your commercial kitchen's demand for labor.

  1. Olive Garden Decoy System Guide. Darden. Accessed September 2017.