Winning Restaurant Wars with Standard Operating Procedures

May 25, 2020 in Safety and Inspections

Winning Restaurant Wars with Standard Operating Procedures
Table of Contents

On the TV show, Top Chef, the episode called “Restaurant Wars” has teams of chefs creating and opening their dream restaurants. We see teams developing their menus, creating a restaurant vibe, and training the front-of-house staff. We don’t see much about financial constraints, purchasing kitchen equipment, scheduling, inventory, or inspections. 

But good food and friendly staff is not enough to win a restaurant war. What goes on in the “back of the house” is even more vital. Digitized and easily accessible written procedures will reduce costly mistakes and mishaps. A smooth dining experience ensures that guests will return for the good food and service.

Write Standard Operating Procedures to put your restaurant on firm footing to pass inspections. Smart SOP will help earn those rave restaurant reviews and win restaurant awards for quality and service.

Write Standard Operating Procedures that include restaurant rules and regulations. These SOP need to be written for both the front and the back of the house. 

Salad Bar
Restaurant Standard Operating Procedures

According to Score, sponsored by the Small Business Administration, bars and restaurants are subject to rules and regulations regarding:

  • Foodservice licenses
  • Food storage
  • Employee cleanliness
  • Employee safety
  • Alcohol sales

There’s no time to search for an SOP thumbtacked on a wall or in a back-office manual when orders are piling up and guests are waiting. SOP need to be digitized and available for staff members, wherever and whenever they need them.

5 SOP to Win the Restaurant Wars

Write Standard Operating Procedures for restaurants that include:

Staff and personal hygiene, including 

  • employee health and personal hygiene
  • handwashing
  • glove and utensil use
  •  contact with blood

Facility and equipment, including:

  • equipment cleaning and sanitizing, 
  • dishwashing
  • pest control
  • ice machine cleaning
  • thermometer calibration, facility
  • sanitation of dining areas
  • laundry and linen use

Food flow, including: 

  • purchasing and receiving food from outside sources
  • food storage, cold food preparation
  • freezer and refrigerator maintenance

Menu production, including:

  • holding- and reheating food temperatures
  • food donations
  • recycling and composting food waste

Communications, including: 

  • response to foodborne illness complaints and reports
  • engagement with kitchen visitors
  • staff orientation and training
  • food safety regulations

SOP need to integrate the FDA’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Training and Monitoring principles. These principles include food safety training, quality improvement, record keeping, and employee training. 

Restaurant Standard Operating Procedures
Restaurant Dishwashing

Restaurant owners, chefs, kitchen staff, and front-of-house waiters execute SOP daily. Quality and up-to-date SOP keeps restaurants running safely and efficiently. 

However, SOP are useless without great communication, training, documentation, and implementation. Staff are often trained to do things a certain way. It’s assumed that everybody knows “this is how we do things here.”

Miscommunications can happen in a fast-paced restaurant. Especially, if you’ve been dealing with incredibly high turnover. Add SOP to your online employee manual and available for easy access to provide managers with compliance checklists.

Keep kitchens running smoothly and efficiently with clear communication between management, staff, and vendors. 

Write Winning Restaurant SOP

Standard operating procedures clearly outline expectations and standards for restaurant operations, including safety and health compliance. 

Write Standard Operating Procedures to manage expectations, eliminate confusion, and provide preventive maintenance guidelines. 

SOP in the back of the house improves food quality and reduce costly food waste. SOP provide line cooks with specific preparation instructions and kitchen staff with rules about what brands and quantities should be ordered. 

SOP provide consistency across teams and fix recurring issues with guest satisfaction, sanitation issues, inspections, and staff turnover.

Impress the Judges with Increased Efficiency

SOP reduce the time managers need to spend on inefficiencies. Completed SOP provide proof of good service, cleanliness, meal preparation, and preventive maintenance of kitchen appliances. 

SOP reduce labor costs by providing step-by-step training of staff, from line cooks and chefs to waiters to management. With staff turnover high in the restaurant industry, SOP provide instructions and expectations in easy-to-read accessible formats. 

Writing restaurant SOP reduces time spent on training, increases preventive maintenance, and reduces reactive maintenance. Restaurant Standard Operating Procedures also prepare staff for OSHA and food regulatory compliance inspections. Grade A signs in the restaurant window will bring in customers and keep well-trained staff on the job.

SOP are written lists of rules, standards, and norms that layout how to work efficiently, safely, and professionally. The success or failure of a restaurant depends on how well the needs of the customers are met. Restaurant SOP or Standard Operating Procedures help restaurants deliver the required and expected standard of service customers will pay for. 

The restaurant SOP should focus on how you want your restaurant (your brand) to look in the eyes of the customer. SOP about staff hygiene, customer treatment, and food preparation are crucial to keeping a restaurant busy and open for business. A restaurant can fail if it receives one bad inspection.

SOP keep your business in check. They provide clear instructions and expectations to staff about how to carry out their duties. These guidelines also help train new staff efficiently in less time. 

This Is How Your Restaurant Wins

In summary:

  • SOP standardize routines.
  • SOP manage testing and quality control. 
  • SOP specify guidelines for employee performance.
  • SOP provide templates for replication and growth. 

Restaurant SOP should include step-by-step instructions for: 

  • Food preparation and handling
  • Food presentation
  • Food storage
  • Customer service standards
  • Front-of-the-house greeting and seating
  • Order taking and serving
  • Take-out and delivery standards
  • Billing and final settlement
  • Customer complaint management
  • Equipment handling and maintenance
  • Health and hygiene regulations 
  • Safety measures

Win Restaurant Health and Safety Inspections

Health inspectors require restaurants to have written Standard Operating Procedures for safe food handling. 

Local health departments administer and enforce food laws. To stay open and competitive, restaurants need to have written SOP that describe methods and operating procedures. 

Restaurant SOP cover all aspects of food preparation and service. You must show that you have a plan in place for monitoring, verifying, record-keeping, and taking corrective action. 

Review standard operating procedures for food-handling with all employees. They may be tested on their knowledge during routine health inspections.

Rules covering heating, cooling, labeling, hand-washing, and other practices that prevent foodborne illness are available through your local health department. Use them as a basis for developing your restaurant’s SOP for food handling.

Write your SOP by job description or operation areas for cross-training. Staff will be able to use the SOP as a reference when filling unfamiliar roles when short-staffed. SOP also prevent liability. SOP for staff appearance and safety might include wearing proper footwear to avoid slipping or falling.

Beat the Competition: Restaurants Win with Standard Operating Procedures 

Running a smooth kitchen requires that all the moving parts be organized. Restaurants need easy-to-follow SOP for: 

  • preventive maintenance plans
  • quality assurance guidelines
  • regulatory inspection checklists
  • equipment tracking
  •  food safety rules 

Streamline standard operating procedures for both the front-of-house and the back-of-the-house. Train new staff, communicate in seconds with all employees, keep guests happy, so they will keep coming back for more. 

Let MaintainX show you how.

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