Author : Tommy Yionoulis

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How much money do we lose every year?

 

Having manager’s perform SMART Pre-Shift Inspections every meal period refocuses them on what is important to running a successful operation. The benefit of focus is something that I had to rediscover recently, but it makes so much sense.

We don’t do enough as an industry to focus and ground our manager’s every single shift on what is important to running a profitable business, and it is a gigantic missed opportunity. Managers are expected to be multi-tasking omnipotent robots that can instantly shift between their different responsibilities, and that is just not always the case.

I was a floor manager at one of the busier Changs in the early 2000’s when it was not uncommon for us to be on a 1:45-minute wait on a Monday night. I remember it as a very chaotic job that could go from 0 to 60 to 30 to 90 to 120 back to 0 in a single shift.

I remember scrambling to work on projects and deal with putting out fires in that two-hour window between lunch and dinner. Then getting back into the driver seat again for the dinner rush.

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I have also managed at slower restaurants, and I found myself fighting boredom and apathy. Trying to stay motivated and keep my team motivated to give great service.

Manager’s make restaurants successful. We have all seen a manager who got a location rocking and rolling: high sales, good profits, great service. They leave, and the next guy comes in and this location goes from hero to zero in 3 months. There were no major changes in the area driving the decline, it was just that the new manager couldn’t keep the staff on point, service up, and customers reacted.

It is the nature of this industry that we have customers in our building for large portions of our day. There is a ton of moving pieces that need to be dealt with every single shift. It is easy to get caught up in fire fighting and then stumble into your next shift without having the opportunity to focus yourself and your team on what is important.

Two tools that I have seen implemented with a lot of success are SMART pre-shift Inspections that manager’s conduct before each meal period and pre-shift meetings with each department.

SMART Pre-shift inspections get your managers walking around your restaurant looking at your critical safety and operational readiness items ensuring that you are ready to handle the rush. Performing this inspection reminds managers what is important and helps them catch things that they might have missed if they hadn’t done the inspection.

Pre-shift meetings with service and kitchen teams give us an opportunity to communicate shift info to the team and get them focused on serving guests.

Both tools have the same effect on your restaurant, they focus your staff on what is important, and that focus cascades through your operations.

We have recently created a free ebook on SMART Pre-shifts you can get a copy by clicking here.

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Due Diligence and Due Care in the Restaurant Business

Due Diligence and Due Care are words  generally associated with investing, contracts, and lately network security.  In my last position working in custom application development and  cyber security those terms were defined as:

Due Diligence: Identifying threats and risks.
Due Care: Acting upon identified threats to mitigate risks.
I believe that the hospitality industry better adopt Due Diligence and Due Care as management concepts that we fully embrace and implement into our business processes.
In the context of restaurant management, I look at Due Diligence as doing what it takes to serve safe food in a safe environment.  I didn’t say delicious food I said safe food.  Meaning that we use HACCP principles to ensure that the food products that we are serving have been delivered, stored, and prepared safely.
Most restaurants today are, or should be, conducting daily inspections of their facilities paying attention for critical food safety violations.  Making sure food is stored safely, chemicals are stored away from food, temperature discipline is maintained both in cooling and heating.  We aren’t introducing foreign contaminants into the food preparation areas.
By following best practices and inspecting daily, we are performing our Due Diligence in providing safe food for our customers.  Due Diligence is only half of the battle, Due Care is the other half.
Due Care procedures are the processes that you have in place for when you identify an issue.  The key to Due Care is consistent and documented application of the process.
You may be familiar with the phrase “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up” that gets you into trouble.  That is especially true when you are doing your Due Diligence, conducting a pre-shift inspection, and you identify an issue but then you don’t correct the issue safely.
An example might be that you fill out a temperature log for a walk-in refrigerator, and you record a 65-degree temperature.  The person completing the temperature log doesn’t do anything to fix the issue, they just serve the food and they get a lot of people sick.
We as a nation are very intolerant of companies that had enough forethought to identify a critical area on an inspection but then not have a plan to fix the issue when they identified it.  We find that unacceptable, and for good reason, you wouldn’t want to fly in a plane where the pilot knew it was missing a wing but decided to take-off.
In the above example, we would hold the company responsible for, not training their inspector well enough to know that a 65-degree walk-in is very bad.  We would also hold them responsible for, not having a well-documented procedure to deal with the issue.
Look at your real-world experience, we for the most part understand when people make mistakes or accidents happen.  We get furious and litigious when mistakes are made and the people responsible are clueless when they should have known better.  We get even with businesses that profit while their customers get hurt.
As hospitality professionals, we have to make sure that our organizations, size doesn’t matter, have well documented Due Diligence and Due care processes in place.  More importantly we have to train, consistently follow, and document those processes in their application.  It is when we consistently apply our processes that we have a chance of protecting our brand and our businesses when we make a mistake.
My name is Tommy Yionoulis, and I’m a restaurant guy and a software guy.  I’m one of the founders of OpsAnalitica; you can learn more about our company at www.opsanalitica.com.

First Watch Restaurant Shut Down for Live Insects

Here is another example of one bad actor running unsafe operations bringing unwanted media attention to the whole chain.

Click here to watch the news report

This is a trend, local news stations are trying to own food safety. In Denver, it is Fox 31; this story is by an ABC affiliate in Tampa. The reporter states to friend her on Facebook and send her tips on dirty restaurants. We can expect to see more of these stories.

Report Card:

First watch corporate based on our information gets a C.

Things they did well:

  1. They got Steritech in there to deal with the roach problem quickly.
  2. They released a statement from corporate.
  3. I’m inferring this from the report, they use Steritech or some other company, to inspect several times a year.

Things they could have done better:

  1. The completely glossed over the troubling things: roaches are gross, but they aren’t as dangerous as 56-degree pancake batter.
  2. Chemicals cross contamination is terrifying; ask the poor woman in Utah, who drank the bad sweat tea.
  3. The biggest ding against First Watch corporate; they don’t have the proper systems in place to identify issues and to ensure that their restaurants are performing safely at all times.

3rd party inspections a couple of times a year aren’t enough. You need systems in place to identify issues on a daily basis and to hold restaurant managers/owners accountable. I’m not advocating Orwellian type oversight. I’m not saying you need more area manager’s or a restaurant cop in every restaurant every day making sure that nothing bad ever happens.

I’m advocating:

  • Building a culture of responsibility and using those cultural standards to weed out people who don’t fit in your organization.
  • Setting up incentive based systems where you reward your teams for doing things right.
  • Designing your systems so that everyone is getting training on the critical things frequently.
  • Using technology to gather information.
  • Most importantly having the due care processes in place, so that when you identify an issue there is a clear set of guidelines that your team follows to correct it.

My name is Tommy Yionoulis and I’m a restaurant and software guy.  If you like what you read, please follow OpsAnalitica on LinkedIn and follow our blog.

The NRA’s Response to the State of the Union Address

Please take a look at the National Restaurant Association’s Official Response to the State of the Union Address.  I would like to add two personal notes to this story.

I started my working life at age 14 at a Jerry’s Subs and Pizza in Columbia MD.  I think it is fair to say that at the time I wasn’t the most productive or highly skilled employee, I was uncoordinated and goofy.  I would never have made that first paycheck or been able to get that first job at Jerry’s if they couldn’t afford to hire and train me.

In 2008,  I managed the Franchise Assistance Program at a large sandwich chain.  My job was to offer business coaching and assistance to franchisees who were struggling.  Remember how franchise chains work.  When you see the Subway in your local strip center, it isn’t owned by the Subway corporation with it’s billions of dollars in revenues and resources; it is owned by one of your neighbors.

Please click here to read the NRA’s Official Response to the State of the Union Address.

 

My name is Tommy Yionoulis and I’m a restaurant and software guy.  If you like what you read, please follow OpsAnalitica on LinkedIn and follow our blog.

 

Health Department Investigating Illnesses At Opryland Hotel

This article, Health Department Investigating Illness at Opryland Hotel, illustrates one of our key beliefs at OpsAnalitica. In today’s connected world, a news story like this can reach a national audience in minutes. I live in Colorado, and this article was sent to me by a friend.

The title of this article is meant to alarm people. When you read the article it seems as though Opryland acted responsibly, self-reporting to the health department, and went above and beyond to help their guests by supplying medical care.

On the OpsAnaltica blog, we are going to call them as we see them, and we believe that Opryland Hotel handled this situation well.
If they were using the OpsAnalitica platform they, would have been able to show investigators every self-inspection they had done to ensure the safety of their guests but that fact is for another post.