Operational Documentation

What Operational Documentation do I need when I open a restaurant? Here is a way to look at documentation: When you need to drive somewhere that you are not familiar with, you go to your smartphone, tablet or in car navigation and enter in the address. Voila!! You can follow the directions to your destination. When one opens their own restaurant, management and staff also need directions. The map for these directions is the Management Training Guide. The content of this guide communicates the performance standards and the results expected from your personnel. It is a step by step guide, much like a kitchen recipe for success, and it provides information and training that they need in order to be successful. The list can be endless, but for the independent operator the following items are must-haves:

  1. Brand Statement: Define your concept in terms of food & beverage, décor & environment, management & service, marketing & merchandising. We liken these descriptors as “Brand Pillars”
  2. Organization Chart: Who reports to whom? Make sure this is clear to all of the staff.
  3. Job Descriptions: Is it clear what each person’s job is and what the level of expectation is?
  4. Employee Rules and Regulations: It is important to tell everyone what one can and cannot do. Staff then knows where they stand at all times.
  5. What it Means to Work as a Team: How do we work as a team to ensure higher success?
  6. How to Interview: Steps of conducting an interview for new hires.
  7. Orientation Process: New hires are nervous and need to understand the operation. This is the time to thoroughly explain the business and to have them ask questions so that they are comfortable in their new job.
  8. Employee Training: This is a step by step, day by day written guide given to the trainee and the trainer of how to do one’s job. It is complete with testing so that we know the new staff member knows their job.
  9. Writing Schedule to Ensure Great Service and Control Costs: There is an art to this work, but two of the brand pillars in the brand statement deal with service and profitability. These two elements must be upheld to ensure success.
  10. Purchase and Inventory: Maintaining certain purchase procedures and standards as well as certain inventory levels is key to profitability, consistency, and assurance that one is not going to run out of items or be overstocked.
  11. Opening and Closing Processes/Checklists: I find it interesting how many operators do not have these lists. Further, among the ones who have them, the management and staff are all too
    often not following them. Absence of the list and lack of observing protocols cause confusion and lesser performance.
  12. Tip Distribution: A succinct policy must be in place. The staff’s pay is very important to them. This policy must be clear and must be observed.
  13. Manager Daily Check List: This is to be written out and reviewed with the manager on duty so these tasks are completed several times a day.
  14. Managing the Floor: There are expectations and protocols. This is a training and coaching moment and should be observed carefully by management.

There is a longer list, to be sure, but we feel this is a good starting point for your documentation guides. We have formats that are easily adjusted to your operation and take into account the idiosyncrasies of your business. We have found it takes concentrated time and research to get these documents completed and while they are necessarily not difficult they can be quite time consuming. If you need some assistance developing these protocols, give Taylor Terao a call at 206.650.8097.

Taylor Terao has spent his career in both the hotel and restaurant industry developing management and documentation that works. Taylor Terao has opened close to 100 restaurants and hotels as both a manager and consultant. He has performed all job duties of every position in a restaurant and a hotel including management and ownership. He has taught at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and Rocky Mountain College in Colorado covering different facets of the hospitality industry. He was part of the training team that helped the Ritz Carlton win the Malcom Baldridge Quality Award two years in a row.

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