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Standard Operating Procedures for Restaurants and Food Chains

Standard Operating Procedures for Restaurants and Food Chains

Here at Supply Chain Synergy Consultants (SC2), we believe that it’s critical to have standard operating procedures in place for your restaurant to ensure that all operating parameters, processes, and plans are optimally designed and aligned due to the fact that a high level of efficiency is critical to the overall success of a restaurant. Below, you will find some tips on how to create a higher degree of efficiency that will ultimately result in increased profits (even during a period of low sales).


1. Review Your Restaurant’s Current Standard Operating Procedures

Take a look at the steps each team member has to follow to get the menu and service executed. This should include from the time the product is delivered by your distributor all the way through prep, cooking, assembly, and delivery of service. Steal a page from a principles of industrial engineering textbook and do some process mapping for each of these steps. You will be surprised by what you find. Process mapping will look messy and inefficient, but it provides you with key insights as to where your processes work and where they are not delivering. By using a mapping process, you can identify where service tends to slow down and target specific parts of your operation for optimization.


2. Check Your Platforms and Resources

What equipment and technology platforms are you using? Technology and equipment must be part of the integrated solution for it to truly have a meaningful impact, making it important to review how technology is being used to see where more is needed and areas to scale back. Too much equipment is a waste of capital, while too little equipment can inhibit the restaurant from delivering the right experience during peak business volumes. To create a truly efficient combination of equipment and technology, you must understand how to coordinate the right resource to the right place at the right time (including prep and storage). Consider that when you get done with deciding on a more efficient design. The equipment and technology cost may be higher, but as long as there are other benefits that provide a payback for these applications, then the investment will ultimately make sense in the long run.


3. Consider Layout Size

The overall design (both in the front-of-house and the back-of-house) of the facility is a crucial component in the battle for efficiency. When you have a large space and a lot of employees, the more costs you’ll come across in terms of construction repair and maintenance. Not to mention, delivering good service and hospitality will be much more challenging.


Inefficiency in the physical space will drive inefficiencies in other areas, like service and operating cost, so it’s important to take these elements into consideration for supply chain optimization. Physical and cognitive ergonomics allow your employees to use their surroundings in delivering the experience customers want. As a final note, when you look at the layout design, make sure that the design takes into consideration the customer as well as the employee for every single action they take.


4. Assess Products and Promotions

How difficult is it to prepare your products during a busy period? This is a vital question to assess, since it requires that all of the work stations within your restaurant work together. If one area of the kitchen or the service model runs well while another does not, the overall experience for the guest will not be as efficient, which could prevent them from wanting to come back in the future. Make sure that all of your dishes can be produced efficiently (even when your restaurant is extremely busy) to ensure that your guests receive quality food and service. If you find that some dishes are too hard to prepare during busy times, consider replacing them with simpler offerings.


5. Manage Labor Deployment

In the modern day food industry, labor tends to be the largest (or second largest) line item cost in many restaurant budgets, and the cost of employees is going nowhere but up. Creating the right deployment strategy will be critical to the success of your restaurant. As mentioned before, the key is to have the right labor in the right place at the right time to drive sales. The best way to manage labor is by applying a work content and activity-based process and to allow the financial metric to be influenced by the output. Unfortunately, too many concepts make the financial metric the input or the goal. When you follow a detailed activity-based labor system, if the output (percent of sales being the financial metric) is not acceptable to the shareholders, then the information uncovered in this process will provide the baseline for re-engineering activities, ultimately getting it back in line.


If you do right by your employees by simplifying what they do and reducing bottlenecks and roadblocks, they will deliver the right hospitality and that will ultimately result in higher sales / profits and naturally enable your brand to grow locally, regionally and eventually nationally. The key to this is to apply all of the operating parameters previously mentioned in unison so that they support each other. Driving efficiency is the only way to have the right unit economics that can fuel profitable hospitality that leads to brand growth, which is the ultimate goal of all concepts.


Supply Chain Synergy Consultants (SC2) can assist you with your process mapping project by leveraging our diverse set of services, including restaurant operations consulting. With 20+ affiliated team members and offices in Parker CO, and Cumming GA, we are more than capable of helping your restaurant with process mapping. Feel free to reach out to the owner of Supply Chain Synergy Consultants directly at (303) 883-3355 or through email at if you have any questions about this topic or if you would like a free quote to see what SC2 can do for your company.

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