You hear it in every business, “We need to communicate better!” What does that mean though? I think we all understand that sharing information is a key function to operating a successful business. Whether its letting someone know a key piece of equipment is broken, or making a history of sales numbers or staffing levels, there are many pieces of information in a restaurant or food service that, when properly shared with your management staff and employees, can greatly increase your efficiency and profitability.
The big question is, “How do I share that information?” What are YOU going to do to communicate better with your staff? In today’s information age, there are a lot of ways to communicate including email, calendars, blogs, websites, hand-written notes, meetings and line ups just to name a few. In my opinion, the best forms of communication are those that also create a history of the information you are communicating. This history is a great tool of accountability when things go wrong, and a great planning tool to keep things from going wrong in the first place. In addition to email, the best all around tool for communicating are Manager’s Logs. They give you a place for all your management staff to record key pieces of information to give you a history of what happened on a shift, and a list of things to do to plan better for subsequent shifts. More importantly, they remind your staff to save information that they might not otherwise think to share with you, like how much sales you did in each shift; whether you were over staffed or under staffed; whether you ran out of any products that need to be reordered; who showed up to work on time and who was late.
Here are some key components that a good Manager’s Log should include:
- A record of whether you were staffed correctly
- Average ticket times from the kitchen
- Food sales recorded by the meal period
- Alcohol sales recorded by the meal period
- Weather information
- Accountability for your duty checklists
- Repairs and maintenance needed
- Menu items that were 86’d
- Supplies that need ordered
- Employee and customer injuries and accidents
- Customer lost and found
- Employee performance and attendance issues
- Information covered in line ups
- Customer feedback
All of this information is important to communicate to every member of your leadership. While a breakfast manager might not necessarily need to know how many people ate for dinner the night before, having that information may help them better understand why the previous shift didn’t stock silverware, or why you are depleted of key inventory items. Proper communication helps foster a proactive management environment that gets all your leadership on the same page, lessens finger pointing and rivalry, and gives you vital information to plan better for following shifts.
One other major advantage to using a Manager’s Log is having information gathered into one easily accessible location for you use for your other reports. From the information gathered in the Manager’s Log, you can create a history of food or alcohol sales per shift, track your customer counts for each meal period into a spreadsheet, or update employee personnel files.
To make it easier to gather and save this information, several companies sell pre-printed Manager’s Logs. Two of the most known are CommLog and the Manager’s Red Book. While I do think the products from both these companies are great, you can end up paying a lot for what is essentially paper printed with spaces for you to fill in. Their pre-printed books range from $180 – $275 per year, every year. Completely worth the cost if you know what the benefit is, but if you read any of my articles, you know I like to build and offer my own comprehensive tools. Starting today, we are offering our Microsoft Word document versions of our Manager’s Log for a one-time cost of $25. With our ready to use Manager’s Log, you have the digital copy yourself to edit if you like, and print off month after month after month, without ever having to buy it again. The only stipulation is that you agree not to give away our copyrighted downloads to other restaurants, but please feel free to send them to our download store to purchase their own. You find our download store on the main O’Dell Restaurant Consulting website. Our Manager’s Log is simple to use and can help you get even the most novice of managers or supervisors actively involved in improving your restaurant or food service.
For questions regarding your restaurant or food service and ideas on how we can help you pull more profit from your business, please contact Brandon O’Dell from O’Dell Restaurant Consulting.