While we may be talking restaurants and printing businesses of late, my intention is give you some food for thought on how you can implement systems in your own business, no matter what type of business!
Last week I asked for some suggestions on how to improve staff efficiencies:
Julie from Basket Basket (thanks for saying you get a laugh from my newsletters! Yes Yes I know you say you meant it as a compliment!) suggests that staff selection is the key. She further suggests incentives work well to encourage staff.
Michael Wendijk from Aussie Driver Instruction on the Gold Coast (Southern end), suggests that involving all staff as team members, helping them set clear goals, not just focusing on the bottom line, invest the time to train staff, measure their performance by getting feedback from customers and staff.
These suggestions are great, and definitely would make a difference at any business.
This is just one example where systems come into their own! In reality I find that most small business owners feel they just don't have the time to train their staff properly! They expect staff to be able to think for themselves and know what needs to be done.
Typically that results in staff inefficiencies. Unless there are checks and balances in place to measure their performance, you have no real idea whether they are performing or not! So yes Michael you are perfectly right, and Julie's suggestion of staff incentives is spot on, but how do you do it?
In my opinion the best way of training is to video everything the staff member is supposed to do and then allow them to watch it as often as they want. It is something they can do at home. If you don't have the skills to organise your own video library, check out iSystemize, they have a great system for this.
I believe that proper training is absolutely essential, but before you can train properly, you need to assign proper roles.
Take De Vito's as an example. The food is great, and the staff are trained pretty well. They know how to do everything, but here's the problem: They all do everything! If needed, they do the dishes, the clear the tables, they take meal orders, drink orders and take out the meals, and finalise the bills and take payments.
Even the BEST staff make mistakes, have bad days, bad moods etc. When you have to do everything you are likely to miss something. I have no problem with everyone knowing how to do everything, but at times they have 3 girls in the kitchen preparing desserts with no one attending to customers.
I feel that in this case it would be better to have one person who's primary responsibility is to take meal orders and taking the meals out. One person to take and fill drink orders. One person to clear the plates and glasses and do the dishes.
These roles need to be well defined. Of course in many situations one person may have take on more than one role, but if you're just focused on making sure everyone's drink orders are taken care of you'll be more likely to notice when someone needs a refill and as result you'll have happier customers and increased profits!