Common wisdom tells us that quality costs more, but according to one of the foremost experts on quality this is not the case.
W. Edwards Deming, statistician, professor, author, consultant, lecturer, a man who made significant contributions to Japan’s reputation for high quality products and its rise to an economic power in the latter half of the 20th Century, wrote extensively about how a focus on quality actually reduces costs while providing a number of other benefits. Convincingly, his ideas and methods were proven true by numerous success stories – most dramatically the rise of Japanese manufacturing to world class status after World War II.
How does a club measure or quantify the cost of confusion, mishandled or incomplete information and orders, time to investigate and correct errors, and member dissatisfaction? The bottom line is that poor quality and disorganization is a major driver of costs in club operations. Conversely, an improvement in quality not only lowers costs but also improves service. The combination of lower cost and better service attracts more member patronage which improves the club’s bottom line.
Detailed organizational systems and processes allow the operation to function efficiently. When things happen consistently and routinely in all areas of the operation, employees have the time and the inclination to focus on quality and service. When everything is messed up all the time, employees will find it difficult to care.
So help yourself and your employees by structuring the routine to happen routinely. This takes both the will and the organizational discipline to make it happen. When 80% of the details happen routinely, everyone can focus on the 20% that will wow your members.
So what are some of the things food service managers can do to better organize their operations. This short list is pure common sense:
- Prepare written procedures for all routine tasks – opening, closing, and cleaning procedures, conducting inventories, replenishing par stocks, making coffee and ice tea, and on and on. Since your staff does these things on an ongoing basis, take the time to write them down in detail so they can be used for consistent training and task completion.
- Prepare and use checklists for both training and accountability.
- Prepare room diagrams of all dining and event spaces. These will save time and avoid misunderstandings when it comes to room set ups. Prepare and save set up diagrams for all types of events – receptions, carving stations, buffets, wedding receptions, etc.
- Organize a filing system for each of the above so you can find them quickly when you need them.
- Anytime you hold a training session, organize and save the material. You’ll certainly be using the same material again . . . and again!
- Review all activities and events after the fact and record your observations. You will undoubtedly hold the same or similar events in the future. Your notes for improvement will help continually improve the quality and execution of all you do.
- Prepare written standards and guidance for such basic matters as background music selections for differing meals, activities, and times of day. Make the same effort to define appropriate lighting for differing events and time of day.
- Prepare and use an ever-updated list of project work that can be used to assign to staff in slow moments when you’re not prepared to send anyone home early.
- Train yourself in the techniques and disciplines of time management. Time management is not really about managing time, it’s about managing those task that use up your limited time. When you waste your time, you can’t help but waste your employees’ time as well.
Bottom Line: No one wants to work in a chaotic environment. If your department or section is well-organized, if everyone knows where things are, if employees are well-trained in opening and closing procedures, if everyone knows their responsibilities and is held accountable, the workplace runs almost effortlessly. Don’t run off good people by putting them through the hell of a disorganized operation.
Thanks and have a great day!
This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.
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