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HomeRestaurant IndustryOperations, Data, & Reporting in Restaurants Part III

Operations, Data, & Reporting in Restaurants Part III

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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.

One last thought on BOH operations data collection.  A lot of the BOH data that we should be collecting has a CYA benefit and potentially a financial benefit associated.  You should be looking at everything that would constitute a critical violation on a health inspection every shift.  There probably isn’t a huge financial benefit to ensuring that all of your dry-goods are being stored six inches off of the floor, but there are safety and brand protection benefits.  Most health departments these days make health inspections available on their websites.  In cities like Denver, our local Fox affiliate, dedicates a lot of energy to reporting on Denver restaurant’s bad health inspection scores.

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As we continue to explore restaurant operations and data, let’s discuss manager accountability and how that plays into the data collection.  Accountability management is engineered into the OpsAnalitica Inspector, and we track additional meta data on the person inspecting.  For instance, we track inspection duration, looking for pencil whippers.  Manager accountability and ability to identify good and bad managers quickly is one of the best reasons to use an automated inspection platform and to have manager’s conduct inspections.  When you collect this data online, and then you can go in and verify what you are being told, that is a powerful tool.  It gives you the data to identify your great managers, to elevate them and give them the appropriate praise.  It also allows you to identify your bad managers and take corrective actions.

From an accountability perspective you should be collecting the following types of data each shift:

  • FIFO:
    • You should be checking Day Dots and the food on the line each shift.
    • Value:
      • Reduce food waste and lower food cost.
      • Ensure that customers are being served a fresh and safe product.
  • Pars:
    • You should be checking that you line cooks have the proper stock levels of items on the line.
    • Value:
      • Keep ticket times down and ensure that you can maximize service during the rush.
      • Frozen Burger vs. Thawed Burger Example
        • If a thawed 1/4lb burger patty takes 3 minutes to cook well and a frozen patty takes 4 1/2 minutes to cook well.  A frozen patty takes 50% longer to cook.  If you sell a lot of burgers and you run through your thawed patties quickly, and you aren’t stocked to par, you now have to use frozen patties. That one difference is adding 90 seconds per burger to your cook time.  That extra 90 seconds of cook time starts to cascade to every order as those frozen patties are taking up grill space, and you can’t get you next orders down until they clear, etc.  All of a sudden every ticket in the kitchen with a burger on it starts to come out a little slower.  That cascades to the front of the house as people are sitting at tables longer, the line gets longer because through put in the restaurant has slowed. People who are on a time crunch may start leaving because they don’t have time to wait. Tips could go down for servers because the meal service was slow, and you could lose a turn of your tables.
      • The frozen burger patty is a simplified example, but it is meant to illustrate how the entire restaurant is connected and if one part of your operation lacks it can affect the entire operation and sales.
  • Line Check
    • You should be temping and tasting your soups, sauces, and LTO items each shift.
    • Value:  Quality control
  • Server Stations:
    • Just like food pars, server stations and service counters should be stocked to par before each shift.
    • Value:  Better guest experience.
      • I worked at Changs that didn’t have enough glass racks in the server station.   Every time you went back to get drinks; you invariably were running to the dish pit to grab glass racks.  That added a minute or so of time to each initial drink order.  These things add up and slow down service, which affects your ability to get that last turn for the meal period.
  • Building:
    • Tracking the cleanliness and appearance of your building specifically: bathrooms, entry way, dumpsters, dining room, and parking lot.
    • Value:
      • Puts the manager in the guest’s shoes and allows them to see the restaurant from their perspective.
      • Allows you to catch and correct things that could potentially stop guests from coming into your location or that could negatively affect their experience.

Restaurant operations are the drivers of sales and customer satisfaction.  Collecting operations data consistently across all of your locations can provide you with a treasure trove of insight into how your operations are doing.  Ops data coupled with sales, customer satisfaction data can help you identify cost cutting and profit increasing opportunities. Whether it is average walk-in temperature or identifying a bad manager faster so you can take corrective action.

There is also value in making manager’s complete these checklists in addition to the data.  The simple act of walking your location and looking at critical success areas of your business is like the pilot performing the pre-flight inspection.  Focusing managers on what is important and hopefully will allow them to identify and fix issues before they affect the guest.

One thing that I’ve learned working with automation and data over the last seven years is that once you get a taste for the power of data and how much it can help you in decision making.  You will want more of it.

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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.