Why Checklists? Is It Important ?
The food and beverage industry is a highly labour driven industry. It depends on a hierarchy structure to make sure that the operation is running smoothly, in the kitchen and dining area! To obtain the utmost productivity and making sure nothing falls between the cracks, the establishment requires a proper and effective checklist.
There are different categories of checklists that you can implement in a restaurant, some of which are:
- Food Safety Checklists
- Operational Checklists
- Brand Standards Checklists.
These 3 types or categories are sufficient to ensure that your operation runs smoothly in your restaurant.
Food safety checklists include checklists that maintain and ensure that food safety is at its best in the kitchen and dining area. Long before COVID, food safety was one of the important factors that restaurants should pay attention to. After COVID, food safety has become one of the most important aspects of restaurant operation management. Ensuring the quality of food, cross-contamination, food handling, etc... is crucial to keep up with the minimum food safety standards. For these reasons and more, it's important to apply food safety checklists in your restaurant.
As for the Operational Checklists, to maintain consistency and to create a proper culture in the restaurant, it is important to use opening checklists, closing checklists, supplier checklists, etc... All of these will help run the operation of the restaurant in a proper and smooth manner.
Brand Standard Checklists ensure that your first branch is as consistent as your 5th or 10th, brand standard checklists are crucial. The pressure and heat of the coffee, the temp of the meat, and the spot-check on the quality of the menu items can all be solved in proper brand standards checklists.
It's not enough to only fill up these checklists, following up on them is the important part.
A crucial part of implementing the checklists in your restaurant is to follow up on the checklist and for the management team to act upon them. If the employee is only ticking the boxes or writing down the temp logs without any action behind them, there would be no use for these checklists.
The management team should dedicate some time to review the checklist and take action if needed. If they see an inconsistency in the temp log, they should contact maintenance to resolve the issue. If the coffee pressure is low or the coffee temp is not consistent, they should check the calibration or call up the vendor for cleaning and maintenance.
Having proper checklists reflects on customer satisfaction, which leads to customer retention! Restaurants survive on returned customers, also they are your best marketing tool: word of mouth.
Of course, there are more checklist categories that could be applied, depending on the operation of the restaurant/coffee shop. But it's important to make sure to implement the checklists that are needed only, not to overwhelm the employees with a lot of paperwork so they won't waste their time and energy.
By: Kareem Haj Ibrahim, Director , KAZA Consult