Do you REALLY want to improve your business?

Is your business busy, but you’re not seeing the profits you’d expect?  It may be that you appear busy, but it’s really an illusion due to inefficiency.

Over the years I’ve reviewed business workflows and made recommendations from small to large.  The majority of business owners are convinced that there’s room for improvement and they’re right.  Often either they or their management team don’t want to put the effort into anything new or different than their current ways of accomplishing tasks.

I know a restaurant consultant that has complained of similar frustrations.  Restaurants are one of the most poorly run businesses I’ve seen and with the most unhappy employees.  In chain establishments the home office usually does a good job of laying out training and the business model on paper.  Employees new to the industry are enthusiastic and like what they see during training videos, but once they begin the actual work they discover that none of these methods are followed and fellow employees complain constantly, don’t care, and can’t wait to leave there the minute they find another job.

I recently had an opportunity to see inside this industry.  I’m one that likes to experience myself and not rely on hearsay.  I couldn’t have been more surprised if I were the Coyote and the Road Runner just dropped a giant anvil on me.  The busier it got with customers, the more employees and management rushed around frantically.  The more customers that poured in during lunch and dinner the practices and procedures covered in the training videos and materials went right out the window.  This included many health violations.

The other side of why this happens is not enough staff.  There were several employees that were optimistic and the true team player encouraging other employees.  But there were only a handful of these.  With not enough staff and everyone expected to do any job required in the place jobs weren’t completed as they should.  New employees were tasked with duties they’d never performed.  With this came many health violations due to lack of knowledge.  Employees were tasked with picking up prepared foods with their bare hands with no idea that gloves were required.  The same went for clean dishes.  “Hey, Joe, go get us some clean bowls” sent Joe to pick up a stack and return with them bare-handed with part of his hand grasping the inside of the bowl.

This is a domino effect of course because the employees don’t like rushing around in a crazy frenzy and not having specific duties and therefore don’t stay long.  Because of the high turnover more employees come in and no one stays long enough to really become a valuable part of the team.

Managers all have different styles and while this isn’t uncommon in any business, when it’s so drastically different that they may contribute to the frenzy or work against the ‘rules’ of the company and make it worse.  District managers come in once in awhile, but may not see the real problems or career restaurant people just consider it part of the norm.

What’s the answer?  Well, for one all employees should receive general safety training.  New employees should stick with one duty and when they master that merge them into another duty.  Ask employees what they like, dislike, and would like to see changed.  Hire enough staff to do all the jobs.  If you don’t have money for a dishwasher for example, asking everyone to pitch in and wash dishes won’t do anything but cause people to quit which costs you more money.

Those of you that know my training techniques understand already that I firmly believe in changing just one small thing and training in small increments.  The same goes for any change.  Whether you’re trying to change your restaurant business, lose weight, or declutter small steps are key.

What small step can you change?

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