It has been said that “Restaurants are nothing but a box of problems.” There are constant issues that need to be continually addressed as a restaurant. Restaurants notoriously don’t have enough storage space so keeping all of your supplies up to par can be difficult. An unexpected surge of a menu item can cause you to 86 aka “run out of” the item for other guests. If you misplace a box of your printing paper supply, it can wreak havoc on the ending of a dining experience. If a guest or employee drops a few rolls of toilet paper on a wet spot and now there is nothing for the guests to wipe their bums; you won’t hear the end of it!
Yes, there are always going to be issues but if you have a well-trained and engaged staff that is openly communicating; those problems will become easier and easier to turn into opportunities of growth. Problems are needed to keep your staff interested in work. If everything was easy, we would never grow as individuals or as a restaurant. Having checklists with your “par” number of resources is necessary to succeed. This link will help you define “pars” a little better. How to set up a Restaurant Par Sheet If you plan on just ordering things once you notice you are running low, you will inevitably miss something and that will only increase your headaches of operating a business
Organization is the key to a successful restaurant. Putting in place processes for everything you need to operate is something every restaurant needs. Take the time to make your supply lists and check them routinely. A great and easy way to improve employee engagement and help your business run more efficiently is to give your employees access to a white board. Let them tell you when they are running low or out of an item.
Commend your employees during pre-shift or over an email for letting you know of the shortage. Encourage them to openly communicate their needs to complete their jobs. Keep track of items that continuously find their way onto the shortage list and perhaps change your pars to help accommodate the needs of the business. You never know when a gaggle of kids might roll through your restaurant and destroy all of the crayons you had for your kid’s menu, let your employees communicate that to you!
There will always be issues with supplies and suppliers, the key is to try to forecast as accurately as possible. When your forecasts are inaccurate you need to respond as quickly as possible. The need for management to be in communication with your staff and their needs is of paramount importance. Restaurants are nothing more than a box of opportunities to improve processes.
The key is to hire attentive humans who are not only problem finders but problem solvers. If you can’t think of a solution, there is a good chance one of your employees has an idea to help! Lean into your staff and know you hired them not only to give them a paycheck, but to help improve their work environment. Any restaurant that is doing the same thing they did on Day 1 as they are on Day 365 is one that hasn’t adapted to the needs of their environment and is destined to just be a box of problems.