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

Hospitality Digital Marketing

Thinking about doing something about your business’ digital marketing? You’re a little late to the party! If your restaurant, hotel or guest house’s properties are limited to its bricks and mortar, its staff and its stock, you need to be doing less thinking about it and more doing it – and for ‘doing it’ read: ‘hiring professionals to do it for you.’

“Why?” you may protest. “A moment ago I wasn’t even sure whether I wanted to do it myself, now I’m outsourcing it?”

Yes, you need to be outsourcing your digital marketing to professionals. And if you need convincing, here are four reasons you need to be doing exactly that, and fast:

You’re Already Behind Your Comptitors

If it’s taken you until now to improve your digital presence, then you’ve already given your competitors a massive head start. Accommodation, food and drink-related accounts garner huge followings on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. You could set up a Twitter account and a Facebook page right now, sure – but do you know how to build a following, or what kind of things you should be posting and sharing?

By the time you’ve figured out your audience and what resonates with them, your competitors have pulled even further ahead.

Bring in digital marketing professionals with fresh eyes and you’ll be amazed at how quickly they get to the hub of what your USPs are, who your target audience is and where your efforts are focused.

They’ll spot the most shareable (not that kind) dishes on your menu, construct vibrant, engaging blog posts on subjects like the specialist techniques used in your kitchen. They will figure out where you sit amongst your local rivals in the battle for a high Google ranking within a couple of days – then the growth begins.

Investment Equals Quantity

Just as you don’t have time to make mistakes, learn from them, apply that and move on: you also don’t have time to trudge forward with a sub standard site and social presence.

This post is titled investing in digital marketing professionals rather than hiring digital marketing professionals for a reason – you’re investing in your business and if you do it properly, it will pay for itself with ever-greater returns.

You need a slick site that showcases your premises and makes users aspire to become one of your diners or guests. Also needed are fun, timely and reactive social media posts that show off your delicious dishes and passionate staff. You need to make sure as many people as possible know that it’s two-for-one dining tonight, or your restaurant’s Twitter followers are entitled to a free starter.

And you need these things to be actioned quickly by professionals, who will generate a much stronger buzz around your business than an exhausted restaurant manager can.

Specialist Knowledge

Hospitality is your business. You shouldn’t need to know the ins and outs of search engine optimisation (SEO), or which are the most authoritative food and drink blogs you need to be guest posting on. You also don’t always know whom you should be targeting with your sponsored Facebook posts – and an educated guess says you don’t want to, either.

If you hire professionals to deal with these digital marketing issues then you just need to concern yourself with running your business, watching your footfall steadily increase and your profits grow – thanks to the fine work of your digital team.


Whether independent or part of a franchise, the most successful restaurants and hotels on social media probably spend less than half of their time directly trying to convince customers to spend money with them.

Modern audiences are savvy to marketing tricks and resent being seen as commodities to be exploited. But if you can only spend an hour a day on your digital marketing efforts, what are you going to do?

Spend time engaging with communities, contributing to discussions and creating and sharing useful and valuable content for your audience, or try to get diners and/or guests through the door? Another educated guess says the latter – and that’s perfectly reasonable. If you’ve got limited time then obviously you’re going to focus on driving a provable, tangible, positive business outcome.

Paradoxically, this is one of the worst approaches you can take. Nobody follows a hotel’s Twitter feed which only promotes itself and has regular downtime when the person running it is needed elsewhere.

Nobody shares a Facebook update which brings no benefit to their network, only to a hotelier’s wallet.

Success Is…

Having real success online is a two-way street. To grow your audience, you need to bring value to your audience. That means demonstrating your authority on hospitality related topics, providing content that potential customers will enjoy and share and posting in a timely fashion at times when most of your followers are online. All while sharing topics that interest them.

This requires significant time investment. It’s not something that you can take on yourself or task a receptionist with. If you don’t have the time to give your digital presence that kind of attention, then outsourcing is the way forward.

If you’re a technophobe or have just been too busy running your business to pay it any attention, you may look at digital marketing, social media, and building your brand online as easy or straightforward. It isn’t.

Going it alone and attempting to run your business’ digital marketing in-house will be just as difficult as attempting to take over from your head chef for an evening with no prior training (albeit with less chance of fire).

Take Action

HRC Hospitality Group has both the digital and hospitality expertise, so if you are ready to outsource your social media and content marketing efforts in full, feel free to reach us. You may find that digital professionals look at your business and think of ways to connect with your audience that you could never have dreamed of. If your budget is a little tighter, hire us for a few hours a month, or concentrate your efforts on one social media channel; Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Either way, when Facebook likes, Twitter followers and content shares start translating to customers through the door and money in the till, you won’t be sorry that you did.

Assembling a Quality Team

In hospitality, assembling a quality team is a complex task – you’ve got to find all of the skills your business needs in an industry with extremely high staff turnover levels, all the while staying within budget and ensuring every recruit is a match for your workplace ethos and culture.

In the event you’ve put such a team together, it’s tempting to breathe easy, take your foot off the gas and look towards other areas of the business that require improvement.

But thinking of your team as something that you’ve ‘ticked off’ and don’t need to look at again is a mistake. Investing in training for your hospitality staff ensures that a strong team remains that way, and can elevate a good team to an exceptional one.

If you’re rolling your eyes and see staff training as a waste of time, an unworthy investment or the stuff of parody, here are five reasons you should reconsider:

Uncover and Plug Gaps

In the hectic day-to-day of managing your business, it’s easy to miss small skills that your team is light on. A member of staff not knowing, say, the finer points of various types of table settings is something that can go a long time unnoticed. In isolation it won’t make a great deal of difference – but multiply these small gaps over the size of your entire workforce and you’re looking at potentially significant revenue loss.

Taking time out of your busy day to explain how something is done isn’t always probable, and a staff member may be too embarrassed or rushed to ask for help with something everybody else seems to take for granted. Training allows you to refresh your entire team on the basics – and while some staff may scoff at the notion, others will be thankful that one of their hospitality bugbears has been cleared up.

Set Standards of Service

Your team didn’t come from a factory; they all vary regarding experience and expertise and may have distinctly different ideas on the best way of doing things. And while these diffuse methods may all be technically correct (others may be completely wrong, admittedly), training to ensure your staff is delivering a consistent experience for your customers is paramount.

It’s also very easy for any set standards you have to slip, especially when the staff has been working for your business for a while. Sometimes, this may be a case of staff having learned what they can get away with, but just as often such a drop in standards is unconscious.

In either case, a blind eye shouldn’t be turned towards bad practice; poor habits may be picked up on by other members of staff and this drastically increases the chances of an accident or a poor customer experience.

A refresher training course on the standards staff are required to uphold at all times minimises the risk of a drop in these standards and ensures the staff has no excuse for not knowing what is expected of them.

Staff Development

What are you doing to retain high-performing team members? Regular turnover of staff is quite normal in the hospitality industry – but this can be exacerbated if you do nothing to dispel any notion that a staff member’s job is a stopgap or dead-end, or that there may be a better role out there for them with a different business.

If you see staff training not only as a means of plugging skills gaps and keeping standards consistent but as an investment in your current team that will pay off in the form of new senior staff.

Then training will yield significant rewards down the line – especially if you indicate this to your team and use the prospect of promotion to motivate and encourage them.


Cross-training is an excellent means of ensuring your team has a versatile enough skill set to cope with any unexpected staff shortages. Announce compulsory training and staff members that are lower on the hierarchy may huff and puff about being made to learn skills they deem not relevant to their role, while supervisors and other senior members may see training as beneath them.

But if you have a situation whereby you’re one or two staff short, having cross-trained staff on hand with some knowledge of the skills required ensures an inconvenience need not turn into a full-blown crisis.

Cross-training also helps staff members better understand each other’s day-to-day: meaning different departments have more realistic expectations of what is achieved in a given situation. And who knows?

You may discover you have a porter or receptionist with untapped chef skills, a junior member of your waiting staff with a great brain for marketing, or any other realisation of potential which can’t be achieved if the staff is pigeonholed in their day-to-day tasks only.

Legal Obligations

Much of hospitality training has a business purpose behind it; train your staff in how to provide the best customer experience possible and your business will benefit financially. But in areas such as food hygiene and health and safety, you have a legal obligation to ensure your staff have all of the knowledge necessary to keep customers and other staff members safe from harm.

When it comes to legally-obliged training, businesses have a choice: do the bare minimum required of them, keeping staff informed of legislative changes that affect how they do their jobs and relying on them to retain and apply this new information, or invest just as much in this kind of training as they would a training programme with the goal of a positive business outcome.

Ensuring staff are not just aware of what the laws and regulations are that affect their work, but why these are in place and how they can easily keep on the right side of them may make the difference between adequate and excellent hygiene or health and safety scores – which will in turn affect your revenue.

Investing in training your workforce isn’t a fluffy concept or a ‘nice-to-do’ if you’re performing well in all other aspects of the business. Like your premises, your marketing, your food, drink and every other aspect of your offering, you need to make sure your team are always in tip-top shape. Contact us to discuss a staff training package. The end result will be happier, more motivated, more qualified staff members who are stronger ambassadors for your brand. The result of which is always more revenue for your business.

HRC Hospitality Group Defined

Starting a new hotel or restaurant?

Let our award-winning team of operators and industry experts develop a winning launch plan for you. Let our team of hospitality consultants steward your concept from development to completion and beyond.

The art of opening a successful hotel or restaurant requires an enormous amount of knowledge and know-how that even the most experienced operators might find daunting. Not our team! Our hotel and restaurant consulting team have the years of service, operational experience and industry expertise to guide you on your journey every step of the way.

Equipped with comprehensive start-up checklists that cover every area of the hotel or restaurant business, from food and beverage concept development and opening to logistics and operations to front of house and back office, we will devise a winning plan to help take your vision of opening a restaurant or hotel to reality.


Looking to Improve or expand a concept?

 As no two hotel or restaurant concepts are the same, we specialize in creating unique play books to drive long term growth. Wondering How to Develop Your Restaurant Business? We bring our experts to the table.

We continue to drive their business with ongoing, strategic, specialized service. Playbooks created just for them. Playbooks to grow their business.

From existing hotel and restaurant assessments and concept re-positioning to tiered marketing outreach programs and social media savvy, we provide the hotel and restaurant development framework to set our clients up for the long haul.


In search of top level talent?

 From executive search and placement to advisory services and training, we are leaders in successful recruiting.

We utilize our vast personal and professional network of restaurant and hospitality industry contacts and restaurant staffing partners, at all levels from across the globe, to find qualified candidates and provide top restaurant recruiting services.

We provide restaurant and hospitality staffing from the largest possible pool of talent for consideration for your restaurant or food service operation. We research and refine the candidate pool during our hotel and restaurant recruitment phase to save time and money during the interview and hiring process.

We only recommend candidates that have earned the HRC seal of approval. Our restaurant and hospitality recruitment and consulting is done with the utmost care and diligent research. We stand behind our restaurant staffing placements with a 90-day guarantee.


Take the Next Step

Find out what our team of hospitality professionals can do for you.  Let us help you make the right choices the first time. Take the first step and get in touch. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call us on +254710263910 or E-mail to


The Secret To An Appealing Restaurant Menu Design

What is the main appeal to customers who decide to take a seat at your restaurant? What portrays your entire business model in two-three pages of appetizing entrées and gourmet meals? Your restaurant menu design of course. After all, it is the ultimate guide to everything your restaurant has to offer its customers.

There are countless restaurant’s out there that have the ability to make it into the “elite” category that we know as Michelin Star rated entities. However, they fall short. Most of the time this is because their menu’s importance was overlooked.

After all, how will your customers be able to find your top-quality dishes and house specials if they get lost in the windy paths of an overly complex menu design?

In the end, your restaurant menu design needs to accomplish three things:

  • Express the personality/theme of your restaurant
  • Promote your top dishes
  • Entice customers, not only to order once but to frequent again, and again.

Despite common belief, a restaurant’s menu is crucial to the restaurant’s marketing strategy and requires time-investment and witty engineering. Don’t be disheartened though, bear with us as we take you down the slippery slopes of designing a brilliant menu for your restaurant!

The Paradox of Choice

Hidden Psychology Behind Your Restaurant Menu Design

We are confident that you already know everything you need to about creating the right environment. It’s a psychological game. Getting the temperature right, calculated interior designs, the right music volume.

All of these small things build up into a restaurant’s most important characteristic: appeal.

The restaurant menu design, however, takes customer psychology to an entirely different platform. As we discuss various components that should be on your menu, we will also talk about common psychological practices to appeal to customers!

Eye Popping Layout or Simple Cuisine Luxury?

The design of your restaurant’s menu needs to make the most out of a customer’s gaze as their eyes travel over the page. It’s just like that final aisle before you pay at a supermarket, where all the sweets lure you into spending more than you originally planned.

The prime tactic is to ensure that the most profitable dishes are always at eye-level throughout your menu. However, before we discuss the nitty gritty of menu design, we must mention simplicity is key.

Overly-complicated menus tend to frustrate customers, which studies illustrate leads to more “simple, and cheap” dishes being ordered! Of course, we don’t want that.

The Right Hook of The Restaurant Menu Design

The upper-right corner of each page is prime real estate. Think about it, when you have a blank piece of paper or newspaper, where do you start? More profitable dishes will usually be found here.

It is important to keep the menu flow as you engineer it, as of course, the trick is to create enough appeal that your customers begin to think with their stomachs and not their brains.

Using The Negative Spacing To Your Advantage

Another useful and relatively easy trick is to make the most out of negative spacing throughout your menu. Creating a negative space is as easy as putting a light box around your most profitable items, which will automatically pull the eye of your customers – increasing the likelihood of profitable sales.

What About The Menu Design Colours?

Did you know that colors can affect your mood? As hard as it is to believe, studies illustrate that it is true. So, now is when you need to contemplate the theme/purpose of your restaurant.

Is it somewhere to go and relax after a long day? Perhaps you had a vision for it to be more of a place of fine-dining?

Establishments that wish their customers to enjoy a soothing drink and delicious meal tend to use the color blue. Studies illustrate that this is because blue has a soothing serenity effect on our moods.

Studies have also shown that colors such as red tends to arouse our appetite whereas yellow is the shining bright attention-drawer.

What About How You Price Your Tantalizing Entrees And Gourmet Meals?

The Secret Crypto Currency Technique

This is another useful technique that the majority of restaurants tend to overlook. When a customer frequents your restaurant, they are hungry. This means that their stomach is waging war with their minds as they battle to choose what delicacy they wish to indulge in.

It is always up to the menu design to ensure that the customer’s stomachs win. A simple trick is leaving out the currency symbol on your menus pricing. This tends to alleviate the emphasis on what the meal costs. In fact, research shows that this increases spending by a whopping 30-percent.

Is That All There Is To Restaurant Menu Design?

These are indeed just a few simple techniques to help you out when you are creating your restaurant menu. There are, of course, more complicated techniques – this is just the tip of the iceberg. However, the first-step is always the most important, which is why we highly recommend you incorporate everything that you have learned into your menu design.

Also, don’t forget to check out the awesome infographic below!

We understand that this may all seem a bit confusing right off the bat. However, we are here to help. Take the first step and contact us if you wish to get any advice when it comes to your menu design.

Mystery Shopper Analysis: Helping To Maintain Standards And Consistency

In the hospitality niche, customer experience is what keeps the world spinning. In your hotel or restaurant, it comes down to the quality of rooms, food, service and other psychology tricks. However, the same principles apply to those who frequent your various hotel rooms or restaurant. This is where you need a mystery shopper agency, such as Hotel & Restaurant Consultancy Ltd.

What Is a Mystery Shopper Analysis:
Many of those who first hear the term “mystery shopper” automatically jump to the thoughts of secrecy, perhaps even thoughts of James Bond come to mind. Ironically, when you think of a mystery shopper agency you wouldn’t be that far off. Hotel & Restaurant Consultancy Ltd will perform a full-scale review on everything a customer experiences. Of course, while the review is taking place – you will have no clue about it.

Through performing a mystery shopper analysis, you will be able to shore up on your strong points and identify any potential weak links throughout the customer’s leisure experience. So, now that you know what a mystery shopper analysis is – shall we proceed to the “why” it can help your business?

The Impact a Mystery Shopper Analysis Will Have On Your Customer Experience:
Hotel & Restaurant Consultancy Ltd is a mystery shopper agency that ensures that no stone is unturned throughout the entire process. We review what our team experiences when it comes to employee engagement, service, as well as overall customer satisfaction. Of course, we don’t just stop there.

Our surveys are designed to be thorough to help ensure that you can vastly improve the overall experience a customer has from the moment they step foot through your doors. This is why we take extensive measures to replicate your day-to-day customers, as well with potential problems that may arise.

From The Difficult Customer To A Blissful Experience:
A prime example of this would be a “difficult customer”. We will purposely pose a problem, or request specific staff members in order to gauge the reaction of staff throughout the experience.

If you are looking to provide that once-in-a-lifetime feel to your restaurant or hotel, then Hotel & Restaurant Consultancy Ltd strongly recommends a mystery shopper agency analysis. From our experience alone, we cannot emphasize the positive impact it has on both the engagement of your employees as well as the experience of your customers straight down to their first impressions.

A mystery shopper analysis, in general, is one of the most powerful tools anyone in the hospitality niche has at their disposal. It helps to revolutionize the customer’s experience.

What Hotel & Restaurant Consultancy Ltd Offers Throughout Our Analysis:

  • High-end surveys engineered to create the best actionable results for either a hotel or restaurant.
  • Extensive shopper expertise. Prior to any shopper being allowed to enter into the program, we train them extensively in various techniques. This helps to ensure in-depth and accurate results from the analysis.
  • Top-Notch 100% completion rate devoid of excuses. Hotel & Restaurant Consultancy Ltd firmly believes in completing a service that we are hired for, which is why we guarantee a 100% completion rate.

What We Evaluate Throughout A Restaurant Experience:

  • The first-impression / service from the moment we enter the restaurant.
  • The service as we take our seat.
  • Period of time it takes to receive orders.
  • The quality of food.
  • Overall service throughout the process.
  • Employee engagement and service when we replicate being a “difficult customer”.

What We Evaluate Throughout a Hotel Experience:

  • Check-In Experience – When it comes to hospitality its not always service, but also a design that plays a large impact on a customers experience.
  • Restaurant Evaluation – Does your hotel have a restaurant, if so we will perform the above mentioned analysis.
  • Room Service – From the time it takes for room service to arrive, to the simplicity of the ordering process.
  • How efficient are the house-keeping staff? Housekeeping can be annoying to some customers. It is important to ensure that the staff are not overbearing.
  • How smoothly did the check-out process go?

Regardless of whether you are investing in the improvement of your hotel or restaurant, if you want to evolve your customer experience, a mystery shopper analysis is the best way to go about it. You want your customers experience in the diner or stay in the hotel to be as memorable as possible: Customer experience and satisfaction are the two-stepping stones that can place you high above even the most threatening competitors.

Hotel & Restaurant Consultancy Ltd would like to be the mystery shopper agency to help you develop your services, straight from when the customer first walks in through the front doors all the way to the bill or check-out process.

If you would like to know more about the Shape Hospitality team – feel free to reach out to us. We look forward to hearing from you.