There’s an old adage in family-owned restaurants, “mistakes make us look human.” And this adage is exactly that, old. Standardization for restaurants is vital to success, yet it is simultaneously the most overlooked aspect of running a successful restaurant. By failing to standardize your operations, you risk diminishing your profit margins, swelling your expense sheets, and providing sub par customer service. All of which can cripple your business. Before your restaurant spirals out of control, make sure you have these three processes standardized.
Standardizing recipes has numerous positive effects for your business. It helps ensure consistency in your food and drinks, which in turn benefits your customers. When you go out to eat, you want your order to come out exactly as it’s described in the menu, right? Me too. If your guests receive consistent taste and value from your food and drinks, then they are more likely to return. This is the same for both the kitchen and bar. On the other hand, restaurants can also accurately predict food costs, which helps owners budget accordingly. Make sure your recipes are written down and easily accessible for any employees who handle food and drinks in your restaurant. They should include cooking methodology, cook time, available ingredients, equipment, and yield. If you plan on having leftovers, then leave instructions for how to properly store them.
Employee training dovetails nicely with standardizing recipes because they share a similar premise: they set the standards for your business. All servers should be trained in the same processes just as all cooks, bartenders, and bussers should be trained in their respective processes. Why? Because simply “throwing employees into the fire” can leave employees disheartened, misinformed, and less competent. All of these will greatly affect your customer experience. By having a documented training plan for each position, employees are trained more quickly and thoroughly. Just like your recipe cards, make sure your training materials are easily accessible for new employees, or ones who need a refresher.
Having systematic day-to-day operations allows your managers more time to build your business, rather than focusing on finding an efficient order of processes. This includes having proper forms of identification (such as quality assurance checklists), Line Check forms, Opening Procedures, Closing Procedures, and Production Charts. This gives your managers a quick way to ensure all processes meet specification, identify areas that need attention, and provide accountability to responsible parties. When employees are trained to follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), they produce a product that is consistent and reliable. Both of which are an added bonus to your customer experience.
Standardization is the saving grace for any restaurant. It’s the one place where both Back-of-House and Front-of-House agree. Putting policies, procedures, manuals, recipes, and training modules in place, ensures that you will deliver a more positive customer experience and work environment. It is also a great way to cut down on employee turnover, leading your restaurant on a path to becoming an all-around more successful venue.