Many restaurants fail because they simply failed to plan.
How do you avoid failure — small or epic? It’s simple really. You plan for success. You put yourself and your restaurant in a prepared state that can handle anything that is thrown at it.
Planning for success requires the implementation and consistent execution of a list of very specific systems and more importantly, someone inspecting that the systems are followed on a daily basis.
Here are the top six systems you can’t survive without.
Sales Forecasts – Predicting sales is critical to any restaurant. If you don’t document what you think you are going to do in sales for each day of the week, you run the risk of buying too much or not enough product. You run the risk of bringing in too many or too few employees. Each scenario results in lost opportunity and profits because you probably wasted products, 86’d items, lost money at the time clock or provided your guests a terrible experience at every turn, virtually destroying your business as they go off and tell everyone they know and on the Internet, through Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and more, how you suck!
Budget – A budget is critical to the successful implementation of systems, because it gives you cost of goods sold and labor targets. Without targets, you simply cannot make the right decisions and cannot measure your success, because you don’t even know what success looks like. (Check out our free restaurant budget report for a step-by-step guide in creating an effective budget for your restaurant).
Purchase Allotment System – The purchase allotment system is based on sales forecasts for the entire month, your actual sales for the entire month as they happen, as well as your food or beverage purchases as they are delivered each day. This system ensures that management knows how much money they have to spend to not only make sure you have enough product, but to do it within budget, making it easier to keep your cash in the bank and not on the shelves being risked to waste, spoilage or theft. Most of my most successful members pin their restaurant’s turnaround to this system.
Labor Allotment System – Labor allotment is a system that’s based on sales forecasts for the next week and the actual hours worked and sales for last week. With it you can easily alter your schedules to meet budget by letting each manager know how many hours and dollars they have for next week’s schedule so they can adjust them appropriately. For most restaurants, this is the first step in making sure you don’t schedule too many or too few hours to insure the guest has a great experience and you don’t lose money at the time clock.
Order Par Levels – The days of your chef or kitchen manager ripping off a cardboard box lid and heading into the walk-in cooler with a grease pencil just staring up at the shelves like a tourist in New York City with their mouth wide open and ordering based on their intuition need to end. By asking your vendors for a descending case report and some simple formulas in a spreadsheet, you can easily calculate how much of each product you need to have based on your anticipated volumes, like clockwork. Creating ordering pars means that anyone who is trained to count the product on the shelves accurately can create an order that puts you in a position to succeed.
Prep System – This is one of the most amazing systems because it really is a simple clipboard system that promotes teamwork, trust and a kitchen that is always prepared for anything that comes its way. It promotes teamwork and trust because as a shift is finishing up, those cooks are counting prepped products in their stations so the next shift walks in knowing exactly what needs to be prepped or gathered to run a successful shift without running out of product in the middle of the shift. The simple byproduct is a shift where no one leaves the line during the busiest times of the day to find or prep product to complete tickets.
Let me be perfectly clear, the implementation of these systems is extremely important to your success. They are the keystone to your planning process and will guide you to a successful shift each and every day. But the piece of the puzzle that makes this all work is someone on the management team or in ownership that inspects that the systems are not only being used, but completed on time each and every day.
While we hope that we can simply count on everyone on the management team to be an adult and do what is required, there are many things that can derail the process. A simple inspection is all that is needed to get things back on course.
Implement these six systems and then inspect what you expect to be on your way to flawless shifts on a daily basis, a restaurant filled with happy trained employees and happy guests.
Translation: these systems create a restaurant that people love to go to and that makes money.