How to improve restaurant efficiency and marginsAuthor: Ben Luxon
Efficiency is vital if you want to create a pleasant dining experience, encourage repeat eaters, and ultimately increase restaurant profits. However, an experienced restauranteur will know that there’s no magic wand that you can wave.
Instead, continuous effort needs to go into improving and maintaining processes. Everything from kitchen operations, to communications and staff management; each plays an important role in creating positive customer experiences.
In this article, we look at 9 aspects of restaurant operations which need to be continually reviewed and, when possible, improved to create a successful business and growth opportunities.
Staff training can be broken down into two parts; the first is training new staff in their roles and responsibilities, and the second is all about improving their abilities to encourage better performance.
Having well trained staff will reflect well on the restaurant improving customer experience and increasing restaurant efficiency.
In line with our previous point improving your staff’s skill and knowledge is an important part of staff management. Giving them opportunities to upskill themselves will not only help the business run more smoothly, but it’s also an excellent way to improve employee morale and ultimately employee retention reducing the need to start again from scratch with new staff.
A final thing to consider when rewarding your staff is to use your POS reporting systems to identify your highest grossing staff members and reward them appropriately.
Reduce human errors
Everyone makes mistakes and during high-pressure busy periods staff errors can compound. An error could be something as minor as pouring one too many beers or as major as getting a customers food order completely wrong.
There are several systems that you can put in place that will help reduce these errors. For example, integrating your prices into your POS so that staff don’t have to key in amounts. Or utilising table ordering so that customers can view and place their own orders digitally, removing any potential for misunderstanding or mishearing.
When running a restaurant or cafe, there are always a million things that need your attention. Those that try and do everything at once will find that they forget things, or leave jobs half done. Taking time out of your day to actively plan and organise will allow you to prioritise important tasks and make sure that you effectively delegate tasks when necessary. Something as simple as this can see restaurant efficiency skyrocket.
Having happy staff makes a huge difference, not only to efficiency but to the overall impression that customers get of the restaurant. A surly staff member who’s worked four double closes in a row isn’t going to delight customers with their wit, for example, and in such a situation customer experience will suffer.
Through a combination of the factors we’ve already mentioned you can improve staff motivation. But, it’s also worth considering creating incentives for staff that do particularly well. For example, you might drive up their average order value with a small monthly bonus to the highest-grossing staff member.
Communication between teams
One of the major drivers for restaurant inefficiency is poor communication between teams. This could be poor communication between management and staff or between FoH and Back of House (BoH) staff.
Because of this, it’s important to ensure that both staff and management have clear communication channels. For example, you might have company events where all the staff can get to know each other better.
Communication breakdowns can result in costly mistakes, tensions between teams and a stressful work environment which are always best avoided.
Expand your reach and build customer loyalty
Restaurant marketing through channels such as social media has opened up new potentials for growth. Additionally, you can build an efficient online ordering system that encourages repeat eaters, drives up average order value, and finds new customers who might otherwise have never known your restaurant existed.
While you might not think that this has anything to do with operational efficiency, by managing these areas more efficiently you can increase footfall and online orders without wildly increasing your overheads. Often efficiently building and managing a powerful online presence will require utilising modern marketing technology as well as effectively delegating tasks to staff members.
Managing your stock is one of the most time-consuming and one of the most important parts of running your business.
Using a system like MOBI you can easily manage product by labelling as out of stock in the system and even labelling when that product will be back in stock. MOBI integrates with most major POS systems to make this as efficient as possible.
Additionally, using MOBI’s reporting features you quickly see how much of each item has been sold historically, which will help you more accurately predict how much you will need to order to reduce waste while ensuring best sellers remain in stock.
According to Deloitte, restaurants that use technology to manage their establishment also have better customer experience, with customers visiting more frequently and spending more per visit. There are various aspects in which technology can help improve restaurant efficiency and in doing so help improve a restaurants profitability.
Firstly, having a high-quality POS system will help reduce human error as well as improve stock management abilities. Secondly, utilising technology like MOBI for online ordering allows you to efficiently control and manage online orders and integrate with your POS for improved stock management. By using this software you can increase brand loyalty and improve the volume of orders your restaurant receives.
Other technologies that restaurants can explore to improve restaurant efficiency include things like table ordering and kiosk ordering which enables customers to take control of their ordering, reducing wait times and human error, and subsequently improving customer dining experience to encourage repeat eaters and increased AOV.
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