Simplify. Haven’t we all heard that word a bit too much? It’s like the big “L” word, everyone throws it around without actually meaning it. But what does simplifying a restaurant look like? It can’t possibly look the same everywhere.
Simplify (v.): To make (something) simpler or easier to do or understand.
Let’s talk about making things easier to do and understand. I believe this has to start with communicating effectively and organizing your restaurant from the inside out.
Put down the label maker, and let’s talk about making some lasting cultural changes that will pay off for you, your employees, and of course your guests.
Whether we’re talking about a tiny coffee shop with two employees, or the massive staff at The Cheesecake Factory, getting everyone on the same page (and keeping them there) is a huge challenge.
We have pre-shift meetings, group texts, bulletin boards, and of course; email threads. Somehow there is always at least one person that ends up ringing in that 86’d chicken parm special that you JUST SENT AN EMAIL OUT ABOUT.
...And then that person says “But I never got your email?”
...And then you realize you sent it to the wrong email address. Sigh.
We have to simplify our day-to-day communication. To start, we need one simplified system to communicate every piece of information that both our management and FOH teams need to do our jobs. One place to check for menu changes, new COVID-19 procedures, or special holiday hours. One place to check and see if that 30-top reservation left a card on file for the server to use.
Imagine not having to worry about whether or not you sent an email. *exhales dramatically*
Everyone is trying to sell us everything, all of the time. I mean, if we’re being completely transparent, even this article is trying to sell you something. But do me a favor, and just think about this concept for a minute:
Less is more.
When I think of a simplified restaurant, I think of organization. How do I get organized? I sort through all of my stuff and get rid of what I don’t need anymore.
You know that feeling when you open your newly-organized closet, and suddenly you’re excited to get dressed? You put on something that you feel good in without much effort, and walk out the door with your head a little higher.
The same thing happens for us at work. When we’re organized, our job becomes a lot easier to do, and we are that much happier doing it.
Well, that’s a bit of a loaded question. Honestly, you are the only one that knows what type of organization will work best for your restaurant and your staff.
But this is where I would start: Consolidate as much as possible.
Literally throw away everything you don’t need. Do you really need to keep the original copy of the employee manual that you’ve since reprinted like 6 or 7 times? Toss it.
Reduce the amount of tech-based programs that you and your team use. Take some time to pay attention to the features that each service gives you, but be honest about what you actually use and benefit from. You might be surprised…
Let’s get rid of what isn’t working. Let’s rethink the whole thing.
Do our team members really have access to everything they need to perform at the level we want them to? Do they have that “organized closet” feeling?
If they don’t, we can start to build the foundation for a culture of simplification by communicating efficiently, and organizing both the physical workplace and online or “tech-based” resources.