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Preparing for the Rush: Five Crucial Steps

May 10, 2021

RTS Partner Len Ghilani’s  five-step plan creates pride in the presentation of your restaurant to guests and employees. Our clients have employed this process successfully over the years, and we encourage you to adapt it to your restaurant as customers return. Meanwhile, if this blog post hits home, let us know and we’ll be in touch immediately. 

Step 1 Facility and Equipment Maintenance

Goal: Repair or replace building or equipment components. Assess building repair and equipment needs and create a plan to address these needs, considering lead times and budget. Tactics include:

  • Checking and/or calibrating equipment for optimum performance.
  • Inspecting floor grouting, wall integrity, exterior awnings, and  windows.
  • Cleaning or replacing missing, damaged or dirty ceiling tiles.
  • Inspecting every light fixture, inside and outside. Replacing bulbs, including repair neons.
  • Checking baseboards, cove-base tiles in the kitchen, corner guards and door thresholds. Repair or replace as needed.
  • Checking floor drains for proper drainage and cleanliness.
  • Inspecting interior and exterior wall perforations (where plumbing, power conduits and syrup tubes are traveling) to assure proper seals are in place to prevent vermin or odors.
  • Inspecting the cleanliness of HVAC diffusers, cooler fans and covers.
  • Inspecting the integrity of circuit boards and covers. (Hire a licensed electrician make necessary repairs as needed.)
  • Walking the parking lot and sidewalks, if applicable, and noting wide cracks, broken concrete and/or potholes .

Step 2  New Back-of-the-House Standards

The Back-of-the-House, or kitchen operation, sets the sanitation and cleanliness standards in the restaurant.  In this step, every tangible aspect of the operation is brought to a new level of cleanliness and sanitation. This new standard is achieved when a surface, piece of equipment or material of any kind resembles its condition when it was brand sparkling new.  That’s a level of cleanliness clearly understood by employees and creates the revitalized energy of a new building.  Employees therefore must bring work surfaces, walls, ceilings, doors, gaskets, plumbing & electrical fixtures, shelves, small wares, glass ware to a redefined level of cleanliness — and maintain it.

Step 3 New Front-of-the-House Standards

The front-of-the-house (every part of the restaurant your guests see, feel and touch) is the stage on which all presentation happens.  In this step, as in Step 2, everything that has even the most remote chance of being touched, seen or used by a guest is brought to the new standards you’ve set forth in the kitchen. This includes, but is not limited to, walls, ceiling tiles, woodwork, chair rails, tables & chairs, host desk, menu holders, menus, counter tops, restroom walls & fixtures, floors, POS terminals, monitors & printers, electrical & plumbing fixtures, lighting, windows, shades, pictures & artwork, planters, and plants.  If and where applicable, carpeting will be inspected for the need for either shampooing or replacing.

Step 4  The Professional & Organized Manager

A professional image starts with organization. Organized managers are better prepared and in  better frames of mind to be  outstanding leaders.  They’re focused, for instance, on removing clutter and disarray from all areas of the property.  This includes actions like removing tape-posted memos in random locations and consolidating these communications to a centralized message board.  It includes better filing in the office, clean shelves that retain relevant material and create space for the important documents (operations and training manuals, for example).

Managers must learn to view the operation from guests’ viewpoint and in the process identify what guests should and shouldn’t see.  Recognizing this “line-of-sight” produces a more professional environment and reduces distractions.

Step 5  Training & Development

During the first four steps, designated leaders of the organization are expected to participate in the actual execution of the initiatives.  In so doing, they gain first-hand experience and knowledge of the goals in each step. This allows them to develop training programs that take these new expectations on the road to all locations. If the company has several locations, we suggest beginning the five-step process in one designated “pilot” location. It’s where we will all focus on these efforts, follow up on progress and facilitate the roll-out to all locations.

Also in Step 5, picking an operations support team, empowered to protect the integrity of these new standards, is crucial.  That’s because they will be be responsible for introducing the standards into existing training programs.  Ultimately, of course, the responsibility of executing consistently on these standards falls to the General Manager.  Multiunit supervisors in your company oversee and rate managers’ performance through frequent inspections, documentation and performance reviews.

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