Operational excellence is any industry requires preset norms and rules. Standard Operating Procedures or Restaurant SOP ensure that all outlets function smoothly and provide clarity to staff on how to carry out their duties. These guidelines also make it easier to train new staff on operational procedures.
Why Restaurant SOP is Important
The restaurant space can be daunting and restaurateurs have mentioned that it’s an industry lacking structure. Standardizing the operation procedures has many advantages including:
- Standardized routine operations: Mentioning the how and why of routine operations make it easier to train new staff and also gives more predictability on how tasks need to be carried out
- Consistency and quality control: Customers keep coming back when there is consistency in quality and services. Having a system in place that ensures that food served to customers and the way staff handle customers remain pleasant and consistent will keep the business running smoothly. SOPs are highly effective in maintaining consistency among multiple locations your restaurants are in as well
- Performance management: With the crucial operations and code of conduct listed out in the SOPs, assessing employee performance and improving efficiency becomes easier
What is Included in Restaurant SOP?
The standard operations and procedures include all the core operations in the restaurants from maintenance, food preparation, billing, customer service etc. Here’s what some standard procedures which can be a part of your SOPs:
1. Food Preparation and Handling
Kitchen operations are one of the core operations of the restaurant and it’s important to ensure that everything is running efficiently as it has a huge impact on the restaurant.
- Standard Preparation Methods and Recipes: These can include basic protocol regarding hygiene, temperatures, recipe, ingredient measurements etc.
- Food Presentation: Presentation is important and varies from meal course and service standards. This section of the SOP needs to mention the hows and whys of presentation, right from how it is plated to how it needs to be served
- Food Storage: Maintaining a proper inventory and careful food storage is extremely important in a restaurant. Detailed instructions on how food needs to be stored in terms of quality and quantity need to be mentioned. Staff also need to be trained to minimize wastage
2. Customer Service
Customer satisfaction is of utmost importance in the restaurant industry. For having successful sales and business growth, it is important to make sure that the customer has a pleasant experience, from start to finish – right from the moment they enter the restaurant to the time they clear their check and leave.
- Greeting and seating: Parameters need to be set as to how waiters need to attend to customers and that they need to be seated within a certain time limit
- Order taking and serving: Orders need to be taken in a consistent manner and as soon as possible. There also need to be rules set on how waiters need to serve them etc.
- Billing and settlement: Rules and norms need to be set on how sales, billing and other operations will be carried out, irrespective of restaurants using a POS to manage transactions
- Customer feedback management: Making customers understand that their feedback is important to improve your brand goes a long way and helps you strive to always provide customer satisfaction
3. Equipment Handling
Kitchen equipment is expensive and needs to be handled with care. The restaurant SOP should include a module on how every equipment in the restaurant needs to be handled, maintained etc.
5. Health And Hygiene
Hygiene needs to be maintained in all areas of the restaurant, which also includes the staff grooming. Clear guidelines need to be in place on how staff need to be dressed, groomed etc. as it directly reflects on your brand quality
The SOP needs to have safety measures the staff needs to adhere to while preparing and delivery food. Mismanagement and lack of care lead to accidents and everyone must be trained how to work in the kitchen and handle emergencies
Audits are key indicators enabling restaurants to measure where they stand. Having timely audits ensure that all aspects of the restaurant are in optimal condition. Five main audits that should be part of every restaurant’s SOPs are:
- Health & Safety Audit: Customer safety is your first priority. Health and safety audits need to be conducted to ensure that customers have a safe environment in terms of both infrastructure and fire safety.
- Store Audit: Stores audits are needed to understand the moving and non-moving materialistic investments within the restaurant. You get more visibility on optimal stock levels of liquor and ingredients, ideal variants and internal pilferage.
- Kitchen Audit: The kitchen is the most crucial part of the restaurant. Kitchen audits are mandatory to make sure that the kitchen is equipped to cater to customers, even during peak times and that all equipment is in the best working condition. Audits in the kitchen help you analyse what factors are reducing productivity so that corrective measures can be taken.
- Mystery Audit: Mystery audits are a great way to get realistic insights into restaurant performance based on predefined food and service parameters.
- Service Consistency Audit: Feedback surveys are a great way to engage customers in helping you improve customer delight. A quick survey while customers are waiting for the check can help you understand if their expectations of food and overall customer experience were met or not
Creating Your Restaurant SOP
In order to create your SOPs, keeping core procedures in mind is important as it varies for different kinds of restaurants. Customer retention is one of the major aspects of running a successful restaurant business. People will keep going back to a place where they feel appreciated. So a lot more goes into becoming successful than just being able to serve the best food in town. Standardized procedures common to most restaurant SOPs are:
- Define core processes: Having a clear picture of all the core processes that make your restaurant, the subsequent procedures on how everything needs to be carried out in different departments within the restaurant falls into place
- Map operational procedures: After core processes are decided, the next step is to add details as to how each task needs to be carried out. Getting in touch with customers for suggestions and feedback to provide the best customer experience goes a long way in how each task in your restaurant is carried out
- Create checklists and audit forms: Checklists for routine operations ensure that the staff is working according to the right guidelines. And now, with the advancement of technology, you don’t have to rely on paper-based checklists and forms. Pazo helps you automate your routine operations and you can create and assign checklists to staff on duty and it will recur as per your set schedule
Your restaurant SOP is an extremely helpful guide to maintain consistency in brand standards, service quality and customer satisfaction, especially when you run a chain of restaurants. Having standardized procedures in place is the first step to achieving operational excellence in your restaurant.
Want to know how Pazo can help you make routine operations efficient? Talk to our Customer Success Officer today.