Author : Tommy Yionoulis

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What is Operations Data?

Since we started OpsAnalitica we have been talking about Operations Data(Ops Data) and how powerful it is and it dawned on me last week that we haven’t taken the time to define Operations Data for our readers.  This is an oversight on our part but one that I hope to correct in this week’s blogs.

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Here are some examples of Ops Data:

  • Ticket Times
  • Temperatures
  • Taste of Soup of the Day
  • Cleanliness of Bathroom
  • Staff Readiness
  • Pre-shift meeting completed
  • Line Pars
  • Staffing % (were you staffed to your schedule or were you short staffed)
  • Food Cost
  • Labor Cost
  • Waste
  • Appearance of Restaurant
  • Sales
  • Day Dots being followed (FIFO)

This list is far from being complete; these items are just a small sampling of the items that good restaurant managers are checking.  Each one of those Ops Data items can affect your operations and ultimately your profitability.  Some of them are easier to track, sales because your cash register does that for you.  Some are harder to track, day dots being followed, because you physically have to go into your walk-in, coolers, and pantry to inspect what you expect.  All of those operations data items help tell the story of your restaurant.

It is in the story of your restaurant where you find out who is a good employee and a bad employee, you start to understand the patterns that you have intuitively known but have never been able to quantify because you couldn’t back them up with numbers. More importantly when you have data, you can disprove assumptions as data sheds light on what is happening.  You may have thought your issue was slow sales because of a holiday weekend, and the real answer might have been that the kitchen was short staffed, you had the sales but couldn’t execute on ticket times.  The operations data when it is consistently recorded in an application like OpsAnalitica can be one of the most powerful tools in your restaurant.

For the next couple of days, I’m going to document Ops Data use cases that will show you how tracking and analyzing data points can help you run better operations.

Day Dots:

We all know that we should be using Day Dots in our operations to ensure that we are following the FIFO inventory methodology, serving safe food, and reducing waste.  If you don’t check your walk-in every day and record that the day dots were in use and that FIFO was being followed; will you remember that you may have had a bad week because of some training issues at the end of the quarter?  Maybe maybe not.  When you are looking at those cost numbers you may attribute the higher waste to some other issue and spend a lot of time trying to solve a problem that has already been solved or wasn’t the cause of your waste issue.  If you had that operations data and you were able to compare it to your cost data easily you would be able to see that you had some new cooks who weren’t following FIFO and you had increased waste until you were able to train them.  After the training, they were fine but during that week before you were able to train them a lot of extra food went bad and was thrown away.

This is a simple example, but it illustrates how important it is to have the complete picture of what is going on in your restaurant each and every shift in a digital format that you can use to compare to other data to make good data-driven decisions.

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US Pig Farmers Question Chipotle

I don’t anything about this “feud”, but found this blog from the Minnesota Pork Producer Council President on Minnesota Farm Living website very interesting.

A while back we posted about Chipotle cutting off their pork vendors for not meeting their guidelines. This cost them revenue in some of their locations as they didn’t have enough pork being produced to keep offering pork in all their locations. But they still stuck to their guns and I’m guessing it paid dividends with their fans.

This blog is interesting as it relates to antibiotics and US Farmers vs a particular UK Farmer that Chipotle has apparently entered into an agreement with going forward. Again, not being an expert in this field it’s hard to say what’s right and wrong. Of course Minnesota Pork Producer Council has an interest in promoting US (specifically Minnesota) pork sales and would naturally be upset seeing the business go overseas.

It would be interesting to hear the full story, but not sure that will happen. There might be other factors in play that drove Chipotle overseas vs here in the US. I have to imagine that the shipping costs have to add some costs, but on the flip side Chipotle is a huge account so I’m sure any producer is willing to work with them at some level.

I have posted the full blog below and it’s linked above. We would love any insight or knowledge if you have any.

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I read your recent announcement on your new supplier of pork for your carnitas and I couldn’t help but ask myself what you have against U.S. pig farmers. Your article discusses how your new pork supplier, Karro, a company from the United Kingdom, follows European standards that allow for antibiotics to be administered when necessary to keep an animal healthy. Karro does not give pigs non-therapeutic doses of antibiotics for growth promotion. Your comments go on to state that as a result, some of the pork Chipotle purchases from the UK comes from animals that were treated with antibiotics under veterinary supervision.

That same practice is followed here in the United States by America’s pig farmers. In fact new rules are going into effect that will make it illegal to use antibiotics for growth promotion that are considered medically important. These antibiotics will need to have a veterinary prescription before they can be purchased.

I found the next statement on your website interesting. “But this does not mean that antibiotics are present in the meat. All animals treated with antibiotics (both in Europe and the U.S.) must undergo a withdrawal period before they are slaughtered, which means that meat from a pig treated with antibiotics will not contain antibiotic residue, just like meat from an animal that was never given antibiotics.” All these years you’ve been saying that your pork is better because it comes from farms that never fed antibiotics, but now that you have a supplier that can use antibiotics, you’re admitting there will be no residue and it’s the same as pork from animals never fed antibiotics. It would appear that you have changed your message to fit your situation.

I was also concerned when I read through the chart comparing “conventionally raised” pork to Chipotle U.S and Chipotle U.K. On the topic of using antibiotics used to treat illness it was listed as an industry standard for conventional pork, but it’s prohibited by Chipotle U.S and used only when necessary by Chipotle U.K. Please tell me what I’m supposed to do when my pig gets sick. Not give it medicine to make it better? Let it get sick and die? All your early discussion of humane treatment seems to be a bit hypocritical if I can’t treat a sick animal with medicine.

At the top of your website is the phrase “Food with Integrity”. Given the examples I listed above, it makes me wonder how Chipotle defines integrity. It makes me question who Chipotle uses as a source of industry information. I know many farmers who treat animals humanely and give them antibiotics only when they are sick and keep their pigs in the barns to protect them from freezing temperatures and scorching heat. Those farmers live right here in the U.S. Chipotle, have you taken the time to talk to them?

Integrity means your actions match your words and I’m sorry Chipotle, but that’s just not the case with you anymore. Your actions seems to change depending on the situation and then the story changes to match the situation. You say there’s not enough pork raised in the U.S. to meet your standards for “Responsibly Raised” meats. If you want your animals raised a particular way, there’s your choice to help differentiate your company. However, don’t insinuate that the farmers who use a different production practice aren’t treating their animals humanely. If you want to buy pork from another country that’s your choice. However, as a consumer I prefer to support restaurants and eating establishments that support and promote U.S. agriculture.

You see Chipotle, I like Food with Integrity too and you just don’t have it.

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Yelp responds to critics

On May 22, 2015 we wrapped up a blog series on Yelp. Click here to read the wrap up post. As a Yelp user I recently conducted a search for a restaurant in West Palm Beach and I saw this new message, starting with “Your trust….”, from Yelp right below Recommended Reviews.

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I clicked on the link and read the page where Yelp gives their side of the story on reviews and yelp advertisers getting preferential treatment.  Yelp went so far as to provide examples of how users can prove to themselves that Yelp doesn’t alter reviews. I ran the test search that they provided, ironically the top two businesses that were returned had closed.

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With their test search none of the top results were current advertisers. I did a secondary search of motels that were pet friendly in Odessa Texas trying to see if the Quality Inn that was returned on my google search would show up, they did but they weren’t currently advertising. The top search result was an ad for the La Quinta, see screenshot.

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When you look at the search results you will notice that the ad spot doesn’t show the star rating or the number of reviews like the other results. It is also apparent that the it is an ad with the yellow and white ad flag in the upper left corner.

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When I clicked into the ad, I got the normal Yelp page and saw that this particular property had a 1.5 Star rating with plenty of bad reviews.
In our last blog on Yelp we called on Yelp to provide more transparency about reviews. This is a good first step. Here’s a link to the Yelp FAQ, http://www.yelp.com/advertiser_faq.

Essentials of a SMART Pre-shift Inspection

Baselines are covered first. The SMART Pre-Shift Inspection Protocol captures data that is essential to operations and inspections (fridge temps, food temps, locations of sanitizing buckets…everything you need for CYA moments and health inspections).

But the SMART Pre-Shift Inspection Protocol also collects the seemingly extraneous data that could be far more telling than the fact that the cooler maintained a <41F temperature, as required, or that cleaning chemicals were safely separated from potential contact with food.

“Seemingly extraneous data.” What’s that?

Well, we all know that restaurants succeed and fail as much on human interactions / human discretion as on the wholesale price of a salmon steak or a plate of wings. Much depends on the intangibles, which are really not intangibles at all, if they are recorded and examined.

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Imagine if you have a protocol checklist for how well dressed the wait staff is. (Crisp shirt? Check. Spotless tie? Check. Clean apron? Check. Finger nails clean? Check. Tattoos covered? Check.)

Or if the protocol checklist checked that the side work has been done.

Or if you had a check-off system to ensure that your workers didn’t take all the parking spaces nearest the entrance, when that act alone could attract (or deter) enough customers to get a solid second turn at brunch.

Or that you were aware that the ice machine is undersized for the required volume of glasses, which delayed the refills, which caused half of your patrons to skip dessert, which triggered spoilage, which made your dumpsters full one day too soon, which turned away another 30 diners who thought the establishment just looked filthy when they circled around back to park.

Make no mistake, daily line checks and temp logs are important. But they are not the only thing that a restaurant manager should be looking at. In fact, a great deal of that data is collected on a CYA basis, and it doesn’t really affect the bottom line of the operation.

There’s a free webinar on Tuesday July 14th @ 3 PM CST where you can get some new ideas on how to write your own SMART Pre-shift. Click here to register.

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“Moneyball approach ” to managing multi-location restaurants

The question is: Which data? What things should our “Moneyball scouts ” be looking at?

That’s where SMART Pre-Shift Inspection Protocols come into play.

With the SMART Pre-Shift Inspection Protocol, you can leverage your workforce to collect data, which will let you draw correlations between operations, sales, and costs. That will help you determine your shortest path to optimized profits.

Old Pilots Don’t Crash. Old Restaurants Managers Do. Ever see an old pilot skip a pre-flight checklist? Nope. That ’s why so few planes crash. Ever see an old restaurant manager (over confident that he knows it all) crash a restaurant? Yup. Happens all the time. That’s why we have to bring the rigor of the pre-flight inspection to the management of restaurants.

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SMART Pre-Shift Inspection Protocol™ is a checklist system, not unlike the pre-flight checklists that pilots run through to ensure safe operations. Except that the restaurant data that’s captured is not viewed in isolation, nor just logged and stored and never looked at again. 

The SMART Pre-Shift Inspection Protocol is performed by your workers at any skill level, using a tablet or iPad to log in the restaurateur’s most valuable assets: “in-game data.” 

Since this approach is a protocol (a programmatic workflow, based on a pre-established critical path), the SMART Pre-Shift Inspection Protocol is not dependent on the skill levels of your workers. The intelligence is embedded in the protocol itself. Literally anyone can run the protocol. 

Learn how to write your own SMART Pre-Shift Inspections at our FREE Webinar on July 14th @ 3 PM CST. Click here to register today!

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What are SMART Pre-shift Inspections?

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At OpsAnalitica, we are big believers that conducting consistent daily inspections drives better operations, safer restaurants, and increases profitability.  We are such big believers we have developed our pre-shift inspection methodology, the SMART Pre-Shift Inspection.  We will be hosting a 30-minute webinar on SMART Pre-shift inspections on Tuesday July 14th at 3:00 pm central time.

Click here to register for this FREE webinar

Here is an excerpt from our SMART Pre-Shift Training manual.

SMART is an acronym for the different categories that you should be focusing on in your pre-shift inspections.

  • S = Sanitation
  • M = Management Responsibilities
  • A = Accountability
  • R = Readiness for Guests
  • T = Temperatures

A SMART Pre-shift inspection will contain questions that take managers on a tour of their location and have

them focus on safety and readiness to serve guests. It should contain both FOH and BOH items, as well as,

items that you know are unique to the success of your operations.

The goal of conducting a SMART Pre-shift Inspection is to focus your managers on the critical success factors

of your business. To know that your operations are safe and ready to serve guests for that service period. The

act of walking around your location with a critical eye and focusing on the most important parts of your

business focus your manager’s on what is required to be successful, this is especially important for hospitality

manager’s because we are always on and almost always in front of customers.

 

All OpsAnalitica Clients get a copy of our SMART Pre-shift Inspection pre-loaded into their portal and our training manual when they sign-up for our service.  We also offer consulting services around helping you write your own SMART Pre-shift that is custom tailored to your unique operations.

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Supreme Court Ruling On Affordable Care Act

With the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act today the restaurant industry is still looking for some changes to be made as their situation is very different than most businesses. I’ll post a full article from nrn.com on the subject from today.

The provisions in the act that cause concern for the restaurant industry are:

  1. 30 hours/week or 130 hours/month being the threshold for providing healthcare
    • This can make it tougher to take advantage of a flexible work schedule as we have discussed in the past. As a server you tend to pick up shifts and give away shifts as your life dictates and that, for me anyway, was always a huge bonus of that job. But now I can see most management looking to keep everyone under the thresholds.
    • Management will have to make the decision on whether it’s worth having more employees that are not considered full time vs. ponying up for insurance.
  2. The 50 employee limit
    • This poses the biggest issue for franchise systems where a franchisee may only have 1 location with less than 50 employees, but since they are part of a larger franchise system with well over 50 employees they are getting lumped into the large business category. At least that is how I understand the situation.

Even if they are able to get some concessions they are still going to be fighting an uphill battle as competition for employees will be problem as well. If in retail people are able to get $15/hr plus healthcare it’s going to be tough to bring in good employees at less money and no healthcare. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay so I think we’re just going to have to work with it. If you can’t beat ’em, join em.

As consumers we’re just going to have to expect to pay more when we go out to eat. That’s a fact. I have copied the nrn.com article below:

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Five years after its passage, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act Thursday, in a ruling on a case that challenged the law, but trade groups representing restaurant operators said the legislation needs to be changed.

In statements following the ruling, the National Restaurant Association and the National Council of Chain Restaurants continued to push for reform of the measure designed to expand health care coverage, which they say will increase cost and complexity for restaurant owners.

The statements reveal the groups’ frustration that little has been done to address these concerns amid a sharply divided government.

“While today’s decision by the Supreme Court is one of great importance to the dialogue on health care coverage across the country, there are issues with the current law that need to be addressed,” Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, said in a statement.

“We are concerned that the issues impacting restaurants and the employer community at large have yet to move forward in Congress. Certain provisions within the ACA, like the definition of full-time employment at 30 hours, the lack of clarity regarding reporting requirements, auto enrollment, the inconsistency of defining ‘seasonal employment’ and the process of determining which businesses are considered ‘large’ under the law have placed an enormous amount of undue burden on American businesses large and small,” Sweeney said.

Likewise, the National Council of Chain Restaurants, part of the National Retail Federation, said that it wants the law reformed.

“NCCR opposed the ACA when it was passed by Congress, and we still do,” NCCR executive director Rob Green said in a statement. “The ACA’s employer mandate and unique coverage requirements inflicts negative impacts and unworkable costs on chain restaurants and its thousands of small business franchisees.

“Reform to our nation’s health care system is desperately needed, and now that the court has ruled we look forward to Congress revisiting the law to bring about greater health benefit affordability and improved access to affordable health insurance coverage for employees. Several commonsense measures are pending that would help bring down the cost of health insurance, and NCCR stands ready to work with lawmakers on bipartisan reforms to achieve that result,” Green said.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 Thursday in the case of King v. Burwell, which challenged ambiguous terminology in the law regarding tax credits paid to residents in states that refused to set up their own health insurance marketplaces.

The plaintiffs, four Virginia residents, argued that phrasing in the law should have kept residents in states without their own exchanges from getting tax credits that would enable them to buy insurance. Millions of Americans could have lost health insurance coverage if the Supreme Court ruled against the federal government.

Opponents of the ACA, often called Obamacare by critics, hoped the ruling would damage the law, which has been a major source of political tension since it was passed in 2010.

Restaurant owners, as well as the trade groups, have been among the ACA’s most vocal opponents, because restaurants have substantial labor costs and employ many part-time and low-wage employees, who often don’t have health coverage. The law’s coverage mandates could increase their costs considerably.

Still, restaurant companies have been implementing the law for years now, and many are preparing for next year, when companies with 50 or more workers will be required to provide employees coverage.

That has trade groups pushing Congress to make changes to the law. In particular, groups want to see the law’s definition of “full time” changed to employees who work 40 hours per week. The law currently requires businesses with 50 or more workers to provide coverage to “full-time” employees who work 30 hours or more per week, or 130 hours per month or more.

Bills have been introduced in Congress that would change the law’s definition to 40 hours, and the NRA, along with the International Franchise Association and other groups, have joined together to push for the measure.

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How to Handle the Press after a Bad Health Inspection

On the OpsAnalitica blog, we have written about this trend of local news stations reporting on restaurant’s health inspection scores.  It makes sense for the news stations to do these reports because the data is readily available, it advertises well, it’s easy content to produce, and my guess is that it drives viewership.  In Denver, Fox 31, has their restaurant report card segment and website.  As we have been following this in the media, we have seen a ton of these restaurant health inspection segments all around the country. If you operate a restaurant in Florida, watch out, they seem to have these reports in every major city.

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For the restaurant industry this good and bad.  I believe that more transparency around health inspections and health inspection scores puts pressure on the industry to do better, and it increases the restaurant cleanliness standards in that area.  When LA moved to letter grades system, one of the results was that there were less foodborne illness cases over time.  What they found is that bad letter grades affect revenue, a C resulted in a -1% sales dip and an A resulted in an 5 to 6% increase in sales.  The market rewards clean restaurants and punishes dirty ones.  We got this data from a grand jury report when Orange County was looking at moving to the letter grade system, click here to see the report.

I also understand the concern of restaurant owners when it comes to making this data public, it affects their business and sometimes it is hard to get a reinspection promptly.  I don’t feel bad for restaurant owners that lose revenue for being dirty, they should. I do feel bad for restaurant owners that fixed their issues, but have to wait a considerable amount of time to get reinspected.  Counties have to provide the ability to get reinspected very quickly even if they have to charge a convenience fee.

I’ve embedded the Fox 31 report from June 12th in this blog.  There are three restaurants mentioned in the report.  2 of the restaurants got F’s, and one got an A.  According to the Fox website you have to have 5 critical violations on your last two health inspections to get an F.  To get an A you have to have 0 critical violations on your last two health inspections.  This video is amazing and shows you how to and how not to handle an inquiry from the media at your restaurant.  It is 100% worth watching to see how the Blue Bonnet handled their bad score compared to Chubby’s.  

Here are my feelings after watching their segments:

  • Chubby’s
    • Didn’t answer repeated phone calls – could have been trying to evade reporters
    • Manager had face blurred – guilty and wrong
    • Written statement that was summarized – too little too late
    • Verdict:  I probably will never eat at that restaurant after seeing that report. In fairness, I don’t live close to that restaurant so my chances of popping in were low to begin with.
  • Blue Bonnet
    • Owner got interviewed – She was taking responsibility
    • She showed the media her kitchen – open nothing to hide
    • She mentioned the all the staff meetings – she took action
    • Verdict:  I may eat there again in six months or so after they have had a chance to be inspected one more time.  In fairness, we used to frequent Blue Bonnet when we lived close by and really like the food.

I hope you find this video helpful in crafting your crisis plan and how you would handle this type of interview. Also, kudos to Johnny Rockets in the Cherry Creek Mall for getting an A, I’ve eaten there several times and will be back.

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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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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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