5 reason restaurant should develop standard operating produces
Globally, 60% of restaurants shut in the first years itself – an extremely high failure rate. The primary reason for this failure is consistency.
Think about a restaurant you loved and how when a particular Chef or Server left, the place was never the same again. Now, if they had documented their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Standard Recipe Specifications (SRS), more than half of these places would have survived. Traditionally, hospitality has been person centric and so ignored / avoided processes. But, hospitality has high attrition and that is the main reason it must bank on SOPs and SRS andnot people.
SOPs and SRS are the blue print to construct a brand. They define ‘what’ needs to be done by ‘whom’ (designation not person); ‘how’ and ‘when’ it’s to be done and most importantly ‘why’ it needs to be done. SOPs are to be set for the core teams like production, service and all departments including marketing and finance. While, SRS are only for production, as it explains how a dish is to be prepared including ingredients, weight/ measure, portion size, serving temperature and presentation.
Look at the brands / chains that have successful expanded globally… The Taj Group of Hotels (100+ properties); McDonald’s (36,000 stores) and Starbucks (30,626 stores). Their open secret;
- Benchmark standards and document best practices
- Train and implement
- Measure results
- Compare results with standards
- Modify standards to fit circumstances.
Our client Companies too have expanded while maintaining consistency – Ginger Hotels (51 units), Speciality Restaurants (91 units) and over 20 brands – Mainland China, Oh Calcutta, Sigree Global Grill and Azure Hospitality (45 units) over 8 brands – Mamagoto, Dhaba and Foxtrot. The one thing in common for all of them a robust backend of SOPs and SRS that ensured consistency – even when out of sight of the owner / promoter.
Here are the top 5 reasons to develop SOPs…
- Improves Consistency
SOPs provide a documented route and target (final outcome). This helps analyse what was done and measure whether we achieved our objective. In case we followed the system but didn’t hit the target we can analyse where the issue was and improve on it. Without a system there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, this leads to inconsistency and fluctuating outcome of the product and service. Staff are confused (what to deliver) and Guests are unsure (what to expect).
When there are no SOPs, decisions are inconsistent as they change as per the people involved and their mood / nature. The team is unsure as to how to act / react and constantly have to wait for a manager to take a call. Time is lost, service is delayed or denied. SOPs speed up decision making and reduce confusion.
- Improves Training Efficiency.
Whether, in housed or outsourced your training team needs direction. Clear SOPs and SRS provide clarity for induction, training and corrective training. Training efforts can be easily directed and efficacy too can be easily measured.
- Unity of Command and Direction.
“He wins whose army is animated by the same sprit throughout the ranks.” Sun Tzu, Chinese Military Commander and author of ‘Art of War’. SOPs provide common direction and meaning to our every action and effort. The entire team (even newcomers) get clear instructions (managers don’t contradict), all know what the target is, the rules of engagement, and this keeps everyone aligned and motivated.
- Scale Up.
Many stand-alone restaurants have stood the test of time but failed to expand. This is most probably because, they are owner driven and he / she can’t possibly be in two places at the same time.
Sun Tzu once more has the final say, “He wins who prepared himself waits to take the enemy unprepared”. SOPs are out preparation for consistent product and services while expanding. They provide clear direction in most cases and guidelines to certain situations with regards to staff, vendors, guests and government. A smart business owner will begin by documenting the frequently faced situations and as each new situation arises he/ she will document that – sort of an ongoing process.
Team members refer to pre-set standards and direction to take action – they become empowered and confident. This ensures that junior staff climb up the ladder to become Managers. They in turn can open and run more units leading to a WIN-WIN for organisation and team.