How Restaurants Can Leverage Smart Checklists
Restaurants need to adapt to industry-wide change quickly and effectively. Technology adoption is a key trend as restaurants seek to combat slower labor-force growth, rising costs, and an increasingly complex legislative and regulatory environment. In addition, customers expect restaurants to incorporate technology that will improve customer service and convenience.
Restaurant operators can adapt to these expectations by automating time-consuming administrative tasks, thereby improving productivity and efficiency, eliminating human error and establishing accountability. One popular trend among restaurants are mobile solutions known as smart checklists that ensure consistency and accountability across all locations.
What is a smart checklist?
In its most basic form, a smart checklist takes all the on-paper, manual processes you’ve been using to perform audits/checklists and monitor operations -- and rebuilds them digitally. Then the same version of each process, each list, each set of standards is available on a mobile device to everyone within your organization, in real time.
Your managers log in on their phones or tablets from any location and can immediately perform quality checks on any topic with a few swipes and taps – and all of their entries are automatically tracked by GPS and time-stamped for your official records.
Back at the office, an app dashboard provides an instant and clear summary, along with the ability to easily find any specific data you need -- either aggregated or by location. You’re always prepared to identify and take action on any issues that arise before they become serious – or, conversely, identify and transplant best practices from one successful location to others. What your restaurant chain develops is a high-quality, consistent customer experience that develops repeat business.
More benefits of smart checklists
Because smart checklists are digital, they’re easy to customize; they also make it easy to include documentation like transcribed notes (why type or write when you can speak?), supporting files, and photos. You can:
- Build your own standardized benchmarks and quality assessment templates where deficiencies can be tracked and resolved.
- Develop your own action plan recommendations, set up automated reminders, and track results in real time.
- Audit all operations and the execution of loss-prevention standards.
- Quickly send key performance and operation data from any location back to the main office.
More on accountability and consistency
As noted, restaurant operators must ensure that all locations are delivering a consistently enjoyable experience in order to be successful. For chains, this consistency means your locations must be held accountable in reflecting your branding requirements, completing standardized employee training, and meeting crucial regulatory requirements around health and safety. Smart checklists make monitoring this accountability easy by:
- Ensuring safety regulations and policies are being followed, all the time, in every location.
- Planning for and taking immediate remedial action as needed, including assigning responsibilities for completing each action.
- Add photos that document the operational story, for good or bad. (One picture could really be worth 1,000 words)
- Allowing for audits to take place in multiple locations at once, with all results available in real time.
- Cutting down on the possibility of human error at any point during the administrative process.
- Opening an analytical window into each location, making it easier to uncover reasons why certain stores are generating specific outcomes.
- Establishing instant access to the enterprise-wide analytics you need to monitor all your operations.
You can’t improve what you don’t measure. A digital checklist solution for restaurants can ensure the right actions are being taken on time, every time, so all your locations deliver a consistently strong customer experience. Then you can focus on creating a quality experience for your guests, all of which ultimately increases your bottom line positively.
About the Author
Ray Abramson is Chief Operating Officer for MeazureUp. As the COO for MeazureUp, Abramson spends considerable time working with restaurant chains on how to streamline their operations. With their AuditApp and DailyChex solutions, Abramson is able to support the reduction of overhead costs and increase operational consistency.