As a restaurant owner and restaurateur, you’ve seen the TV shows, but how many episodes can you watch before you can apply what you see to your restaurant business? What can you glean from a one-hour episode that will set you on the path to more profit? Is one restaurant’s solution the same for you, or is your situation different? How is it different? What are the shows not showing you? How much is the guessing and grasping costing you? How long will your customers tolerate your penny-wise and pound-foolish approach to resolution?
Once we perform an Operations Assessment, we’ll put together a plan to change course and put your restaurant business on the right path. Hiring us to find the root causes and recommend solutions may not be enough if you lack the depth of knowledge to execute the plan. In that case, you may want us to execute the solutions side by side with you. Reach out to us for a conversation about your restaurant. We can execute the plan without hesitation or faltering.
Whether you simply need to start frying your French fries in a different fryer than your Calamari or you need to completely overhaul the brand offering, we’ll get it right and your restaurant will be on the path to profitability in no time.
Whether you want to expand your business to more units, improve profitability, or rescue it from a death spiral, it all begins with an evaluation of your goals, needs, and capabilities. From there we are able to recommend a path that gets you where you want to go including timeline, costs, and support along the way. Many companies fail, not by doing something wrong, but by continuing to do what used to be right but is now no longer viable. Other companies fail because they squander time and resources on ineffective solutions or quick fixes only to miss the correction window. Our process identifies misalignments in structure, resources and behaviors, then builds a plan to either redeploy resources to new growth strategies or refocus resources and competencies to be more competitive.
This is where the solutions identified in Phase 1 are implemented and executed and must consider many goals, capabilities, timeline, and budget. Our goal is to help you get your business moving in the right direction as quickly and inexpensively as possibly. To do this we must be united behind the strategy, managing organizational change and pacing work so solutions stick. We know how difficult it can be to change behavior, so our strategies seek to set realistic milestones that involve your team, pace work, and cultivate wins.
Is your team aligned behind a set of common goals? Are you clear about how you will manage conflict, establish trust, and build a culture of accountability?Does everyone know what a “good job” means or do you endlessly chase cost reductions without celebrating successes? If your company is not unified behind a set of well-articulated guiding principles, we can get you there. Without them, any success you have is dependent on luck, instinct and muscle. That’s not sustainable.
Your managers are responsible for executing your vision and delivering your brand to the public. If you have too many managers, profits suffer. Not enough managers, or the wrong organization structure, and your brand will never be what you intended it to be. We can help you organize manager work and routines that make your business perform at peak.
Labor is the most expensive category to manage in hospitality, yet most businesses stick to the outdated “cut-em-when-we-get-slow” strategy. Labor needs are predictable and can be controlled with systems. We can teach you how to get your labor under control permanently.
The fun stuff is finished. The restaurant is beautiful, the food is great, and service is impeccable. But how are you doing at managing the business side of the business? Tipshare, cash handling, income statements, inventory tracking, invoice management and employee systems can get sloppy in a hurry. Let us identify and implement the right systems and protocols for your business that will allow you to see where the money is coming from, where it is going and to give you the platform from which to control problems.
Is your team aligned behind a set of common goals? Are you clear about how you will manage conflict, establish trust, and build a culture of accountability? Does everyone know what a “good job” means or do you endlessly chase cost reductions without celebrating successes? If your company is not unified behind a set of well-articulated guiding principles, we can get you there. Without them, any success you have is dependent on luck, instinct and muscle. That’s not sustainable.
Ever been to a New Jersey diner where the servers wear tuxedo shirts and pants? A little weird, for corned beef hash and eggs, no? We work backwards from customer expectations to develop service models that work. Fast casual, full service, alcohol vs no alcohol, service sequence, queuing, cashiering, impulse/add-on, front/back waiters vs. servers/server assistants, food runners, tip structures, handhelds, call ahead, reservations, and pay-first systems: the right configuration is vital for optimizing profits. Let us help you get yours right.
Hiring great people is only part of the equation. Training them to do their jobs well is arguably much more important. We are fluent with most every job function in every conceivable food and beverage operation and can craft a training program that delivers low turnover, high customer satisfaction and higher profits.
The foundation of any training program is its structure. Your guiding principles and company culture aspirations must be reflected in your position training manuals and employee handbook, whether they’re electronic or printed. The training process must be managed carefully and intentionally. “Follow Sally around for a few days until you get it” is not a training program. We work backwards from what the customer should experience to build training programs that bring your brand to life.
Guest sight lines, music, temperature, and smells are critical to a guest’s first impression. All too often, owners and managers neglect to seriously consider what a guest sees and feels when they enter a restaurant. Our fresh eyes can help you see your business in a new light by focusing on layouts, signage, internal traffic patterns, sounds and general stage management of your concept to ensure that your guests feel how you want them to feel when they dine with you.
If you’re trying to sell bagels to an audience that prefers breakfast tacos, it doesn’t matter how good the bagels are. We evaluate the ability of your business to serve your intended audience while identifying your actual audience. Then we develop a strategy that positions you to succeed. Sometimes it’s ok to offer something new that no one else offers in a way that no one else offers it, and sometimes it’s not ok. Regardless, we can get you on track to build customer count and loyalty.
Restaurants are unique. They are both production facilities and retail facilities under one roof. As production facilities, the cost of ingredients and the labor used to make finished products must be organized on the front end if there is any hope of managing results after the menu launches. We create menus that reduce unique ingredients, maximize time-and-motion efficiency, and deliver profit. Our chefs are skilled at creating menus tuned to your market’s needs and we won’t launch it unless the ingredients, labor, equipment and costs line up with demand and your ability to execute it.
If food menus generally deliver margins between 68% and 73% and bar menus deliver margins between 75% and 80%, it stands to reason that you’d want a good bar program. Furthermore, with cocktail margins generally landing north of 80%, it makes sense to offer a compelling drink assortment through a quality craft cocktail program. Let us make your bar a more prominent experience for your customers and a greater contributor to your profits.
Food and beverage commodities are the building blocks of your finished products. In restaurants, they’re often perishable, consumable, easy to steal, easy to ruin, and your employees often feel empowered to experiment with them to make new items you never asked them to make. Unlike #2 pencils for sale at Staples, the cards are stacked against restaurant business profit from the back door forward. We can help you implement best practices to control how you order, receive, store, prepare and manage your inventory to maximize profits and improve your guests’ experience.
Industrial engineers measure production efficiency in terms of “time and motion” or throughput: how fast can I make something that has the highest quality in the fewest possible steps. We can help you with production efficiency and quality through our evaluation of your processes, recipes and layout to find ways to help you make more money while giving your customers a better experience.
Computer systems are great, but if you don’t know what to do with all of that data, you’ll just drown in it and not be any closer to tight execution. We ensure that you are fluent with several key systems for managing food cost before recommending computer solutions. Production setting, invoice management, ordering / receiving practices and food handling discipline must all be mastered before you can graduate to more complex systems that rely on a sound understanding of the basics. We start there and can marry your operation to the best systems available once you master each philosophy.
Your service model and menus are only as good as your ability to execute them. Checklists and routines are only as good as the people that enforce them. We organize management structures for maximum efficiency while establishing areas of responsibility and accountability structures that you can manage. When a restaurant’s food, drinks and service are excellent and consistent, day in and day out, you can be sure it’s no accident. We customize systems to suit your team’s capabilities while establishing a benchmark for performance that let’s everyone know what it means to do a good job.
As your management team comes on board, we pull your guiding principles and operating philosophies into a cohesive and interactive management seminar to make sure your team is singing from the same sheet of music. Your management team must coach and counsel in a way that supports your brand and they must decide to succeed as a team before being asked to manage your staff. Our Management School becomes the foundation on which you train every manager going forward…but first it needs to be created and implemented. That’s what we do.
Testing your new money-making machine is critical. You don’t want to test it on real customers if you’re not sure everything is perfect. We can help you organize and execute your mock runs to get the most out of them so when you do open, you’re confident that your guest will experience what you built your business to give them.
After opening day, it can be daunting to keep up with new operations, new customers, and new teams. Your managers will have their hands full trying to protect the guest’s first impression during the honeymoon period. Blue Orbit will stay on for several weeks in an advisory capacity to help tidy up the transition from pre-opening to post-opening. This may include production setting in the kitchen, invoice accounting protocols or re-jiggering side-work and station charts to reflect unforeseen nuances. The last think you want to do is get it open and then fall into decline simply because your team is a little overwhelmed. Your investment is too great.
Corporate offices exist for a reason: to provide support to operators and to hold them accountable for delivering results through systems (not through being good at winging it). Blue Orbit can serve as your corporate office by inspecting your facility, systems and financials regularly. We can provide guidance and coaching to managers while being able to spot trouble before it festers into something the guest sees. Let us know if you need regular oversight and coaching to keep your restaurant in top shape.