Establishing Standards In Your Restaurant

Restaurant manager with his kitchen staff

A STANDARD IS A GOAL or expected level of performance that becomes the benchmark you will compare with the actual performance. It’s an ideal condition one wishes to attain and a sense of where one seeks to be in relation to where one actually is at a point in time. The process of establishing realistic productivity standards begins with assembling data on productivity, which requires planning on the part of management.

Before attempting to develop any standard of employee performance or productivity, you must possess a clear and detailed perspective of the operation. That involves defining quality standards for food and beverages, the level of customer service, and the demographics of the customer base.

Once the products and services to be offered have been described, it will become apparent which jobs need to be filled and the skill levels required. The regular assignment of work can be ascertained and schedules developed. You must conduct that analysis for your own operation; industry standards or those of a competitor will not work for your operation. Review schedules and hours worked for each employee-job category. Break down the information by days of the week and meal periods. Observe employees on the job and grade their productive efforts throughout their shift.

Observation of workers in action will enable you to identify the employees with the best and poorest productivity. The most productive employees serve as the standard of productivity for that position. An efficient measurement must be made of both the amount of work that must be accomplished within a time frame and the number of employees who are required to accomplish that work at the minimum qualitative level of performance. Those activity levels become the standards of performance for manpower requirements for each job classification.

Ask such questions as, “What makes an efficient cook or dishwasher?” “What is it that makes Sue a more productive cook than Bill?” “How many covers can Tom handle before he needs help?” In essence, what you’re conducting is a form of work analysis utilized by human-resource engineers to determine the number of workers needed at the different levels of business activity. The number required will depend on the quantitative output and the qualitative standards expected.

That information serves both as a basis for writing job descriptions and establishing staffing guidelines. It also may reveal inefficiencies and opportunities for including labor saving equipment, present a better way to arrange the work center, identify time-saving equipment and utensils, and even target those tasks that could be accomplished by another employee or job category.

Standards must be established based on actual on-the-job conditions and not measurements in a controlled environment. Each standard must be general enough to account for the varying abilities of employees and actual circumstances of the task and work environment.

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