February 2

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5 steps to improve the quality and consistency of your menu items

By Ian Johnstone

February 2, 2021


Why should your customers choose between having good quality product or consistency when should be able to have both?  But can your team do it?   

In this article, we will look at the 5 steps to improving the quality and consistency of your menu items.

One of the main goals of any business should be to deliver a product or service based on 3 specific criteria:

  • Quality
  • Consistency
  • Efficiency

The reality is if you can do this you are on your way to making a great customer experience which leads to greater sales.

Sales Service Profit Chart

So let’s take a look at the 5 essential steps to improving the quality and consistency of your menu items

Step 1 - Write a Standard Operating Procedure

It does not matter if you are a making coffee, mixing cocktails, producing fast food or a gourmet meal.  You can have the best ingredients in the world, if you don’t, won't or can’t produce a quality end product/ menu item you are risking of disappointing your customers and encouraging them to go to your competition.

The problem is your team are not going to bale to make a great product if they don’t know how to do it, and they definitely will not be able to you repeat it.  This is why it is essential to have a written Standard Operating Procedures (SOP, Work Instructions).

Your SOP will help to identify the relevant steps that an employee needs to do to complete a task or make a product to the business standards.

Having written standards will help your team to learn how to do a quality job and then by repeating the process they will ensure that the end product is done consistently.

When employees follow the written standards, it eliminates the inconsistency that happens when an employee makes a product according to their own personal preferences. 

CHECK OUT OUR ARTICLE  -  How to write Standard Operating Procedures that work    

Step 2- Create a Production Target

Once your team know how to make each of your menu items, now you want to help them to do it efficiently, as this will help to minimise customer wait times, which will allow you to serve more customers and achieve greater sales.

So, to make sure this happens it is important to create a Production Target.

Your production target identifies the volume or quantity of a key product your team should aim to be able to make to the business standards to help prepare for and deliver during a high-volume work period.

Some examples include:

  • Make 3 espresso-style coffee in 2 min
  • Make 2 house cocktails in 2 min
  • Prepare the days filled sandwiches by 10 am
  • Prepare and chill the beef and chicken stock by Tuesday 4 pm

Step 3 - Train your entire team

The next step is to ensure that each member of your team is trained on how to make each product according to the standard. This includes casual and non-permanent employees.

But training your team is more than just telling them what to do and showing them the work instruction.  Each employee comes with a different level of skills, experience and competence, some have bad habits, while some require little to no training. 

So you will need to adapt your training style to meet the learning needs of each of your team.  To do this you can use the SEE - DO - TEACH Method

The Employee

The Manager / Trainer

SEE

  • Reads the standard Operating procedure
  • Observe the task being done
  • Demonstrates how to make the product to the standard
  • Provides verbal instructions for each step of the process
  • Shows the employee the end product

DO

  • Practices how to make the product to the standard
  • Ask questions for clarity and understanding
  • Makes the end product
  • Observes the employee make the product
  • Answers questions as required
  • Corrects mistakes the employee makes
  • Gives feedback as required

TEACH

  • Demonstrates how to make the product to the standard
  • Provides verbal instructions for each step to demonstrate understanding
  • Observes the employee make the product
  • Gives feedback as required
Quotes (1)

Step 4 - Assess their progress often

Once you are happy your team are able to make the menu items to the standards of the business, the next step is to get them to do it for customers. 

In this step, you need to be able to manage the quality and consistency of products that go out to your customers.   

You can do this by:

  • observing them make the products,
  • assessing the end products
  • getting customer feedback

But you don’t need to do it alone.  As this is a team effort you should encourage your team to keep an eye on the quality and consistency of products they and their teammates are serving.  You should also give them the confidence and authority to refuse to serve any item they feel does not meet the standard.

As the team improves and demonstrate they can deliver a more consistent product you can reduce how often you assess each product and encourage your team to take ownership of each product as they are being served to customers.

Step 5 - Recognise your employees

Employee recognition is not just a nice thing to do for employees. Employee recognition is an essential tool that helps to reinforce and reward employees for their contribution and achievements. After all, behaviour rewarded is behaviour repeated.

When you recognise employees work, it helps to reinforce the businesses commitment to them and helps build their loyalty to your brand.  As well as encouraging the essential attitudes, and behaviours you want to see again.

You can recognise your employees by simply saying:

‘Congratulations that was great ’ or

 ‘Well done’

So, there we have it our 5 steps to improve the quality and consistency of your menu items.  It is not as difficult as it sounds, you just need to have the right tools and the right strategy. 

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?  DO  YOU AGREE, OR DO YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE? If so then leave your comments and feedback below

Ian Johnstone

About the author

Ian is a Sales & Service Coach & Trainer with a background in over 20 years of 5-star Hospitality and Customer Services within Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. He works with businesses to consistently achieve great results by designing and delivering interactive, engaging and memorable training programs, tailored to meet the needs of each business, their teams and their customers.

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