A restaurant business is daunting to manage and can be very unregulated if you don’t have the right SOPs in place.
Why are SOPs so important?
The answer lies in your brand image. In a restaurant industry, your guests have a big say on your brand image. The most obvious way they can affect that is by giving their feedback online or to their immediate contacts. And so ensuring the guests have a good experience and in a way that also sets apart your mannerisms, service is crucial. In the end, every restaurateur is selling an experience and this experience itself is what guests view as the brand. To maintain that brand, every task should be standardized in the form of Standard Operating Procedures checklists so that there is clarity on how the staff should carry out their duties according to the set procedures. The objective here is that no matter which chain of the restaurant your guests visit, they feel invited the same way everywhere.
Standardizing the operation procedures has other 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. The SOP guidelines also make it easier to train new staff on operational procedures.
- 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 is served to customers and the way staff handle customers remains 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.
Things To Consider When Setting Your Business SOPs
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
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.
4. 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
So how do you go creating these SOPs?
In order to create your SOPs, first you may want to list out all the areas that are critical for your business. For example 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. Once you figure those out, the next steps are to:
- 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 task management tool helps you automate your routine operations and you can create and assign regular checklists to staff on duty and ensure that these tasks are done with just their mobile in hand!
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.
So how can PAZO help you maintain a good restaurant image? Put it simply, PAZO is a task management software where the daily tasks are digitized as checklists.And it not only ensures the timely adherence to these checklists but also gives everyone a capability where they can connect to their supervisors or managers instantly whenever they need. What’s more? You can add staff inside the app that can see all this data which makes it easier for you and the staff members to stay ‘reported’. PAZO is used in a variety of industries. The retail industry for instance uses it for compliance of SOP checklists like store audit checklists, safety audit checklists, daily housekeeping checklists, visual merchandising, compliance audits, retail performance review and much more.
Want to know how Pazo can help you make routine operations efficient?