Imagine this – it’s the height of the busy lunch hour and a new employee is getting trained on the register. Meanwhile, orders are backing up in the kitchen and your restaurant is slammed with a line out the door. Many restaurant managers know this scenario all too well – a restaurant operations fail.

Streamlining restaurant operations is an easy step to overlook – especially with a small staff. Since operational mistakes are stressful and costly, wouldn’t you like to avoid operational bottlenecks and increase customer satisfaction? Creating a plan for action is the best way forward. With solid goals in place, you will be able to easily communicate expectations with your team. From there your restaurant operations will become scalable, allowing your business to grow.

Streamlining your restaurant’s operations

We’ve broken the process down for you into five actionable steps you can start using in your restaurant today.

1. Define your goals

Would you like to turn more tables during lunch hour? Speed up assembly for take out orders? Well defined operational goals will help you plan effectively. More importantly, you’ll know when you’ve reached your objectives. To get started – consider ways your team can ensure timely service.

2. Take Notes

Once you have solid goals – write them down. You’ll need objectives in mind to start identifying your processes. Here is where you want to note the operational process down step-by-step. For example, say your goal is to speed up order assembly. Take note of how many staff members will be on the line. How many duties will each of them have before a hand off? An expediter is a great supporting role that can take on minor tasks while others spend their time getting customers through the line. Would you like to add this role into your operations? Great – write it down.

3. Think Ahead

Your goals are written down. Your plan — solid. But not so fast. You now need to get proactive about your ideas. Think through possible speed bumps that may slow your new operational plans. An employee may call out sick, leaving your assembly line down one person. An efficient solution would be to double up responsibilities. Anticipating emergency situations ensures your operations are flexible with changing circumstances.

Pro tip: A flow chart is a great visual tool for getting complex processes down on paper. Many of your restaurant’s operations require communication across different teams. Flowcharting operations allows everyone to see what’s expected and teams need to interact.

4. Test Your New Operations Flow

Now is the time to put your new operations flow into practice. Pay close attention to how your employees pick up on their revised routines. Requesting input from your team is the low-hanging fruit here. First, they’ll be able to anticipate roadblocks you may have overlooked from the previous step. Second, asking for team feedback shows you, the manager, values their opinions. It’s also your opportunity to get everyone clear on how operations will flow moving forward.

5. Make It Official

Finally – tables are being turned at a much higher rate. Customers are leaving your doors satisfied. Writing an operations manual will ensure long term success for your restaurant. Insert the service objectives and flow chart from above as guidelines for team members. Having an operations manual for a small business may seem unnecessary, but dissatisfied customers is even more costly.

Effective restaurant operations produce team efficiency and great service in your restaurant. Tell us how revising operations in your restaurant made a difference @joinhomebase.