Sacrificing Values, Quality, and Consistency

Chef Ali Gonzalez

Ali Gonzalez

Sustainable Culinary Solutions

A waitress holding a tray with glasses of white wine and meets customers expectations

Many forces are impacting the restaurant industry, particularly independent operators. However, across the board, we find that too many operations have resorted to sacrificing values. As a result, they have compromised quality, and in turn, their consistency remains increasingly unstable.

In the face of stagnant wages and major chains shuttering locations in record numbers, there is a great focus on the restaurant industry. Operations struggle to provide excellence while maintaining control of rising trends with under-qualified and underdeveloped talent.  This is a great concern, as there has already been a significant decrease in the number of people considering a career in hospitality. Sourcing and retaining talent has become increasingly scarce, putting a strain in workforce management.

Because labor is a significant part of running a restaurant, efficiency is imperative in running operations and maintaining consistency, and it’s even more important as we continue to see a decrease in profitability.

This has become a tremendous issue for the restaurant industry for many reasons, such as the following:

  • The rising wage cost forces businesses to tighten labor, thus cutting back training and development. This sacrifices the value of the operation.
  • Shift shortages create inconsistent practices, affecting the career progression of under-developed staff. Their hearts won’t be in the business, which decreases value and compromises culture and the quality of experience an operation can deliver, putting businesses at risk of failure.
  • Rent is increasing, and operations are resorting to lower quality, sacrificing values to fill the gap in service.
  • Tech companies are becoming aggressive with pricing, forcing operations to over-mark and under-deliver quality, which in turn drives away loyal customers.
  • There is a notable increase in price for sourced goods, such as fruits, veggies, and fish, because of the rise in demand. This forces operations to run marginal businesses and work ceaselessly to stay afloat in the industry. They effectively work twice as hard to maintain an average business with little or no money left over for marketing.

There is a problem when an operation does not have control of cost and has not reviewed sourcing, efficiency, vendor contracts, kitchen performance management, or tested out the cost of menu and labor.

The megatrends we see now is the drive for profitability. Operations are overarching to make that profit. It’s never been harder, and it’s becoming a significant issue. Businesses are now under significantly increasing financial stress, and the industry at large is at risk.

Being able to deliver the quality of sustainably efficient, fresh from scratch delicious meals while providing the service experience needed to make a profit success requires culture-driven dining:

  • Hiring the best – Staff makes or breaks the business. Invest in staff to fit the culture you want to create. Employees should be dedicated and will care for your business. The war for talent is tight, but there are still qualified people, very smart and hard-working individuals who, with the right conditions, will be happy to thrive with your business.
  • Retaining the best – Investing in training and development is not an option; it’s a must. It will significantly decrease hiring and training costs in the long run. Strive for the leadership level required to deliver that quality service and consistency that will bring back that value that is so important.
  • Delivering the best – Focus on running a sustainable operation that is transparent. Minimize waste and really focus on what is important to your operation, not just for higher revenue but for profit and prosperity without compromising your operation’s integrity. Strive for better working conditions, work towards better work-life balance for your staff, and don’t be afraid to get creative.

While much of the restaurant industry’s problems begin with the leadership in the restaurant industry, it is also leadership that can develop a solution.

You will find that operations that support quality of life have a better culture that is good for profit and business and provides quality and consistency without compromising values.

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