Your restaurant is a microcosm of systems. All of these systems should work together to produce the end result: great food, comfortable ambiance and incredible service.
Have you ever thought about improving some of these operations? Even though they may be working just fine, are they working as well as they could be?
Is there room for improvement that could eventually lead to better results or a more efficient overall process?
Where can your restaurant improve its operation? Let’s take a look at how you can continually improve your restaurant’s operation to make the overall experience a better one for your customers as well as you staff.
Turnover is a big part of the restaurant industry. You can eliminate part of this inevitable turnover by hiring right the first time.
According to a recent survey, employee turnover in the hospitality industry increased for the fourth year in a row in 2014. The overall turnover rate rose to 66.3%. While part of this is due to the seasonality of the restaurant industry as well as the employee base consisting of a large number of students, it is by no means typical of other industries.
There is always room for improvement in the hiring process. If done right, improving your hiring process may mean less employee turnover.
Every new employee you hire will either improve your restaurant image or lower it. Knowing that you want to hire employees who’ll promote your brand and help your restaurant grow, here are a few ways to improve the hiring process:
- Don’t ask the magic bullet questions. These are the far-fetched ones that have nothing to do with your restaurant. Instead, get to know the potential candidate. Focus on their skills, experience, knowledge, attitude and behavior.
- Involve other staff members in the process. Your first opinion, while a valuable one, might benefit from a few other people’s thoughts on the candidate. Hiring for the kitchen? Involve your head and assistant chefs. You can conduct an initial interview, but then have them meet with the people they’ll be working with directly. Your current employees may have a different perspective.
- Test your prospective employees. For example, if you’re hiring a server, give them a trial run. Sure, their resume may say they have years of experience, but wouldn’t it be nice to see them in action? Hiring a chef? Have them cook for you. Role play and simulations will help you weed out the wrong candidates.
- Take a look at this checklist from Star Chef Finder. It will help you check off the business end of the hiring process.
Food Ordering Process
Another area to find room for improvement is in your food ordering systems. There are a few ways to streamline this process, improving the system and making it more effective. Here are our tips:
- Put one person in charge of the food ordering process and give them an assistant. This way you’ll be prepared in case the first person is unable to do the job. Have someone who works in the kitchen order the food and someone who works in the bar order the liquor.
- Count your inventory before ordering. This should be done on the same day each week at the same time. It shouldn’t be done during delivery times.
- Create an order form for each category. For example, create a form for meat, produce, liquor, paper supplies, etc.
- Include these columns on the order form: description, number ordered, price each, price extended and supplier.
- List all of the items you typically order on the form whether you are ordering them this week or not. This makes it easy to just fill in the quantities/price.
- When you list items on the order form, list them in the order they are stored in your stock room or refrigerators. This is a great tip for improving the system for ordering.
- Decide when and how often you’ll order. For example, you order liquor on Mondays and Thursdays, meat at least three times a week, etc.
- Set a specific time each week to do the ordering so you have no interruptions.
- Record your spoilage so you avoid over-ordering.
When your staff spend less time processing payment, they have more time to provide great customer service.
The Checkout Process
One of the most frustrating parts of dining out is waiting for the check and then waiting for the server to take your payment, and if you need change or paid with a credit card, you have to wait again to have them bring you change or your card and receipt.
You can easily improve your checkout system. A revised checkout system will make your customers happier, take the burden off your server and give them more time to provide great customer service.
Additionally, many payment systems figure out a tip automatically, so your servers may benefit from larger tips.
Don’t wait to improve this system at your restaurant. Happier customers and staff as well as less time involved in table turnover mean success for your restaurant.
Now that we’ve discussed where your restaurant can improve its systems, it’s time to take action. Make a schedule for implementing these tips and adhere to it. Consider the implementation of these improvements to your systems as a part of the overall picture of your restaurant’s efficiency.
When you start improving your restaurant’s operation, you take the first step towards making your restaurant a better place to dine and a better place to work.