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HomeRestaurant IndustryOperations, Data, & Reporting in Restaurants Part II

Operations, Data, & Reporting in Restaurants Part II

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Yesterday we explored the importance of operations data, different ways to capture operations data, and where it could be used to make better decisions. If you didn’t see, yesterday’s blog post clicks here.

A quick summary of yesterday’s post, the restaurant industry needs to be collecting and analyzing operations data with the easily available register and customer service data. Operations are upstream and affect sales, profitability, and customer experience.  Until now, it has been incredibly hard to capture operations data as we are a people business with very little automation in the production and distribution of our products.

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We also discussed different methods for collecting operations data: pen & paper, spreadsheets, Survey Monkey, and apps like OpsAnalitica.  We discussed the pros of each solution.

Today we are going to talk about different types of operations data that you could be capturing and how that data could help you make better decisions and run better operations.  We are going to start in the BOH sanitation and temperatures.

  • Sanitizer Buckets:
    • You should be tracking the temperature and ppm of your sanitizer buckets every meal period.
    • Value:  CYA purposes – it’s an insurance policy if you are the source of foodborne illness.
  • Temperature Logs:
    • Following HACCP principles you should be taking temperatures multiple times a day.  Here is a HACCP resource
    • Value:  
      • CYA purposes – it’s an insurance policy if you are the source of foodborne illness.
      • Financial:  temperature is directly correlated with food spoilage, which can lead to increased waste and higher food costs.
        • Every walk-in and cooler has a sweet spot temperature based on the food that is being stored in it.
      • If you don’t catch a broken refrigerator quick enough you could have to throw away every piece of food in it.
    • At the NRA show this year I was able to see temperature data from a temp logger that is in a commissary.  The guys were able to show me the data right before this walk-in’s compressor failed and how they were able to notify the owner that his walk-in was having trouble before there was a problem.  It was awesome.
    • Imagine this scenario:  You are a chain of 100 restaurants, and you have temperature data from every cooler and walk-in in you chain for six months.  You start to run some analysis, and you determine that restaurants with a 36-degree walk-in temperature on average have a 25 basis point higher food cost than the units with a 35-degree walk-in temperature. If you correlation analysis is correct, and you can simply have those restaurants turn down their walk-in’s a degree, and that could save you 25 basis points of cost, how cool is that?
  • Dishwasher Rinse Temperature:
    • Making sure that your dishwasher rinse temperature meets the specifications for your local health department and your machine.
    • Value
      • CYA purposes – it’s an insurance policy if you are the source of foodborne illness.
      • Financial:  In this case you may be concerned with having rinse water that is too hot.  Temperature is directly correlated with energy costs and having your rinse water set at the minimum safe standard could save you money.

With the above areas of data collection, the primary value is CYA protection.  Health department’s like to see good management practices in place and more importantly that the restaurant management team is consistently following their policies.  Doing this work and taking the time to follow HACCP Principle # 7 in regards to record keeping will always pay off in a crisis.

I think it is also important to note that there is a financial component to a lot of this measurement.  The example about walk-in temperature is real.  Like any cost saving program, you have to weight the cost to implement and manage the program against the potential savings.  A lot of the money saving opportunities require some amount of analysis cost to research them, and they might not make sense for a single unit restaurant.  You will have to determine if it makes sense for you to spend the time to look at the data.

We talk about this in our eBooks and other blogs.  There is a reason pilots always do pre-flight inspections, no matter how experienced they are, it is because there is a name for pilots who don’t do them, dead pilots.  I believe that restaurant manager’s, confuse restaurant experience with restaurant management.  If you don’t ever collect the data on sanitizer buckets or rinse temperatures you won’t know that they are right, or they are wrong.  You won’t be able to take corrective action, or you won’t know until it’s too late that something was wrong, and it is going to cost you a lot of money.

In tomorrow’s blog, we are going to continue with management accountability data.

If you didn’t see, yesterday’s blog post clicks here.

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Written by

I've been in the restaurant industry for most of my adult life. I have a BSBA from University of Denver Hotel Restaurant school and an MBA from the same. When I wasn't working in restaurants I was either doing stand-up comedy, for 10 years, or large enterprise software consulting. I'm currently the Managing Director of OpsAnalitica and our Inspector platform was originally conceived when I worked for one of the largest sandwich franchisors in the country. You can reach out to me through LinkedIn.

One Comment Published

[…] Thank you for following this blog series on restaurant operations, data, and reporting.  In Tuesday’s post, we discussed BOH data collection and what items you could be tracking that could help you improve operations and run more profitable businesses.  To read Tuesday’s post click here. […]