Tag : food quality

HomePosts Tagged "food quality"

Flavorless Pizza

Last weekend I ordered pizza from a new place in our neighborhood that we had never tried.  We had friends over, and they swear by this place, so we gave them a shot.

The pizza was flavorless.  My friend who orders from them regularly commented on how the pizza wasn’t up to par.  My guess is that someone over there screwed up on their sauce recipe because the pizza looked properly constructed.

My order was $30 for a pizza, wings, and a salad.  I’m not going to order from them again for quite some time if ever.  You only get one chance to make a first impression, and they didn’t do well.

So now, all of their hard work to get me as a new customer was for nothing.  All of the marketing, the mailers, the signage, the making great pizza for my friends so many times amounted to nothing in my case.

Here is the kicker, this entire scenario was avoidable by doing a line check and tasting their sauce and ingredients before the shift.  A line check would have caught this issue, and they would have had time to fix their sauce.

Had they done a line check and served the pizza they thought they were; I might be an enthusiastic new customer of theirs.

Line checks are not optional.  They are a required for running a successful restaurant.

I would like to give you our new white paper, 7 Tips for Faster Better Line Checks today by clicking here.  In this white paper, we do a deep dive on some ways to make your line check more effective and quicker to execute.

Click to have your copy of 7 Tips for Faster Better Line Checks delivered to you inbox today.

Hope you have a safe and profitable New Years Eve!

If you have any questions give me a call or send me an email any time. Or if you are interested in seeing an OpsAnalitica demo, click here to schedule.

7 Tips for Faster Better Line Checks

Chef Tasting Food

Pre-shift line checks are a requirement for running a successful restaurant.  Line checks provide management the ability to inspect their restaurant before the meal period to:

  • Ensure that they are stocked properly, Pars
  • The right food is on the line, FIFO
  • That everything is safe to serve, Temperature Control
  • The correct serving ladles and spoons are being used, Portion Control
  • That all food is fresh and tastes correct, Food Comp Reduction
  • Basic food safety and cleanliness practices are being met, Sanitation

If you are not conducting line checks every meal period, from my experience, you don’t even know what you don’t know about what is going on in your kitchen.  My guess is that if you started doing line checks  you would be very surprised at what you find.

Here are some tips to make your line checks faster and more effective:

  1. Thorough is Better:  Look at every item that you are going to be serving that shift.  Don’t assume that because it was checked on the last shift that it is still good to serve.
  2. Make a line check kit:  It doesn’t have to be fancy but you should grab a full pan and load it up with the things you are going to need to conduct your line check and then bring the kit with you to each station in the restaurant.  A good kit should contain:
    1. Sanitizer bucket with 1 wet towel for cleaning off thermometer probes
    2. 1 dry towel
    3. Sanitizer test strips
    4. Dishwasher test strips if different
    5. 1 bucket with clean spoons for tasting (figure out how many spoons you will need to taste every item and bring that many)
    6. 1 bucket for dirty spoons
    7. Thermometer(s)
    8. Fryer oil test kit if you use one
    9. Post-its and a pen – for leaving notes for crew
  3. Write SMART Questions:  For any food item you should:
    1. Temp the item
    2. Taste the item when appropriate
    3. Ensure it is labeled correctly with expiration date
    4. Check that it is in the correct container size
    5. Has the correct portion control in place (spoodle, ladle, measuring cup, check weight of random item, etc..)
  4. Use Multiple Thermometers:  The average probe thermometer takes 1 to 5 seconds to register a temp.  If you are going to be temping your entire line you are adding unnecessary time to your line check if you only use 1 thermometer.  Use at least two or four at a time.  By the time you place the 4th thermometer the 1st one has probably registered the temp.  This will speed up your line checks
  5. Check for critical violations:  You should take this opportunity to be looking for other critical violations in your restaurant:
    1. Sanitizer buckets: proper concentration, towels, temperature
    2. Dishwasher: water temperature, sanitizer concentrations, etc..
    3. Improper food storage:  look in dry storage and refrigerator units for proper shelves, cool down procedures, covers, and labels
    4. Temperatures:  record temps for all cold and hot hold units
  6. Correct any critical violations immediately:  As you are walking around conducting your line check if you stumble upon a critical violation you need to fix it immediately.  Fixing might consist of you stopping what you are doing and fixing it yourself or delegating it to a member of the crew.  You need to flag that item and re-check that it was fixed before service starts.
  7. Implement quality management processes & job aides:  OpsAnalitica drives line check compliance by providing a customized end user exerience that provides team members all the data they need in order identify and remediate issues in real-time before they affect customers.  Above store leaders are able to effectively manage and coach employees to maximize performance.  Our clients see a 1/2 to 1% decrease in food costs due to reduced comps and better inventory management.  Our clients are reporting increased temperature compliance and safety.

Here is an additional guide that you might find useful:

  1. Calibrate your thermometer

Operations, Data, & Reporting in Restaurants Part III

ops-back-image-11

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.

250X250 SI Ebook Download w Border

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.

linkedin_follow