Start with the Foundation of Restaurant Systems

restaurant checklists restaurant systems

You've heard the term restaurant systems. So, what does that mean? And where do you start? Click the video below or continue scrolling down to read about the foundation to all restaurant systems and how to use them to lower restaurant costs and increase profits.

What is the foundation of restaurant systems? Well, let me walk you through the three things you must have when we talk about foundational restaurant operations.

First, you have to have Restaurant 101 dialed in. That's hot food hot, cold food cold and a clean, safe work environment for guests and employees. Your Restaurant 101 should aim for WOW customer service and an incredible product, the things you can use to differentiate your business from the competition. You’re in the hospitality business creating memories. So, Restaurant 101 first.

Second in developing and using systems are checklists and third is cash controls. Checklists and cash controls create a culture in your restaurant where the details matter. Now, I'm not going to talk about too much about cash controls, which makes sure every penny of profit makes it into the bank. Instead, I want to focus on the foundation to all systems, and that's checklists.

See, checklists allow you impose your will without being in the restaurant. They set up your standards for your business, from cleanliness to service standards to product quality to line checks to passive and critical control points. They give the steps to make sure that your food is safe, the portions are consistent. They guide you in the prep list, scheduling and cutting labor. You can literally checklist everything.

My son, when he was in high school, worked for one of the Yum Brands locations, 14,000 restaurants. One of them was a Taco Bell that he worked for here in Phoenix, Arizona. No owners there, but he would run through that checklist of everything from the rehydrated meat to how to clean the restaurant. And a manager came through and just checked off that they did those things because the standards were set.

As an independent operator, if the first thing that came into your mind was, “We have checklists; I can't get anybody to use them. They don't work,” I’m going to tell you right now, it's because your checklists suck. They're not detailed enough, and you're holding the wrong person accountable.

Think about checklists as the foundation to all of your systems, because if you can't get a manager to use a checklist, what makes you think that they’re going to take inventory Sunday night accurately and on time? If you’re going to hold your management team accountable to those checklists, and they decide to let employees go home without doing that side work, then they must get it done themselves. You want to create a culture of close to open, that each manager has each other's back. Do that a few times and guess what – your managers are going to make sure those standards are met.

That's why checklists are so critical.

  1. They set your standards.
  2. They allow you to impose your rule without being there.
  3. They implement accountability without being a micromanager or a frustrated owner.

Take this free restaurant evaluation. It takes about 10-15 minutes to fill out and when you're done, you’ll have a 20-25-page customized report based on your answers about your restaurant. It will show you where your gaps are in the 23 stages. There are no strings attached. Just look at it for where your gaps are and what you should be working on now.

I teach systems in my book, Restaurant Prosperity Formula: What Successful Restaurateurs Do, which you can order here.

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