To Be Successful, You Must Have a Solid Foundation

 In 5. Fred Langley, Operations

Authored by Fred Langley

Implementing systems and training will only take your restaurant to the next level if you first have a foundation of quality food, quality service and cleanliness.

If your place isn’t clean to the standards of a hospital, service isn’t up to par, and food isn’t rotated properly, you are setting the tone for your staff to lower their expectations of your business. If you don’t care, why should they?

This is the basic foundation of every restaurant regardless of the food it serves. Without a firm foundation of good food, good service and cleanliness, all of your marketing and operational improvements are for naught. So before you implement any marketing or operational changes make sure you are handling the little things in your restaurant.

Always begin with how clean your restaurant is, begin by pointing out to employees that certain areas need more attention and create a clean-up checklist for all things that need attention before, during and after all shifts for all departments. Require employees to put their initials next to completed tasks and ask for their help in creating a checklist that leaves no spot unchecked and every detail paid attention to. Maintain accountability by having the opening manager go over the checklist and making notes of any task performed below your expectations. Show how you care and they will care, too.

Another suggestion I have is to spend an evening expediting orders. Every dish that comes out of your kitchen will be inspected by your keen eye. Make your staff fix their errors even if they have to restart a whole table. Maintain your standards, tell the guests that you only want the best experience possible for them so the kitchen is making everything perfect for them and provide them with a little taste of something you have readily available, like a sampling of soup or dessert on the house. Catch problems before they reach the table. Do this once a week at least; it is a great way to communicate expectations to your staff.

Systems are essential to running a successful and profitable restaurant. But they won’t work if you don’t already operate with these principles in place.

Fred Langley is the executive chef and owner of Langley’s on the Green, , a fine dining establishment in Windsor, Calif., located in the heart of the Sonoma County wine country. Fred believes fine dining is about more than food, but about the entire experience. He is a part of the Smile Button coaching team and his unique restaurant set-up, family involvement and high standards makes him an incredible asset and coach.

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