From productivity to efficiency in operations

In the past, all you had to do was focus on the productivity and efficiency of your operations. restaurant for the business to run successfully because the competitive environment seemed stable. Unfortunately those times have changed and the companies they have been forced not only to look inside, but also to study their behavior externally, evaluating the acceptance in the market of what it offers, the satisfaction and loyalty of customers, the quality-price relationships and all those questions that from the outside can have an influence on the efficient performance and competitiveness of the organization.

Alberto Wilensky in his book “Keys to Competitive Strategy1”Argues that“… running a business is not in itself dangerous, but in competitive economies carelessness, negligence or lack of learning and training are generally not survivable. Whoever conducts the business and defines strategies is solely responsible for the safety of the human and financial resources committed to the project. Whether the trip is a "relaxed cruise" or a "Russian roulette" depends more on the captain than on the passengers and the latter on his capacity for analysis, evaluation and resolution ... "
The application of strategies in address de restaurants They have become a powerful instrument through which the conditions and behavior of the market customer, competitive situations, advantages and disadvantages in the introduction of new products (food and service), prices, marketing (how , where or when to sell), the human, material and financial resources of advertising and promotion, etc. They, in the opinion of the majority of scholars and writers on the subject, constitute a determining factor in the company's results and the key to the success of the company. management of direction in the food and beverage service.

What do we understand by Strategy?

Merging various criteria we can say that it is an anticipated model of behavior, which in its essence must collect positive and different elements from the past, that is, a set of accumulated knowledge of the organization and the environment that must be ordered, integrated and organized in a way such that it allows identifying what to renounce if the future. It is to optimize the position and the results of the installation in the short, medium and long term, taking advantage of its competitive advantages and the weaknesses of the competition.

Strategies in the restaurant?

Incredibly, there are still people in this world who think that a good dish, at a good price, and a nice decoration - local atmosphere, is enough to attract customers. And a little further, there are still those who think that while their restaurant it's full, it's being profitable. So, we should ask ourselves… Works?
In previous articles, I discussed a group of tools, which today go to a secondary level, for the analysis of the profitability of the offer in the restaurant and its impact on economic and financial results, allowing the necessary information to be obtained for taking strategic. I tried to be as scientific as possible in that regard with simple language so that the essence of the idea could be understood, which I tried to convey in them, but today, they must be seen as a complement to the direction and administration de restaurants. They are not enough for the business to achieve splendors of success.
I explain this because, although any tool that facilitates decision making is welcome; If we just focus on them, and don't keep in mind past experience, competition, technology and a host of issues that are important, our interpretations of them would not lead to much. Maybe we'll fix an immediate problem, but in the long term it will have its consequences.
Well, if we do not bear these aspects in mind, unfortunately, any information that the previous tools provide us will not be enough for the restaurant - locomotive we drive - run its course.
Imagine that in a Menu Engineering you identify empty dishes, (highly popular and little contribution in profits) and decide to act on them to try to take it to the other quadrant (star). Decide to increase their price or decrease the grammage, inferring that they will maintain their popularity and increase their contribution in money.
You apply that decision and… his plato cow, now it's a dog dish. What happened?
Nothing, simple:
  • You did not consider the competition, which offers a similar dish, at a similar or lower price.
  • You did not consider that those who consumed these dishes were, possibly university students, or workers of a company that came to your restaurant looking for a "cheap and good" offer for lunch.
  • You were not aware of changes in the environment (closing of a factory, end of the academic year of a school and many others).
  • You did not review the technical sheets of the plate.
  • You did not settle correctly in the scandals of the computer system, all those products that make up that plate and its cost is false.
  • You did not take into account the financial situation of the country.
  • You have not been able to clearly identify which market niche you are working for.
  • You have not strategically projected yourself as a company.
And so, I can list a series of questions that, if they are not taken into account when interpreting a number, however small it may be, can far from improve, make things worse.

What do I propose to you?

Dear reader. Much has been written about strategy and well. So I propose a group of actions, which personally have been very useful with my students, source of feedback, so that you take them into account.
First. Whenever you have to make a strategic decision for the business, ask yourself what benefits the restaurant. For example, in a typical case of investment in technology, even if it is one of the most modern, perhaps your business does not need it because its success lies in the preparation of its home-style dishes. Or because the set of dishes that you offer does not require it. If you invest, you will have one of the most modern technologies ... practically decorative. Your money is stationary.
Second. How much do I have to sacrifice to get what I want. Make sure that what you want for your restaurant is wanted by your employees and your customers. Don't think in your image, think in the image of others.
Third. Always have your weaknesses and strengths identified as a provider. Ask yourself what is the best thing about my restaurant, what do I have that others do not have and that they cannot imitate. Similarly, what I do not have and what if others have.
Room. Study the environment. The fact that the business is going well today is no reason to put aside what is happening around you.
Fifth. Talk to your employees, feed back. They may have brilliant ideas or compelling arguments for you to make a decision. Also pledge them. Don't just assume setbacks, make them collective as well as wins. Your employees can easily move to where they benefit the best and where they are best served. Teach them to be loyal, to feel the business as their own.
Sixth. Don't just focus on what's going on outside, look inside. Take a picture of your business daily and try to perceive the changes that occur in it. Are my workers motivated? Do they have the necessary resources for the service? Do they work as a team, does it feel like a team?
Seventh. Don't refuse to train your workers. They are the best resource you have. They are the ones who talk face to face with the client, the ones who perceive satisfaction, the ones who receive complaints, the ones who know what they want, how they want it and when they want it. They are the ambassadors of your restaurant in the environment.
Eighth. What you don't know or understand about financial issues, ask. You don't always have to know everything. It is better to ask, consult, than to remain in doubt. If you do not understand how your assets are depreciated, or why the costs, or how to plan your budget, project expenses and estimate the profits of your business, hire a consultant. In the same way, it happens with the service, if you do not dominate the activity it offers, many people (unfair employees and even the competition) will take advantage of it.
Nineth. Manage your time. Don't just focus on bureaucratic activities. Set aside time to observe the service, the workmanship, of your employees. This in addition to allowing you to identify failure, improve processes, set standards, will show an interested boss.
Tenth. Occasionally, meet a customer, exchange with him. Identify your repeaters and take action on him. That will give distinction to the restaurant…. "in that restaurant the manager also serves"
Finally,  learn to combine. Don't just be the Manager who controls and demands. Be the Manager who teaches and who learns.
I am a dreamer and in my dreams I believe that a better world is possible, that no one knows more than anyone, we all learn from everyone. I love gastronomy, numbers, teaching and sharing all the little I know, because by sharing I also learn. "Let's all go together from foundation to success"
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