The Cure for Common Sense-itis – Realize there is no such thing as common sense

By David Scott Peters

www.therestaurantexpert.com

Do you sometimes just want to fire everyone in your restaurant and just do all the work yourself? Do you wonder why people can’t just do it the way you want it done? Do you ever find yourself saying, “IT’S COMMON SENSE!”

If you can relate to any of the above, you probably suffer from “common sense-itis.”

I define common sense-itis as a never-ending headache you have from repeatedly banging your head against the proverbial brick wall known as running your restaurant.

This term is most accurate when applied to restaurant owners who think their managers should just know how to do things because it’s “common sense.”

Look, the definition of common sense clearly states that it’s a shared understanding based on experience. I can tell you right now that your managers, each and every one of them, do not share your experiences. They have not grown up in your shoes. They do not possess the same core values. They are not you and will not automatically do things your way, just because you think they should have common sense.

Get rid of your case of common sense-itis once and for all with an easy two-step process.

Step 1 – Create checklists for EVERYTHING!

Creating checklists sounds so simple, yet I can’t even begin to count how many restaurants don’t have them in place. And when checklists do get drafted, many restaurant owners are not explicit enough in what they want done or how they want it done.

Let me tell you the easy way to avoid this pitfall. Grab a pad of paper, stand outside your front door and start writing down EVERYTHING you see on a daily basis that needs to get done. Especially note the things that really get your blood boiling because they seem so obvious. Continue writing as you walk your restaurant.

Be precise in your expectations. For example, “Clean glass on front door every two hours, starting with opening shift.” Then list the times.

When your list is completed, task one of your managers to customize opening and closing checklists incorporating every item on your list for every position. Remember, you cannot be too specific.

Once you have completed this process you are halfway to curing your common sense-itis. Plus, your management team is happy. They’re happy they no longer have to read your mind or dread your inevitable freak out. With lists in hand, your management team is cool, calm and collected when they see you coming. They can say with confidence they didn’t miss anything if they followed the simple checklist.

Side Note: Your checklists are never finished. You will continue to add all of the new things that drive you crazy as they come up. Don’t be surprised if your checklists are two to six pages long. But also don’t be surprised at how well they work.

Step 2 – Follow up on the checklists.

Now that you have your checklists and have trained your managers and staff to use them, the easy part is done. You will see results almost immediately. I guarantee it.

But here’s what tends to happen. About three weeks after implementing checklists, when your managers see that you are not looking in the designated binder to confirm the checklists are being used, your managers will start to slack off. And once they slack off, everyone else will slack off. Eventually they’ll quit using them altogether.

That is unless you hold them accountable.

How do you hold them accountable? To start, review the checklists daily at first. Find what your managers are missing and point it out. Better yet, show them how you want it done. It’s your job to coach your managers and help them be successful.

Once you see they are following them routinely, you can start to randomly spot check them a few times a week.

These checklists will keep everyone on the same page for as long as they’re maintained, but you must check them or they WILL go away.

When you don’t communicate your expectations to your managers, you’re setting them up to fail. You’re also setting yourself up for endless frustration. Checklists give you an easy way to communicate your expectations and an easy way for your managers to know what is expected of them. This way, everyone is happy.

Cure your common sense-itis today with checklists.

David Scott Peters TheRestaurantExpert (1)David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at www.TheRestaurantExpert.com.

 

Don’t Give ‘Em a Management Entitlement Program

By David Scott Peters

www.therestaurantexpert.com

If I had a nickel for every time I am asked about how to properly structure a management bonus program, I could start thinking about retirement. No really, this has got to be one of the most-asked questions.

The truth is that structuring a bonus program is actually not that difficult. Often the bigger challenge is having the right systems in place to build it properly. Without the right systems, many management bonus programs are what I call management “entitlement” programs, where managers expect a bonus just for showing up.

To help you avoid this profit-sucking mistake, I am going to share with you the six systems you need to have in place to write a useful management bonus program that will encourage your managers to earn their bonus:

Job Description

This is a no brainer, yet often overlooked when we talk about management. Without a detailed job description for each level of management in place, you have managers on the floor who have no real clue of what their job is or how well you expect them to do it.

This becomes your paint-by-numbers outline when you start to write your bonus program because your minimum expectations are already outlined in black and white.

Budgets

Budgets give you, the operator, the ability to set targets, measure progress, evaluate performance and ensure you run profitably. Honestly, without a budget and targets in place there is no structure for any reasonable bonus program.

Prime Cost Control Systems

When you have budgets in place for your restaurant, you have cost of goods sold and labor targets (together they make up what is called your prime cost), but do you have systems in place to help management achieve those targets? You must give them a road map of how to control those numbers and achieve their goal, or you might as well not even bother implementing a bonus program. They will never hit their goals, which ultimately translates to lost profits for you.

Scoring Systems

When I refer to scoring systems, I am referring to both those that you impose and those that are imposed on you, such as the health department for the former and customer comment cards for the latter. Profitability alone should never be your sole focus. Implement, utilize and evaluate your scores. They will tell you a lot about how well you are doing and should be included when evaluating managers’ performances.

MBOs

The concept of MBOs was originated by Peter Drucker at The Harvard Business Review. He is called the Father of Modern Management, and he outlines MBOs in his 1954 book, The Practice of Management. There are five basic steps to the MBO Process, which are: 1) Review the objectives the company would like to accomplish, 2) Set objectives for your management team, 3) Continually monitor progress, 4) Continually evaluate progress, and 5) Reward the achievers. When you’ve done all that, you then start the process over again.

Timely Reporting

Last but not least, you have to have timely reporting. It’s not good enough to have all of these systems in place if you can’t gather, analyze and distribute your results to your team on a timely basis. Taking too long can de-motivate your management team and even worse yet, cause you to lose money.

With the right program, your managers will work harder than ever to earn that bonus and won’t blame you if they miss their targets. My goal with this article is to get you thinking about how important systems are in your restaurant and how they relate to rewarding your management team. Go down the list and take an inventory of what you have in place and if something is missing, add it to your I MUST IMPLEMENT LIST.

David Scott Peters TheRestaurantExpert (1)David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at www.TheRestaurantExpert.com.

How to Develop a Management Plan in Your Restaurant – Part 2

By David Scott Peters

www.therestaurantexpert.com

In my last blog post I explained what a management plan is and the benefits of developing one in your restaurant.  For this blog post I want to give you the tools you need to create your restaurant’s management plan.

What’s next?

First you have to evaluate your restaurant.

Your management plan is divided into sections that correspond with many of the most important areas of your operation. Each section includes a personal evaluation of your restaurant’s current approach to running a profitable and easy-to-operate business. Use the following questions to create your own evaluations for each of the key areas of your restaurant.

Financial Plan

Using a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being strongly AGREE and 5 being strongly DISAGREE, rate your restaurant on the following:

  1. Based on my restaurant’s current efficiencies, good or bad, I know my breakeven point ­­­____
  2. My restaurant is on an accrual accounting system ­­­____
  3. I supply my accountant, or whoever prepares my books, my ending inventories within five days of the end of every month ­­­____
  4. My profit and loss statement is currently set up in such a way that cost of goods sold and labor are broken out into easy to read sections before all other expenses ­­­____
  5. My restaurant uses weekly and monthly cash flow projections to help run the restaurant efficiently and pay its bills ­­­____
  6. My restaurant has a detailed monthly budget that everyone in the management team understands and is expected to achieve ­­­____
  7. My restaurant knows its dollars per square foot and or dollars per seat ­­­____

Cost of Goods Sold

Using the same scale above, rate your restaurant on the following:

  1. My restaurant uses a budget variance report so management can clearly see how they are managing our controllable expenses ­­­____
  2. My restaurant does a monthly food and liquor inventory ­­­____
  3. For even better controls, my restaurant does a weekly and/or a daily food and liquor inventory ­­­____
  4. My restaurant calculates its cost of goods sold by category at least monthly ­­­____
  5. My restaurant manages its inventory turns to minimize the amount of product sitting on our shelves at any given time and keep our cash in the bank ­­­____
  6. My restaurant keeps an eye on our change in inventory to see if we are ordering properly ­­­____
  7. All of our recipes have a completed recipe costing card filled out and updated on at least a quarterly basis ­­­____
  8. Utilizing our POS system, we know our restaurant’s ideal food and pour cost, and we measure our performance against these numbers ­­­____
  9. In my restaurant we use tools such as a key item report and waste sheet to control our food costs ­­­____
  10. My restaurant uses a purchase allotment system to make sure we are ordering correctly ­­­____

Food Systems

Using the scale above, rate your restaurant on the following:

  1. My restaurant uses par levels for products it purchases ­­­____
  2. My restaurant utilizes a purchase order form to ensure ordering, receiving and costs are done accurately ­­­____
  3. My restaurant only allows management or line employees who have been sufficiently trained on receiving procedures to check in orders ­­­____
  4. My restaurant uses a daily prep list to ensure we prep the appropriate food levels to run successfully each day based on the business we expect ­­­____

Labor Systems

Using the scale above, rate your restaurant on the following:

  1. My restaurant uses a master schedule for all departments so that any manager can write an accurate schedule even if it’s not their own department ­­­____
  2. Every manager knows how many FTEs are needed by department and hire accordingly ­­­____
  3. Schedules are written based on forecasted sales for the week by day and shift ­­­____
  4. Before schedules are done for the next week, management is given projected sales, how much money they can spend and how many employees they need to fill their shifts ­­­____
  5. My restaurant tracks labor cost daily ­­­____
  6. My restaurant trains all managers to write a schedule the same way all of the time ­­­____

Running the Restaurant

Using the scale above, rate your restaurant on the following:

  1. My restaurant uses AM and PM manager checklists on a daily basis ­­­____
  2. My restaurant has a pre-shift meeting 15 minutes before every shift for both front of house and back of house staff ­­­____
  3. My restaurant uses a manager’s log on a daily basis to communicate ­­­____
  4. My restaurant has clearly defined house policies ­­­____
  5. My restaurant trains all managers to follow a step-by-step systems for checking-out ALL line positions ­­­____
  6. All of my managers have been trained in the proper use of the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form ­­­____
  7. My restaurant has a HACCP Plan in place ­­­____
  8. My restaurant has a tip reporting system in place to comply with the yearly filing of our 8027 Tip Report to the IRS ­­­____
  9. My restaurant complies with the OSHA posting requirements ­­­____

Finally

To develop your management plan, after you evaluate each section, start putting your plan on paper in the form of both short-term and long-term goals.

When you are finished with this exercise, you will have put together your complete management plan for success.

David Scott Peters TheRestaurantExpert (1)David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at www.TheRestaurantExpert.com.

 

How to Develop a Management Plan in Your Restaurant – Part 1

By David Scott Peters

www.therestaurantexpert.com

First, what is a management plan?

A management plan is your written strategy for how to get your restaurant to where you want it.

New ideas have very little value unless they are put into action. This management plan is a tool that translates ideas (I should or I’ll try to) into action (I am). This helps solidify your commitment to turning your restaurant into a profitable and smooth running operation. It also provides the direction your management team needs to do their jobs to your expectations.

In developing your plan for improving your restaurant operation, remember these helpful tips:

  • Study every aspect of what you want to implement – does it fit with your management style and goals.
  • Believe in your plan – have confidence in your ability to make it happen and work.
  • Teach, involve and delegate to your team. You can’t do it alone and you need their commitment, buy-in and most importantly their support.
  • Work hard to make it happen! See rapid results!

Benefits of a management plan

A management plan produces:

  • Clearly defined goals to achieve
  • Knowledge of achieved success
  • Clear communications
  • Organized thoughts and ideas, identifying/rectifying omissions
  • Systems for realizing short and long-term goals
  • Less stress
  • Increased bottom-line
  • Increased cash flow
  • Improved employee morale
  • Business growth

You should have several objectives in mind when developing your management plan, but your ultimate goal is to build a more profitable business (a virtual cash machine), work less, have less stress, and have a real personal and family life.

Just remember, any business is only as good as its people believe it is!

In the next blog post, I’ll provide you with the questions you need to ask of yourself and your restaurant to be able to put your management plan together.

David Scott Peters TheRestaurantExpert (1)David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at www.TheRestaurantExpert.com.