How is your foodservice operation doing? Is it running at top efficiency, with strong revenues and a solid bottom line? Or is it limping along, with modest revenues or worse, decreasing revenues, and a disappointing bottom line?
It’s Time for an Operations Review!
Foodservice operations should be evaluated on a regular basis, including essential daily observations and discussions with the management team regarding the day’s business levels, as well as any issues that need attention. More comprehensive evaluations should be conducted on a periodic basis, either quarterly or semi-annually, but no less than annually.
How Can I Make My Operations Review Effective?
An objective review, with a checklist of areas to be evaluated, will help keep each review consistent and thorough. Reviews are also most effective if conducted jointly between the general manager and his/her supervisor, or for contracted operations, the client’s liaison. A qualified third party can also be engaged to conduct the operations review, adding another layer of objectivity, and for higher layers of authority, the third party also adds credibility to the review. An experienced consultant brings the perspective of examining many operations and comparing them to yours—how you measure up to industry standards.
What Should the Review Include?
The actual review includes the examination of financial results which will reveal how well food and labor costs are being managed, confirmation of your fixed costs, and tracking of your variable costs.
It is very important to study the staffing, both in appropriate coverage and employee training programs, to make sure your staff are performing up to your standards; and also to encourage them to stay with you.
The evaluation must include an examination of the entire food and beverage program, including food purchasing, food production, and food quality. Observations of the foodservice at different times of the day and week are important to understand how well the operation is functioning from the customer’s point of view.
Other important areas of review include food sanitation and safety programs; and marketing programs including advertising, promotions, and other communications with the customer base.
For contracted operations, it is vital to measure contract compliance, and any issues that are raised need to be corrected promptly. Perhaps the contract needs to be updated, or perhaps it is time to rebid the account.
And finally, your review needs to have a well thought out action plan that identifies changes or improvements that need to be implemented.
Now That the Review is Complete, What’s Next?
Consider how to implement your newly created action plan so that your operation is successful. And it’s never too early to schedule your next Operations Review. It’s in your best interest to conduct these reviews regularly to make sure your operation is in tip-top shape and ahead of the competition!
By: Ted Farrand, FCSI, FMP
Director of Management Advisory Services (MAS) | Washington, DC