7 Tips How To Improve Restaurant Back-Office Operations

 

restaurant-back-office-operations

 

Continuously improving the restaurant back-office operations is vital if a restaurant is to be successful.

People think that running a restaurant business is easy because you just need to sell good food in a great location. The process of selling food in a great location is just a portion of running a restaurant business.

What most people do not see is the back-of-house (BOH) operations in your restaurant. These are the processes and systems that need to work efficiently to support your front-of-house (FOH) operations.

The BOH team are the staff members that are literally at the back of your counter, the ones preparing and assembling the products suggested by the cashier and served by the server.

The way you operate your back-office operations can greatly impact your sales and your customer experience. Each process and system in your BOH operations need to flow smoothly especially during your busy hours because you want to serve your customers with great food in a friendly service consistently.

In this article, we will walk you through the ways you can improve your BOH operations. These tips are easy to implement and will surely lead to increased sales and a better customer experience.

You can jump to the section you want to read about below:

 

1. Conduct pre-shift game-planning
2. Invest in employee training and development
3. Optimize production and storage areas
4. Upgrade your restaurant software
5. Set measurable goals
6. Streamline your menu offering
7. Engage your team in process improvements idea generation

 

1. Conduct pre-shift game-planning

 

Doing pre-shift game-planning activities will help ensure that the productivity of your team is maintained all throughout the day.

Discuss with the team the complaints and challenges from previous shifts and give actionable items that can address these and you would be surprised with how motivated your team will be.

 

pre-shift-game-planning

 

You can also cascade to them the commendations from your customers.

Back-of-the-house staff members have limited contact with your customers. Once they realize that their activities can result in a better customer experience, they will do their tasks more efficiently and properly.

 

2. Invest in employee training and development

 

Your back-of-the-house staff members are in charge of implementing food safety protocols in the preparation and assembly of products you are serving to your customers.

They also maintain the cleanliness and sanitation of your production and non-production area to ensure that from raw materials handling to food preparation, food safety rules are followed.

This is why it is critical and important to enroll your staff in courses that are relevant to their work such as food safety training, equipment maintenance courses, and food quality seminars.

By doing this, you can assure your customers that the food being served to them is prepared in a safe environment.

In addition, enrolling staff in training is said to have reduced the attrition rate in some companies because employees become more happy and satisfied in their job.

 

3. Optimize production and storage areas

 

Look at how your staff operate and flow during the peak hours of your restaurant. Are there bottlenecks in some facilities or equipment? Are there a lot of crisscrossing activities when assembling products?

The location and arrangement of facilities and equipment in your production area can affect the serving speed of products to your customers.

 

restaurant-storage-areas

 

For instance, if holding equipment are located far away from the cooking equipment, the temperature of raw materials could drop while these are being transferred. This could be one of the reasons why customers are complaining that the food is served cold.

Another example is in your non-production areas such as cold storage and stock rooms, you have to check the location and placement of heavy items that are frequently used such as cooking oil. You do not want your staff to be carrying heavy items all the time because this will easily tire them, making them unproductive. As a manager, you need to champion the optimal use of your production and non-production area for a smoother flow of operations.

 

4. Upgrade your restaurant software

 

If you are still using manual methods in tracking your sales and inventory, this is the best time for you to upgrade your restaurant software to improve your restaurant back-office operations.

Investing in a new restaurant software will allow your staff to operate more efficiently by using the latest technology in restaurant operations.

One feature that you want to have is to have your orders displayed on Kitchen Display Screens so that no product will be missed by your kitchen staff.

With this type of set-up, you can even measure the assembly time of products because orders will only appear on the screen when paid tendered by the front-of-house staff and it will be bumped off the screen when served to the customer.

Knowing the assembly time of each product will allow you to plan process improvement initiatives to make your kitchen flow smoothly.

Another feature that you need to have is automating your methods of conducting inventory processes to reduce the time it takes for your staff to do administrative tasks. With new inventory software, you can easily reduce food waste and operating costs.

When your inventory is properly tracked and managed, you can reduce potential food wastes by moving items that will expire soon.

You can also limit your stock levels for these items to prevent spoilages. If you know how much and how long your raw materials are in the storage, you will be able to make a more accurate forecast on when to order, what to order, and how much to order.

 

5. Set measurable goals

 

You want your staff to feel motivated in their job and the easiest way to do this is by setting an attainable target they need to achieve every shift.

You can give targets based on the previous day’s data so that instead of just going through the motions, they will want to achieve that goal during their shift. It could be as simple as zero customer complaints on food quality.

 

restaurant-back-office-operations-and-goals

 

This measurable and attainable goal will motivate your staff in implementing food safety procedures and following the standard methods of cooking and assembling your products.

Another goal that you can assign to them is zero wastage on inventory items. This will make your staff more mindful of tracking your raw materials and moving those that are near expiring. Once you have upgraded your restaurant software, you can use the reports generated by your system’s analytics to have more specific goals to achieve.

 

6. Streamline your menu offering

 

Most restaurant owners think that having more menu items is better for their restaurant back-office operations because it will bring in more sales.

What they failed to consider is the complexity that each menu item brings into your operations. Streamlining your menu lessens the complexity of your restaurant operations.

In the restaurant industry, you want your staff to deliver products that are within your standards consistently.

When there are fewer items on your menu, your staff can easily master the preparation and assembly of all your products and do all these consistently. Having a streamlined menu list also means less waste for your inventory. With fewer inventory items to maintain, you can easily track if some items are expiring soon and use them sooner.

If you are worried that your customers might get bored of your menu, you can add variety to your menu by offering new items for a limited time.

This will not only excite your customers but will also allow you to test if introducing new items contribute to incremental sales and transactions.

 

7. Engage your team in process improvements idea generation

 

Lastly, engage your team by listening to their inputs on how to improve your processes and systems. You can gather your team monthly to talk about your operations and targets.

If the targets are not achieved, you can solicit their suggestions on how the team can achieve them next month. If the targets are achieved, you can ask them how you can help them achieve the goals again next month.

 

restaurant-team-building

 

You would be surprised at how valuable and easy to implement their suggestions are, such as improving the measuring tool, adding more holding equipment, changing the location of utensils, and others.

These conversations will not only make your staff motivated and feel that they belong in your team but will also improve the overall operations of your restaurant.

 

Summing up

 

While the restaurant back-office operations are not visible to the customers, it can make or break your restaurant operations. It is easy to improve your BOH operations, you just need to make sure that your staff is properly trained, well-equipped, and motivated in their job.

To motivate them, you can engage them in ideation sessions, set targets that they need to achieve every shift, and invest in their training. To complement this, you can optimize the layout in your production and non-production area to have a smooth flow of processes during peak hours and you can upgrade your restaurant software.

Upgrading your restaurant software will equip your team to be more productive and more efficient in their BOH tasks.

About Aida Grigoryan

Aida Grigoryan is a content writer and content marketer who writes on SaaS and eCommerce marketing. She has contributed to 30+ publications with her articles and guides. The content she writes helps SaaS & eCommerce companies get better at promoting their products.