Is Your Restaurant Successful?

Is Your Restaurant Successful?

How Does Your Restaurant Measure Up?

By Kathy Chaffee Groff

Successful restaurant operations are usually made up of a delicate balance of financial, staffing and operations. There are indicators in each of these areas to measure the results of your efforts.

Here are some recommended methods for measuring your successes.

Financial measurement (if you have goals to measure up to you are more likely to get there)

  • Annual plans and budgets are carefully built using past history and future projections. These are then clearly communicated to the restaurant team.
  • Quarterly reviews should be conducted to assess actual results to goals. If the goals are being met, great! If they are not, revisions or problem solving sessions to correct deficiencies should take place.
  • Monthly profit/loss statements should be reviewed by key personnel (again, budget to actual) and areas of concern discussed and rectified.
  • Weekly management team meetings as a group are an excellent way to keep the whole team focused on the larger set of financial results.
  • Weekly one-on-ones with individual players allow for personal coaching and problem solving. Each team member should have their own set of goals and operating accounts.

Staffing measurement

  • Post training review should occur for anyone completing their initial training program. This is true for managers and crew members alike. I recommend that this review take place within one month of the completion of training. This is an opportunity to assess whether the new staff member is a “fit” with the existing team and whether they may need additional training for their position.
  • Daily and weekly coaching sessions. These can be accomplished with pre-shift or post-shift meetings for a work group or for an individual. If you regularly discuss good performance and areas needing improvement, the expectations for performance will be clear and in focus for your staff.
  • Regular performance appraisals are critical in measuring the performance of your team. Whether they are conducted once a year, 2 times a year or quarterly, it’s important that they are planned and effective. Everyone needs to know how they are doing in the work place. This measurement should coincide with their job descriptions and training pieces.


Operations measurement

  • Guest comment cards can be a very effective way to gain input on how your guest perceives your efforts. These can be made available to all guests at all meal periods and collected and tallied daily or weekly. Or, you can opt to put out forms quarterly and gather the data. The goal here is to monitor “trends,” whether they are good or bad. Usually the cards are designed to measure the front desk, service staff, food and beverage, etc. They are an effective way to measure a problem area, whether it is timing, value perception or friendliness and competency of staff.
  • Shopper programs can be a very valid way to gather guest information. You can pay to have this type of service or you can select your own choice of diner outside of your business to come in and measure how you are doing. Their experience gives you another set of eyes on your operation.
  • Food/beverage/service reviews are easily conducted in-house by your managers and chefs. I recommend that at least once a quarter, you have a representative from the kitchen dine and give their feedback. As well, there should be a measurement from the front of house. It’s helpful to involve crewmembers here as well, to allow them to learn from the experience.

Wrap up

Measurement pieces are very important for the health of your restaurant operations. They are all various forms allowing for you to identify and then correct deficiencies. They also allow a great opportunity to reward good performance.

Your staff comes to work to do a good job. Help them focus on what that good job is all about. Help them to understand that housekeeping reviews, timings, and all of the areas listed above are about gathering information on how you are doing and then acting on it!

Kathy Chaffee Groff, a Washington Hospitality Association Consulting Network consultant, runs Restaurant Solutions, a company founded 17 years ago, based on her desire to empower restaurateurs to achieve optimal financial, staffing and operating results.


This article is an excerpt from the Handbook for Excellent Restaurant Operations (HERO), published by the Washington Hospitality Association.  Want a hard copy of the whole manual?  It’s one of the many benefits of becoming a member!  Find out more about joining the Washington Hospitality Association here.

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