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Archive | Restaurant Management and Operations

Find great resources and tips on restaurant management and operations topics like human resources, food safety, going green, and more.

Want To Start An Independent Restaurant? Start With The Incubator

Mama's Small Business Kitchen IncubatorEvery restaurateur has been through the baptism by fire known as Opening Night.  Those who have survived can testify to the nerve-racking experience of preparing menu items for the first time for a dining room full of people.  Many hopeful entrepreneurs have had their dreams realized or crushed on opening night, and anyone wanting to start a restaurant had better be prepared for the big night.

The problem many new restaurant owners have is that building out a new kitchen often runs right up until opening, and that leaves precious little time to test out batches and recipes before the Big Night.  Any new kitchen is inevitably going to run into some kinks, but surprisingly few new owners get the chance to practice their chops before they have to come up big on the first night.

Luckily for new restaurant owners in Pasadena, CA, a local non-profit has styled itself as a “restaurant incubator.”  Mama’s Small Business Kitchen Incubator provides a state-of-the-art kitchen for rent at an extremely reasonable rate for aspiring restaurateurs.  Anyone serious about opening a restaurant can have full access to Mama’s kitchen for a small hourly fee and after taking a safe food handling course.

The opportunity to try out recipes and batch sizes, as well as experiment with the latest restaurant equipment, means that a new restaurant owner can identify problems before they start well before the most important night of a restaurant’s life.  Mama’s is also available for other segments of the food service industry like caterers, concessions, and even institutions.

The best part about Mama’s is that affordable access to all that shiny new restaurant equipment isn’t even the best part.  Entrepreneurs who have been there rave about the people at the non-profit, all of whom are veteran restaurateurs who can provide a lot of golden advice to the newbies.  Those that survive the reality check that Mama’s provide will more than likely find their opening night a lot less daunting.

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Why Card Check Is The Symptom, Not The Disease

Card Check LegislationLike it or not, small business owners like many in the food service industry are experiencing a period of drastic change labor laws.  As health care reform becomes a reality, several other projects championed by Democratic lawmakers will start nudging their way back to the top of the agenda – including the much maligned Employee Free Choice Act, also known as Card Check.

The legislation would change the way unions are formed in the workplace, making it easier for employees to mobilize and vote on unionization and limiting interference by employers.  Critics say unions would be able to intimidate workers into unionizing under card check.

Predictably, industry groups like the National Restaurant Association (NRA) are against card check, citing an insufferable increase in operating costs as their primary grievance.  The debate over card check heated up over the summer then died down with the emergence of health care reform.  But it will soon return as a hot button issue in 2010, and both sides are already starting to mobilize.

The irony is that health care reform and card check legislation are symptoms of a deeper problem, and are not in themselves the issue.  Restaurateurs and industry groups like the NRA would do well to recognize the trends in worker attitudes that have led to support for reform, rather than bemoaning the legislation that has been proposed as a result.
It all boils down to this: workers aren’t happy with their compensation or their benefits.  According to an article by Joseph Gravish, a human resources professional, employee surveys reveal that less than 35% of workers are satisfied with their benefits and 26% are satisfied with their compensation, and 80% would move to another job if the opportunity was better.Card Check Unionization

For restaurant owners and managers, it’s easy in a down labor market to take employees for granted.  Stories like the Applebee’s that opened in the Bronx last summer after receiving 6,500 applicants for 120 positions (Harvard has a higher acceptance rate) can lull you into a false sense of security: “If you don’t want to work here, I’ll find someone who does.”  Add the cash flow crisis that has resulted from the drop in consumer spending, and you get managers who just aren’t willing to spend any more than they absolutely have to on payroll.

The problem is, the labor market won’t be down forever.  Even worse, most businesses, especially in food service, didn’t invest much in their employees when times were good.  The result is an unhappy workforce ready for bills like Card Check to help them force positive change in the terms of their employment.

Creative compensation strategies and greater employee involvement in wage and benefit decisions are ways restaurants can avoid the unionization of their workforce.  As the NRA loves to point out, food service is one of the biggest employers by industry in the U.S.  Their point is that hurting their business hurts overall employment.  By the same token, food service should be taking a leadership role on labor issues, rather than squabbling with Congress over bills like card check.

Being proactive rather than reacting to symptoms of labor unrest like card check is food service’s recipe for better relations with their workers.  Trying to excuse your way out of dealing with worker dissatisfaction is a guaranteed way to cultivate the very thing most restaurateurs want to avoid: the unionization of their workforce.

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This Isn’t Your Mother’s Happy Hour

The happy hour has long been the domain of college bars, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and after-work watering holes.  These establishments always understood a cardinal rule in driving business: a busy place is a place people want to be, and the easiest way to fill up a bar or dining room early is with a happy hour special.

Of course, many restaurants focused on good food, excellent service, and solid advertising to drive business, and for a long time it was easy to fill dining room and pack bars without having to discount during happy hour.

That model is working less and less as customers in all segments of the food service industry continue to insist on deals and discounts to get them to buy.  As a result, fine dining has started getting into the happy hour game in order to get butts in seats and keep them there.

This also isn’t the happy hour you might remember from five years ago.  It isn’t just a couple domestic beers on tap for $2 anymore.  Many restaurants are taking their happy hour all out, with special tapas style menus at bargain-basement prices and premium cocktails for $5.  Happy hour has also gotten much longer, from 2-3 hours to 4-5 hours of deals.

The effect in restaurants and bars that have gotten aggressive with their happy hours is noticeable.  Customer traffic tends to peak in the last hour, and that makes the place look active and exciting to potential walk-ins.  It beats the heck out of a couple quiet diners whispering over cocktails at two tables in the corner.

If you’re considering adding a happy hour or spicing up the one you’ve got, keep a few key factors in mind:

Happy hours should make the customer happy.  These days, your customers aren’t looking for a dollar off a Budweiser.  They want more, and they’re getting it as restaurateurs continue to fight for business.  Make your happy hour a smokin’ deal if you really want to ratchet up the buzz and the traffic.

Create a special menu.  There’s no need to lose your butt on your dinner apps just to stay competitive.  Take your highest margin apps and entrees and turn them into smart, fun, finger-style dishes that can be prepared fast and efficiently, preferably with a margin you can’t lose on.

Spend some money advertising.  If you’re changing up the menu and slashing drink prices, you need volume.  You’re not going to get volume if you don’t get the word out.  Start with your regular customers and then hit the rest of the market with whatever you’ve got (and whatever you can afford): email marketing, local ads, flyers, etc.

Once you’ve got ‘em in the door, keep ‘em!  Customers are there because you’ve gotten their attention with some good deals.  There’s never been a better opportunity to get them to stay.  Use happy hour menus to advertise dinner specials and train your staff to drop some great deals on happy hour patrons before they leave.  At the very least, they may come back for dinner another time after learning that your deals don’t end at 7 pm.

From the looks of it, happy hour specials are here to stay, and if you’re not in the game, your competition is or will be soon.  Many restaurateurs accept this as a fact of life and have already gone after happy hour crowds.  Fine dining, on the other hand, has held on to their prices and focused on the value of their service and product for as long as possible, but now event these places are slipping into the discount game.

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Is There Money To Be Made After Hours?

Late Night Restaurant DiningThe 24/7 lifestyle has been creeping further and further into American cities over the course of this decade.  People are out later more frequently, and many restaurants, especially in urban centers, are responding by catering to late night diners.  If done right, the late night scene can energize your restaurant and your bottom line.

To be sure, late night dining isn’t right for every restaurant.  Several factors must converge for an after-hours strategy to work for your establishment.  First on the list, as usual, is location.  Areas with high concentrations of young people (hip neighborhoods, college towns, etc.) are an obvious choice, but don’t discount proximity to entertainment venues for older couples as well.

If you decide your restaurant is well suited to start cashing in on the late night crowd, some additional work is going to be needed to ensure your success.  Here’s three tips to help you get your late night shift started on the right foot:

Adjust menus. Obviously, you don’t need or want your kitchen running on full dinner rush steam.  More importantly, the late night crowd isn’t going to want filets and big entrees.  Experiment with fun finger foods and other creative items that are easily prepared, high margin, and easy to share.

Adjust atmosphere. You don’t have to make a big production out of it, but it is important to create an atmosphere that communicates “late night” rather than “dinnertime.”  Some simple adjustments include rocking out the music a little more, brightening the lighting, and opening up the dining area to allow more of a party style gathering rather than secluded dining.

Adjust staff attitudes. Serving on the late night shift isn’t for everyone.  Finding the right kind of person to complete your restaurant’s party vibe is essential to making the whole thing work.  Getting that person is much easier if you relax dress codes and encourage a more laid-back atmosphere.  You want to do that anyway to cater to the crowd you’ll be expecting, so it may make sense to change your expectations for late night servers.

Many restaurants who have recognized that their location affords them the unique opportunity to catch an after-hours crowd have taken advantage of this underserved segment, and the results have been very positive.  If your location fits the bill, you’ve also got an opportunity to expand your customer base and the number of hours in a day your business makes money.  And that’s never a bad thing.

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22 Restaurant Management Tips

One area of the restaurant industry we have continually focused on here at The Back Burner is management.  I don’t have to tell you that restaurant managers are often overworked and under appreciated  and that’s on top of the stress involved with trying to manage a business in one of the largest and most competitive industries out there.

These restaurant management tips are meant to be useful tidbits that will make you a more effective manager, and maybe entertain/inform you at some point in your busy day.  Check them out when you have an extra three seconds of time and leave comments on your favorite posts!  Let us know what you think!

1.  How To Sell Your Restaurant – The time to sell your restaurant may come for many reasons.  Whatever the motives are behind this difficult decision, the process of selling your establishment needs to be handled carefully to make sure you get the right price at the right time.

2.  Why Buying Scales Will Save You Money– I’m not telling you anything new when I tell you that inventory control is very important in any restaurant.  But I think it’s surprising just how few restaurants view the use of scales as a way to manage shrink and really control how food product is used.

3.  How To Get A Restaurant Management Job Fast– In the beginning stages of a job search, most restaurant managers are often frustrated by the lack of response they receive from blindly sending resumes to the published markets, amazed and confused that a professional with their impressive background and qualifications could be consistently ignored or overlooked.

4.  Menu Pricing’s Theory Of Relativity – In a previous oldie-but-goodie Back Burner post I talked about menu engineering – how to put together a menu that effectively markets your dishes and makes customers want to spend more and buy high margin menu items.  One thing that post did not touch upon, however, was how to price and organize those prices on the menu.

5.  Restaurant Management: No Training Budget?  Spend Nothing But Time And Succeed – According to a new study by the Council of Hotel And Restaurant Trainers (CHART), 53% of the restaurants surveyed had cut back on their employee training budgets.  Only 19% increased their budget, with the rest remaining the same.

6.  California & Vermont Restaurants: Are You Compliant? – If you’re in the food service industry in either California or Vermont, then this blog post is for you.  New legislation in these two states changes the kind of faucets and pipe fittings that can be installed in restaurants and commercial kitchens starting early next year.

7.  How To Grow Your Restaurant – Without Going Broke – Restaurants are a business like any other, and as an entrepreneur, you’ve already taken the plunge into the risky but potentially rewarding world of business ownership.  Growing a business is never easy, and trying to grow that business in the current economic climate is even harder, which is why a few key principles for small business ring more true today than ever.

8.  Is Your Restaurant Truly Family Friendly?– According to a recent survey by the National Restaurant Association (NRA), 75% of restaurants offer a children’s menu and another 6.25% are considering offering one.  Most restaurants understand the need to cater to young families and accommodate them in every way possible.

9.  Restaurant Management: Use Creative Compensation Strategies – The traditional model has been to pay your kitchen by the hour depending on what they do, let waitstaff earn their living on tips, and maybe pay a hostess by the hour as well if you get too busy.

10.  Are You Ready For Flu Season? – Personally, if I never hear another story about H1N1 (swine) flu again, I’ll die a happy man.  Unfortunately, the grim reality is everyone is going to have to take steps to combat the spread of flu this winter, and restaurants are no exception.

11.  A Free Inventory Management Tool???  Where Do I Sign Up? – Count-n-Control is the brainchild of long-time industry pro Paul Clarke, and it’s a tool that is going to revolutionize how you track inventory in your restaurant.  No, Count-n-Control doesn’t have some crazy new way to track your stock so that shrink is 100% eliminated, and no, it’s not going to help you find the cure for cancer.

12.  Use Edible Scraps To Create Restaurant Family Meals – The “restaurant family meal” is a central event in many well-run restaurants.  Just before the dinner rush front of house and back of house staff gather to enjoy a well-cooked meal prepared by the chef.

13.  Management Styles – Micro Manager or Laissez Faire? – Your management style can have a lot to do with your success in running a restaurant, or any other business. While people can debate all day long about which is the best management style to use in different situations, one thing people will agree on, if you get it right (or wrong) it can have a big affect on the success of your business.

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New York City Health Department Finds Menu Labeling Affects Consumer Behavior

Restaurant Menu LabelingNutrition information on menus is a trend in food service that doesn’t seem to be going away.  Legislation is still working its way through Congress that would require menu labeling.  In the meantime, New York City has had its own menu labeling law for fast food chains in place for some time now.  The question has been, as critics love to point out, exactly how effective is a list of nutrition information on helping consumers make better decisions?

Despite an independent study that found no effect on the amount of calories customers ordered, New York’s study, conducted by the Department of Health, found that the presence of menu labels reduced the number of calories ordered at 9 of 13 fast food chains.  Over 22,000 patrons were surveyed at 275 locations over 2 years, about half before the city’s law went into effect and half after.

The New York law is considered a model for other cities and states looking at menu labeling, including California.  More than likely, a national bill will mandate labeling for restaurant chains with 20 or more locations at a minimum.

From an independent operator standpoint, menu labeling can seem like an unnecessary expense, and one that is particularly hard to bear after the year the food service industry has had.  In general, it’s probably too early for independents to move on menu labeling just yet, but it seems fairly certain that new requirements loom on the horizon.

That doesn’t have to be viewed as a bad thing.  As consumers become accustomed to seeing nutrition information with the meals they order, those labels will be seen as a value-added service provided by the restaurant.  That will mean menu labeling will become a fundamental piece of marketing for just about every restaurant, regardless of the segment of the food service industry they occupy.

Like nutrition facts on groceries 20 years ago, menu labeling will start off controversial and meet significant opposition.  Over time labeling will become just as ubiquitous as nutrition facts.  It’s simply a question of when your restaurant conforms to the trend.

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Standardized Coding for Restaurant Products. It’s about time!

Standardized Bar Coding For Food Service ProductsMaybe you missed the announcement by the National Restaurant Association, GS1 US and the IFDA concerning the new initiative for standardized labeling of restaurant industry products, or maybe you saw it and overlooked the potential impact it could have on your restaurant.

The rest of the planet already has retail bar codes which are the same whether you by a candy bar in a local gas station or at a large supermarket, and nearly all of your large food service vendors have bar codes on the products you receive every day. The difference in the restaurant industry is that each vendor has their own bar code for the same product. So, if you buy a gallon of mayo from one vendor and the same gallon of mayo from another vendor you have two different bar codes on the exact same product making cost comparison, tracking, usage (not to mention book keeping) a bit on the troublesome side.

Industry organizations and founding members of the Food Service GS1 US Standards Initiative cite three main objectives and benefits as a result of companies choosing to adopt and implement GS1 standards (and 55 major food service distributors, manufacturers, and operators have already signed on):

* Drive waste out of the food service supply chain;
* Improve product information for customers, and
* Establish a foundation for improving food safety and traceability.

So what does this really mean to your restaurant? According to Stephen R Arens, (Industry Development, GS1 US) “All containers of Brand A Regular Barbeque sauce, 1 gallon size, in a plastic jug, will have the same GTIN no matter who they are sold / shipped to. The Brand A Regular Barbeque sauce, 5 gallon size, in a plastic jug will have a different GTIN than the 1 gallon size.” (The U.P.C. on consumer products is a GTIN)

This alone should make the independent operator smile, because now, when you’re comparing prices, shopping for bids or simply checking on price fluctuations you have one number to give to each of your reps or input into your database. This move by the food service industry, though long overdue, will be a time and money saver for the independent operator once it’s fully implemented. Many franchise operators already have this benefit in place because they belong to purchasing cooperatives for their particular brand. Maybe now is the time for independent operators to revisit the idea of joining or creating a purchasing coop? According to some of the co-ops I’ve looked at recently, savings can be significant. What do you think?

Further information: The GS1 Systems is the most widely used product identification system for items and cases globally; over two million companies in 150 countries use the GS1 System to identify their company’s products as they move through the supply chain; from manufacturer to end user. The GS1 System includes the U.P.C. code found on many consumer and commercial items in a number of industries including food and beverage products, produce, protein products, apparel, health and beauty care items, books, magazines, alcohol beverages, electronic equipment, etc. You can visit for more information.

James Guertin gives practical advice to restaurants on his blog The Practical Cafe.

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Use Edible Scraps To Create Restaurant Family Meals

Restaurant Family Meals Boost MoraleThe “restaurant family meal” is a central event in many well-run restaurants.  Just before the dinner rush front of house and back of house staff gather to enjoy a well-cooked meal prepared by the chef.  The family meal is a great way to foster positive interaction and a feeling of camaraderie among your employees.  It also gives you a chance to get on the soapbox and talk about issues and work on training.

During the year that I worked as a server in Indianapolis, I was never lucky enough to work in a restaurant that supported a family meal.  In terms of improving employee morale and retention, the family meal has some real benefits for your business.

While this may seem obvious, there’s another, less apparent benefit to the family meal: you can reduce your food waste by investing in them.  Smart restaurateurs take the perfectly edible leftovers that are inevitably created while preparing meals and save them for the family meal.  This means your investment is minimal and the benefits can be immediately realized.

Saving for the family meal also gives you a chance to get your line thinking about everything that can be saved while they cook.  In the process of getting creative for the next meal, kitchen staff will inevitably become better at reducing food waste in general.

Your restaurant’s family meal doesn’t have to be anything fancy: many restaurants, even fine dining establishments, keep the meal for staff firmly in the realm of comfort food: sloppy joe’s, casseroles, meatloaf, etc.

Nothing appeals to the basic human sense of community like sharing food.  And nothing you do for your employees will create as much goodwill for as cheap of a price as using your leftovers to create a hearty meal before the shift starts.

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Are You Ready For Flu Season?

Incorporate Anti-Flu Policies Into Your Food Safety ProgramPersonally, if I never hear another story about H1N1 (swine) flu again, I’ll die a happy man.  Unfortunately, the grim reality is everyone is going to have to take steps to combat the spread of flu this winter, and restaurants are no exception.  Organizations like the National Restaurant Association are already educating restaurants about ways to inhibit the spread of viruses, and the food service industry as a whole is taking this flu season very seriously.

For restaurants, preventing the spread of viruses comes down to removing two things: sick employees from the building and any potential contaminant from employee’s hands.

Staff that is exhibiting flu-like symptoms should be sent home immediately and told to return one full day after recovering from the worst part of the sickness.  From a management standpoint, make sure multiple people in the restaurant are responsible for identifying staff with symptoms so that nobody slips through the cracks.  Also make sure you communicate clearly with your staff about the importance of staying home while they’re sick.  Finally, it’s important to have a plan in place in case multiple people are sick at once so that you don’t miss a beat during the rush.  This is where time spent on cross-training will pay you back handsomely.

Handwashing is a much more straightforward proposition.  Review proper handwashing techniques with your employees and step up the enforcement of your standard procedures on when to wash hands.  Many restaurants have also started introducing disposable gloves for kitchen staff that directly contact food during preparation; if you haven’t added this to your food safety program yet, now is the time to consider it seriously.

Besides technique and enforcement, the other key to ensuring your employees have clean hands is good equipment.  The problem is that the very viruses you’re trying to contain tend to collect around communal areas with a lot of moisture, like sinks and faucets.

Investing in some good hand sink equipment can go a long way towards improving your restaurant’s food safety.  Some key elements to a good hand sink include:This Hand Sink Has It All: Soap, Towels & Knee Pedal

Easily accessible towel and soap dispensers.  Dispensers make sure your employees actually use the soap and the towels and limit the number of surfaces they touch after cleaning their hands.

Knee or foot pedals.  A pedal allows staff washing their hands to turn the water off and one without having to use their freshly cleaned hands.  Pedals also tend to use less water because they automatically shut off, which mean lower utility bills for you.  These pedals can also be retrofitted on existing hand sinks.

Wrist blade faucet handles.  Wrist blade handles are the same ones you see in doctor’s offices.  Their shape allows you to use your forearm or wrist to turn off the water instead of your hands, which helps prevent re-contamination.  Use wrist blade faucet handles if you don’t have a knee or foot pedal.

Stainless steel sinks.  Stainless is easy to clean and doesn’t offer a friendly surface for pathogens to hang out.  Almost all new hand sinks are stainless, and if your staff is still using an older sink, now is a great time to upgrade.

The food service industry is taking the spread of flu this season very seriously for a very important reason: it’s good for business.  Widespread sickness doesn’t make people want to go out and eat, and after the beating the industry has taken over the past year, an outbreak connected with a restaurant would be disastrous.

For all we know, an outbreak might be inevitable.  Having the right combination of standard procedures, managerial enforcement, and equipment is the best you can do to protect your business against infection.

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Restaurant Management: Use Creative Compensation Strategies

Use compensation strategies that improve service and make employees happyAs if you didn’t have enough on your plate trying to keep your restaurant’s head above water this year, some in the food service industry are starting to talk more and more about changing some basic assumptions about employee compensation.

The traditional model has been to pay your kitchen by the hour depending on what they do, let waitstaff earn their living on tips, and maybe pay a hostess by the hour as well if you get too busy.  But as we’ve discussed here before, high turnover rates are a constant problem in restaurants.  You’re always going to have young people who are just “passing through” the restaurant industry as they look for the right time to start their careers, but in general managing and dealing with staff turnover takes up a lot of time and resources.

The worst part about turnover is that service suffers. And as any restaurateur will tell you, service probably suffers before that employee walks out the door.  Having employees who are not engaged in the long term interest of any company causes service and productivity to decline.

For these reasons some restaurants have begun to rethink their compensation plans. The best kind of compensation is the kind that motivates the employee to bring their priorities in line with the priorities and goals of the restaurant.  These strategies are different depending on whether you’re talking about Front of House or Back of House employees:

Front of House: Salary your waitstaff. Tips are so ingrained into the psyche of the restaurant industry that it feels weird to even suggest another compensation model.  And the initial knee-jerk reaction is to wonder how in the world a restaurant could afford the payroll for a salaried staff.  European restaurants have run with salaried servers for years.

The interesting thing about salaried servers is that their priorities completely change. When you are paid on tips, your two primary goals are to upsell customers to raise check averages and to turn tables over as quickly as possible.  Those two goals don’t really jibe with the restaurant’s goal of providing top-notch service every time that focuses on customer experience.

Salaried servers, on the other hand, feel no such pressure to turn and burn.  They are free to focus on maximizing customer experience every time, which means your pool of loyal, repeat customers will grow.  Typically a flat rate service charge is added to the bill that goes directly into payroll.  A smart restaurant owner would also include bonuses and incentives for salaried servers who are top sellers.

The best part about the salary method is that you enable and encourage career servers.  Turnover is almost non-existent because you provide a stable income for your employees.  The savings on new staff training and the ability to maintain a consistently high level of service can offset increased payroll costs.

Back of House: Share Profits. As you already know, the name of the game in your kitchen is efficiency.  The ideal kitchen doesn’t waste any food, uses minimal energy to prepare meals, and accomplishes all this so quickly that customers are never waiting.

In reality, that’s an almost impossible ideal to reach.  Your kitchen staff is paid an hourly wage, and they’re going to be paid that hourly wage whether they ruin an entire stock pot of the soup special or not.  Often their primary incentive isn’t the wage itself, which is probably nothing special, but the fear of losing their job.  Fear is a terrible incentive when it comes to encouraging maximum productivity and efficiency.

An excellent incentive to promote productivity and efficiency is profit sharing. Kitchen staff accumulate shares depending on how long they’ve worked for your restaurant.  Every quarter, a portion of the profits is divvied up among the kitchen staff depending upon how many shares they have.

I can imagine what you’re thinking: “First you want me to send my payroll costs through the roof with salaried servers and then you want me to share profits with my dishwashers????”Share profits and increase efficiency

Imagine the same scenario I brought up above: an employee accidentally ruins an entire stock pot of the daily soup special.  All the employees in your kitchen are paid by the hour.  They shrug their shoulders and start making another batch, which costs you time (paying staff to do the same work twice), resources (all those ingredients will have to be reordered sooner), and efficiency (the gas/electricity needed to prepare the soup all over again and the lost work the staff doing the work over again could have spent doing something else).

In a profit-sharing kitchen, the sous chef who’s been working in this kitchen for 10 years and makes a couple grand every time the profit sharing checks go out takes it upon himself to show the kid who makes the soup how to do it right the first time.  It’s in his interest to cut food costs whenever possible.  Line cooks turn off half the range during slow periods to save on utilities and everybody uses portion scales to make sure there’s no waste.

You’ll probably find that even after you pay out the kitchen staff, your profits still rise because of all the savings a truly efficient, well-trained kitchen produces.  And your turnover rate will plummet, saving you training time and quality control issues with inexperienced staff.  Who doesn’t want a job that pays out a bonus check 3 or 4 times a year?

Do you think these incentive programs will make your restaurant a more successful business?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

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