How Restaurant Checklists Could Have Prevented this Bad Experience

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How Restaurant Checklists Could Have Prevented this Bad Experience

In the competitive world of restaurants, independent establishments often find themselves comparing their operations to the seamless efficiency of chain restaurants. Chains boast long lines of eager customers, consistent service, and minimal employee issues. However, the reality is that even chain restaurants face challenges, and these can be entirely avoidable. I’m going to share about my recent dining experience at Chipotle Mexican Grill and how restaurant checklists could have prevented this bad experience.

Chipotle is among our favorite chain restaurants, offering a reliable and consistent dining experience. However, on this particular day during Christmas week, our enthusiasm quickly waned due to a series of avoidable mishaps.

Arriving promptly at 10:45 a.m., the posted opening time, my wife and I found the doors locked and witnessed a chaotic scene inside. A line began forming, and it took until around 11 a.m. for the doors to finally open. The initial inconvenience was forgivable, given the nature of quick-service establishments.

As the second and third customers in line, we entered the familiar ordering routine at Chipotle. Unfortunately, the person ahead of us faced challenges with a new employee, resulting in a poorly assembled burrito. This, coupled with a shortage of essential items like forks, contributed to a growing list of disappointments.

The issues persisted at the register, where a lack of communication about the absence of iced tea and the absence of necessary utensils further dampened our experience. Even the outdoor patio lacked proper setup, revealing a lack of attention to detail.

To top it off, my burrito had crunchy rice, likely a consequence of rushing due to understaffing or poor management. The overall experience left us discussing the negatives rather than enjoying our meal.

Despite this disappointing experience, I found myself back at the same Chipotle within a week. This phenomenon is common with chain restaurants, where customers often forgive and forget subpar experiences, unlike the harsh judgments faced by independent restaurants.

Independent restaurants are held to a higher standard, with every misstep likely to be broadcast on social media. To overcome this, it is essential for restaurant owners to lead their teams and ensure a culture of preparedness through comprehensive checklists.

Implementing opening and closing checklists for every position, overseen by managers, can significantly reduce the chances of a chaotic dining experience. By ensuring that these restaurant checklists are followed diligently, independent restaurants can create an environment where bad days are the exception, not the rule.

The Chipotle incident serves as a reminder of the importance of restaurant checklists in maintaining the smooth operations of independent restaurants. By adopting this systematic approach, owners can instill a culture of preparedness, providing customers with a consistently positive dining experience. So, if you want to avoid becoming the Chipotle of the morning, embrace restaurant checklists and set your restaurant on a path to success.

Be sure to visit my YouTube channel for more helpful restaurant management video tips.

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