Waste. Aging equipment. Safety concerns. Water quality.
Regardless of the type or concept, virtually all restaurants face a variety of potentially problematic food service challenges that can impact everything from equipment longevity to the overall success of the business. But you have the power to circumvent serious problems before they ever occur. Investing in the right tools, strategies and people gives you the leverage you need to address these issues and improve the customer experience, the operation at large and, most important, reduce expenses in the restaurant.
Operational efficiency starts in the back of the house with proper kitchen management tips. Restaurants face myriad tasks in procuring, storing, preparing and serving food—and any misstep can spell big problems for the business, says Ben Fileccia, director of operations and strategy, Philadelphia region, with the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, based in Harrisburg. Food waste reduction and elimination start team and simple processes like proper food storage, “first in, first out” inventory use with clearly visible expiration dates, and even designing new dishes with cross-utilization in mind, he says.
One way to reduce expenses in a restaurant and foster ownership among staff members is to give them a budget for creating new food items and challenge them to find new ways to prepare items you already offer. “Make sure when you order products, they’re not being used just for one menu item,” Fileccia says.
Giving employees the proper tools to do their jobs quicker and more effectively is another way to improve restaurant performance and manage a kitchen staff for retention in a tight labor market, says Carolina Bautista-Brown, marketing manager, food supply business, at 3M. For example, 3M’s Scotch-Brite™ cleaning pads are made from springy, non-woven polymers and various types of abrasive particles that are “tuned” to be more effective for specific cleaning tasks, allowing them to be done two to five times faster in some cases, which saves time and meets restaurant cleanliness standards.
Restaurant owners and managers have a variety of business assets to protect. Whether it’s equipment that breaks from improper care or accidents that threaten worker and customer safety, taking good care upfront can minimize monetary and operational losses from events, such as:
While addressing food service challenges may seem like the routine work of restaurant staffs, it has an enormous impact on overall customer experience and loyalty. A clean, well-maintained restaurant is better able to serve customers safely and effectively, and the proper tools make employees feel appreciated, which may lead to your restaurant improving its reputation as a great place to work. The right tools may even reduce restaurant labor costs.
Once these baseline issues are part of your operating protocol, you can devote more time to growing your business. You may have more time and resources for increased promotion and networking, making menu improvements to accommodate different dietary needs and restrictions, or finding other ways to grow your business.