Using Operation Analysis to Maximize Restaurant Potential

Operations analysis is becoming more and more relevant in a world of increasingly informed consumers. Given the fact that the restaurant business has become more competitive than ever, and that there are more restaurants coming into existence than ever before, the bar has been raised on trying to appeal to a wide audience of patrons. It’s not enough anymore to have a renowned chef preparing gourmet entrées for appreciative patrons, nor is it enough to have a few locally favored recipes to keep patrons coming back.

There is a much broader appreciation and understanding of food preparation these days, because there are so many cooking shows on television, and because viewers have unconsciously educated themselves about quality food preparation. That makes it doubly important that restaurants provide the most enjoyable experience possible to everyone walking through the doors.

This should start with a warm and sincere greeting, a prompt escort to an appropriate table, spotless table preparation, and immediate attention from a cheerful and experienced server. Even these steps though are just the preliminaries, and they’ll all be soon forgotten if they aren’t followed up, and they don’t live up to the high expectations restaurant patrons have come to develop. One of the things that contribute greatly to providing customers with great food and beverage is a highly efficient operation behind the scenes.

What is Operations Analysis?

Operations analysis of your restaurant takes into account all those things which happen behind the scenes and which patrons never see, but which all contribute to the excellent product that ends up on the table for their enjoyment. Operations analysis can tell you whether or not you’re being as efficient as possible in producing quality food and refreshment for your patrons, or whether it is costing you so much that your operation just isn’t profitable, or it isn’t as profitable as it should be. Here are some of the things which are considered when analyzing your restaurant’s operations:

  • Have each day’s tasks and activities been planned ahead of time, with an eye toward efficiency?
  • Are stations in the food preparation chain well laid-out to achieve maximum effectiveness?
  • Do you have adequate equipment and counter space available to support all your food preparation tasks?
  • Is the pantry or food locker kept stocked with all the most commonly needed items?
  • Are your refrigeration units and ovens operating at peak efficiency, or are they energy drains?
  • Are all state and local health regulations accounted for in your kitchen, and complied with as a matter of course?
  • Have all food preparation staff personnel been properly trained, and are they being productive at carrying out all the tasks necessary for a smooth-running operation?
  • Are your service personnel contributing to repeat business, or are they potentially costing you patron loyalty in some way?
  • Are you encouraging word-of-mouth passing among all your patrons, so you can take advantage of free advertising?

Operations analysis allows you to optimize the efficiency of your restaurant based on the facts which can make it successful.

Contributors to Sub-Standard Restaurant Operation

There are a number of factors which can cause your overall restaurant operation to be degraded and your profits to be diminished. The most obvious one is sales of course, and if you have a very low volume of patronage, there’s pretty much no way that you’re going to have an advantageous operations analysis, and there’s no way your business is going to be profitable. The important thing about operations analysis is that it might help you identify the reason you have low sales so that you can take steps to correct that.

Problems with labor can be another contributor to a low operations analysis score, with both labor productivity and the scheduling of your staff being potential problems. You may have adequate staff, but if they’re not being productive and generating sales, that could be an issue. Another possible issue is over-staffing the restaurant with too many servers who just aren’t needed to manage customer volume, which can result in excessive labors costs.

Food cost and potential waste of food can have a serious impact on your bottom line, and to some extent, this is both controllable and uncontrollable. The controllable part is training your staff to be as efficient as possible with food preparation and portions. The uncontrollable part is the market price of foods used in entrée preparation, which may call for the creative acquisition of all those foodstuffs used to produce menu items.

Employee turnover can be an extension of the labor problem if it turns out that you keep losing good employees for some reason because the cost of hiring and training new staffers can skew your labor costs immensely. If operations analysis discovers that employee turnover has become an issue at your establishment, you need to dig down into the details and find out why this is occurring.

Theft may not be the most pleasant topic to address in an operations analysis of your restaurant, but it’s one of those things that should be looked at all the same. If your inventory accounting seems to indicate that various materials are routinely disappearing, and current numbers aren’t matching up with received-in numbers, there may be a theft issue going on in your restaurant. Once it becomes clear that this is a possibility, it needs to be investigated, whether that is an internal procedure, or you have it done externally. A problem which continues to cost your restaurant money has to be fixed, and despite the fact that this is a distasteful topic, it has to be pursued in the interest of maintaining efficiency and overall profitability.

Take the Next Step

Find out what our team of hospitality professionals can do for you and let us help analyze your restaurant’s operations to maximize its potential. Take the first step and get in touch to schedule a free consultation. Call us on +254710263910 or E-mail to