Prep Sheets are the Backbone of a Successful Kitchen

Mise en place meme Sit DownPrep is an essential part of every day life in the kitchen. A properly prepped station is the foundation upon which a successful service period is built. Too little prep done and you go down in flames right at the peak of the rush. Forget to prep one item and suddenly that is the most popular dish of the shift! Having detailed prep lists can make your kitchen much more organized and help your staff be more consistently prepped and ready for service. Having pars on the prep sheets ensures that they are not prepping either too little (and running out in the middle of service), or prepping too much which results in wasted product and a hit to your food cost.

I’ve seen many cooks write their prep lists on the back of ticket printer tape…WTF?! Having and using a standardized prep sheet for each station will accomplish the following:

  • standardize par levels for slow & busy shifts
  • provide cooks with an “at a glance” list of mise en place needed for their station
  • if organized properly a prep list can also work as a shorthand recipe, telling cooks the ingredients which go into each dish
  • makes it easy for someone else to step in and help prep a station
  • makes it easy for someone else to take over a station if the assigned cook has to leave (sick, emergency, etc)
  • it is quicker to fill out than hand writing a prep list
  • it ensures that nothing will be forgotten (if you don’t see it you often don’t think to prep it)
  • it makes it easier for the Chef or Lead Line Cook to hold staff accountable for the prep in their station

Two Column Kitchen Prep Sheets

This Kitchen Prep Sheet features two columns for prep items with an indent for the sub-ingredients of a recipe.  This layout style therefore gives a “cheat sheet” for the recipes, reminding cooks of the ingredients needed to complete the dish ala minute. It has columns for 3 days worth of prep, and separate par levels for slower -vs- busier days.
Click the picture for a larger imageKitchen Prep Sheets-2 Column 3 Day

2 Column-3 Day Prep Sheet is available to Standard Subscribers
(Premium Membership required)

Microsoft Excel required (not included)


One Column Kitchen Prep Sheets

This Kitchen Prep Sheet features one column for prep items with an indent for the sub-ingredients of a recipe.  It has columns for 7 days worth of prep, and separate par levels for slower -vs- busier days.
Click the picture for a larger imageKitchen Prep Sheets-1 Column 7 Day
1 Column-7 Day Prep Sheet is available to Subscribers
(Premium Membership required)

Microsoft Excel required (not included)




If you need to unprotect the sheet and don’t know how to do it then view my video on how to unprotect an Excel sheet.



Comments from before Site Migration

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DAVID BUCHANAN    [ May 06, 2014 ]

Fishy – Generally speaking, inventory should include all raw products in your storage area. This includes all food items which were delivered by vendors, or which you purchased. It is the whole weight or case price before trim.

Items which have been prepped for service fall into tow categories. 1) Most prepped food is considered “in use” and is not counted, however, 2) expensive foods “in service” are usually counted. This would include portioned steaks and seafood, prepared butters, shredded cheese…etc.

Inventory should be done either weekly or monthly, it should be done at the end of service, and it should be counted the same way every time. For instance, if you choose to put all opened spices into the “in use” category and not count them then you need to do it that way every time.

FISHY []    [ May 04, 2014 ]

Hi Chef,

This might be silly, but I am very curious on how to monitor the inventory of a restaurant. Do you monitor the actual yield? the actual scrap? the actual Work-In-Process (WIP)?

Raw Material (kg) = Actual Yield (kg) + Scrap (kg).

Or restaurants monitor the monitor using the standard yield based on recipe?

Raw Material (kg) = Standard Yield (kg) (based on recipe) + Scrap (kg)

Example process:

Get RM from the stock > prepare as WIP > cook to FG

From RM to WIP? how do you monitor this? manual monitoring through Yield Test Form?

Could you also suggest some Restaurant Inventory SYstem that are good but affordable?

Thank you very much!

DAVID BUCHANAN    [ Aug 31, 2013 ]

CHEFJAENA – not a silly question at all! Ultimately it is a matter of personal preference. I personally tend to use the prep list as a cheat-sheet recipe card, so I’ll list the name of the menu item, then indent all the ingredients which go into it which get fired ala minute during service. This ensures that the crew has it prepped, and reminds them what goes into each menu item. But I’ve also seen chefs who simply list an accumulation of items needed for the Line.

CHEFJAENA []    [ Aug 31, 2013 ]

This question may be silly but do you include repeating items on a menu-based prep list like these? For example, if I used mixed greens in multiple salads, is it best to include mixed greens under every salad item on the list?

DAVID BUCHANAN    [ Jun 01, 2013 ]

Thanks Chef Leco (Blair). The computer stuff definitely makes life easier…once you have the forms! And having all the custom forms for your particular operation (prep, ordering, task lists, etc.) absolutely saves time and headaches. But it is a pain to create them. Hopefully the forms here will shorten that process for my chef brothers.

CHEF LECO []    [ May 31, 2013 ]

Awesome resource for someone like myself who has no time to spend on the computer to make these lists that I need to have to make life much easier… So happy to have discovered this! Well done! I will save considerable time everyday just by using these lists. Feels so good to be organized! Thanks!

And I can’t help myself… This is @Blair… If you are a new kitchen manager and are asking what you need to keep up on as far as lists… God help your kitchen! You should already know that kind of stuff… You need to have; in one form or another; a prep list, stock list, and an order list… at the VERY LEAST. I would hope you have all of your recipes in some organized state as well… Which you can then make a break down list to aid with your prep list so that it shows ingredients, quanities, methods and PAR. It helps you keep track of your stock inventory that you are expending so you know when to order more as well as what needs to be prepped and everything you need to know on how to prep it. Almost like a prep list with elements of your recipe book and inventory list integrated.

Sounds a little confusing… I’m doing my best to explain it clearly but I’m not sure I am because it’s all in my head and it makes sense to me but there are similar lists on this site so just explore and figure out what suits you best.

Thats my 2 cents worth!

Happy cooking!

SCOTT ATKINSON []    [ Oct 01, 2012 ]


If anyone is an iPad user, I’ve just completed a Preplist app that allows chefs to easily build a preplist directly on their iPad. You just type in (or import) your master preplist once. Then simply walk through your kitchen tapping items when you want to add them to a daily list. You can print out or email multiple lists at once (one for the chef, one for the butcher, one for each station, etc.) and add instructions, quantities etc to each entry.

It should be on sale in the Apple App Store soon. But I am happy to share some screen shots or, possibly, a test version if you are interested. Just email me at: [email protected]. You can also go to this link, for more information: PreplistK.


Scott Atkinson

Fat House Software, LLC

DAVID BUCHANAN    [ Sep 10, 2012 ]

Blair, I’ve found that each establishment has a somewhat different set of necessary forms, so learning Excel is a huge help to any chef.  That said, here are some essential lists:

BLAIR []    [ Sep 09, 2012 ]

Hi there, I just found your site and find it very useful.

I am a new kitchen manager and am learning everyday.

What are some essential lists that need to be maintained? I.e prep, waste, temp logs etc.?

What Im asking is, can you make a list of essential lists for me?

DAVID BUCHANAN    [ Aug 27, 2012 ]

Saute, I could design such a template for your (for a fee), but I would recommend that you spend some time to learn Excel, then you can create your own sheets and style them to meet your needs. has some excellent training which you can take online.  Here is a link to one of their Excel courses:

For a monthly fee (about $25) you can watch as many training videos on as many topics you wish.  I’ve used them for multiple topics. It’s easy to quit after one month if you wish.

SAUTE1    [ Aug 14, 2012 ]

I am looking for banquet production excel spread sheet that I would only have to type in persons count and it would calculate gallons and pounds-

southwest menu

100 pp(this would be the only number I would change)

100  4 oz. chicken grilled (100 x 4)

.19 gallons sauce (100 x .25 /128-oz. in gallon)


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