Have you ever encountered the "Oops" situation in your restaurant? Ever said "Oops" when the customer got the wrong meal, when a reservation wasn't written down, when the bonus wasn't included in an employee's check, or when a quarterly insurance payment was missed? We all have experienced an "Oops" situation, and we know how that feels as well as what it costs. Using checklists can help to reduce the number of "Oops" moments.
As a restaurateur, you're faced with managing a number of areas that directly contribute to your profitability, including the dining room, take-out window, bar and lounge, function room(s), kitchen, storage, administration, marketing and employees. By managing each of these areas carefully and attentively, you can derive maximum profits out of each. Effectively using checklists can help you better serve customers, manage food and bar costs, pass inspections, and achieve increased profitability.
Checklists are a key component of a successful restaurant operation. Utilizing checklists leads to higher profits, more efficient and productive operations, satisfied customers, and a better quality of life for you and your employees. This article addresses the use of checklists in a restaurant operation and how checklists contribute to profitability. Let's take a look at some of the major functional areas of a restaurant operation and see how checklists can be applied to improve overall profitability.
Food and Bar Service: This includes all service provided to or on behalf of the customer: greeting and seating, taking and delivering the order, collecting payment, busing and resetting, and prep work. Checklists provide a well defined process to ensure the customer is greeted properly, seated and served correctly, and high service standards are maintained. Checklists are vital to consistent service, efficient operations, and controlling costs with the ultimate goal of customer satisfaction and high repeat business.
Kitchen and Food Storage: The chef runs the kitchen and usually has his/her unique way of doing things, including ordering the food and setting the menu. It's important, however, to have checklists available, not only to remember what to do, but also to help a last minute replacement or a new hire. In addition to managing food costs, good checklists keep the kitchen productive and efficient by managing food supplies, defining operations, and describing proper food preparation.
Operations: Everything required to run the restaurant and not mentioned elsewhere, is typically called "operations". This includes accounting, advertising, banking, budgeting, cleaning, opening and closing, ordering non-food items, handling money and reporting. Using checklists here is important to ensure this work will be done in the correct manner and that nothing will be missed. When you're not around and must trust someone else to complete the work, a well designed checklist ensures all the work will get done.
Employees: Turnover is always an ever-present issue in the restaurant business as are the numerous government reports and regulations regarding employment. Checklists can be utilized to minimize time spent on reporting, maintaining files, hiring and training new employees, and dismissing employees. Doing it right avoids problems later, problems that can be time consuming and costly.
The value of using checklists in your restaurant is to operate productively and efficiently, keep costs low, and make a profit. As we've discussed above through examples, checklists can be used in all facets of a restaurant operation. Checklists help to organize tasks, manage time, operate more efficiently, avoid excess costs and wasteful ways, and ensure compliance with laws, policies and procedures. Checklists can be developed internally, can be purchased through a commercial source, or purchased and modified to meet your specific requirements. Creating comprehensive checklists can be time-consuming for both the manager and the staff as well as take you away from other more important responsibilities. However, utilizing a commercially available checklist that has been tested by many other restaurateurs can save you a lot of time and money.
Well designed checklists will keep you and your staff focused, increase operational efficiency and eliminate the "Oops" moments for your customers!
Restaurant Self-Assessment Checklist: Restaurant owners and managers can now conduct a thorough "Self-Assessment" of where their operations stand today, and then, based upon the results of this analysis, implement sound business strategies for accelerating growth, reducing unnecessary waste, and improving their profitability. This unique management tool features 1,329 tactics, strategies and action items for evaluating thirty different operational categories ranging from store image to customer service to operations management; all designed to bring your restaurant to the next level of growth and profitability. To see a more detailed description and sample pages of the checklist, then go to: