There are various factors for a restaurant's success, and one is undoubtedly process improvement.
Finding ways to optimize the existing processes can be challenging for many restaurant owners. That's why today, we would like to take a closer look at this issue and give a few tips on what you, as the owner or manager of a hospitality business, can do to improve matters.
Process Improvement for Orders and Payments
A smooth organization of the way the wait staff handles the guests' orders and payments, has various benefits, for example:
a transparent and efficient workflow for the staff members
shorter waiting periods for the guests
higher accountability and better control of the inventory
While modern computer-based Point-of-Sale (POS) systems are a great way to make significant improvements in this area, even the "Old School" way with pen and paper can still work - as long as you keep a few details in mind:
The Payment and Ordering Process - "Old-School"
First of all, let's talk about our observations regarding the traditional orders-and-payment approach:
At the table:
In most of the restaurants we have visited during our travels, the wait staff typically uses a writing pad, which they bring to the tables and write down the guest's orders. In a restaurant, such orders can include beverages plus food, and things can get especially tricky if food and drink orders are both noted on the same piece of paper! Why?
At the bar:
Picture what happens next: The waiter/waitress tears off the paper with the order and brings it to whoever is tending the bar. At this point, the writing pad is hopefully one that creates a carbon paper copy that remains with the waitress or waiter as a reference for the settlement of the bill. Otherwise, the only existing order copy is now at the bar.
In the kitchen:
Once the bar staff have prepared the drinks, they cross that part off from the order and then hand that piece of paper to the people in the kitchen who now start working on the food order. As you can imagine, by now quite a bit of time has passed unnecessarily - time that the staff could use in much more efficient ways.
Back at the table:
Eventually, the moment comes when the guests have enjoyed their food and drink. Now it's time to settle the bill - but what exactly have they consumed? Where is the piece of paper with their order? Still somewhere in the kitchen? Did something spill over it so that it is not legible anymore? Was it accidentally thrown away? Or is there still that precious carbon copy back on the order pad? Let's hope so!
Therefore, our first recommendations for process improvement of taking orders and payments: If you prefer to stick with the paper-and-pen method:
1. Use a writing pad with carbon paper to ensure that a copy remains with the waitstaff. (This copy also comes in handy for keeping the inventory up-to-date.)
2. Use two separate pads for the drink and food order. That way, one part of the order can go to the bar and the other directly to the kitchen. That makes the whole process go smoother and saves waiting time for the guests. This copy is also an essential reference for any future inventory.
Are you looking for more useful tips for your process improvement?
In that case, we have another recommendation for you: Stay tuned...
1. ...for our next blog post about the use of an electronic Point of Sale system.
2. ...for our upcoming book about the history of our Bavarian Beerhouse(s)