By Shawn Randazzo
A customer sits with her husband and another couple at one of your pizzeria’s tables, eagerly anticipating the hot new menu item you’ve been promoting. When their meal arrives, she unwraps her napkin and is horrified to find her fork is dirty. Your customer instantly questions the cleanliness of your pizzeria and, indeed, the quality of her pizza; her experience at your restaurant has been ruined, and she and the rest of the customers in her party are likely to tell others about it.
The worst part? All of this negativity could have been prevented by fine-tuning your operations for top performance.
A single dirty fork might not seem like the end of the world, but the above example illustrates how easily such an incident can tailspin into a pool of negative perceptions. It’s fair to say every restaurant has dealt with a dirty fork or two, no matter how they emphasized cleanliness. However, the real problem arises when you don’t know how a dirty fork ended up at your customer’s table in the first place. The point: If you can’t identify the source of a problem, you can’t fix it. That’s where fine-tuning your operations comes in.
At Detroit Style Pizza Co., we’ve incorporated technology into our workflow to streamline all types of processes, including:
- Food preparation and storage
- Position checklists
- Employee training and education
- Delivery processes
- Reporting and analytics
- Hiring, evaluations and corrective action
Each process is broken down into a series of step-by-step tasks, which are relayed via strategically placed iPads. Tasks are linked to educational resources such as videos and written instructions, making it easy for our employees to efficiently do their jobs, do them correctly, and understand the underlying reasons for why they must be done certain ways. This leads to employee buy-in and minimizes the need for management to spend time answering questions, in the process creating a more efficient environment.
Employees mark tasks complete on the iPads, which use employee tags to verify their presence and to timestamp a task’s completion. Everything is reported to a central computer. If something goes wrong — too much salt in the sauce, a burned pizza, a dirty fork — we instantly know when it happened and who was responsible. We don’t want to simply reprimand our employees; we also want to help them by identifying the source of any given issue and then providing training to prevent it from happening again.
The goal is to constantly refine our systems for the greatest possible efficiency and productivity. To that end, our employees are able to offer feedback via our task management software. They’re the ones on the front lines, after all, and often offer suggestions that can improve our operations. In this manner, we’re able to consistently evolve and improve.
Referencing our dirty fork example: Our employees are tasked with sanitizing and polishing silverware. We know dishwashers aren’t always perfect, so employees must inspect our silverware when wrapping it napkins. Clean forks get wrapped; dirty forks go back in the dishwasher. If a customer somehow gets a dirty fork at our pizzeria, we can see which employee was responsible for the mishap, then reach out to that employee to help him or her do a better job next time.
While a single dirty fork might seem trivial, when you consider the potential loss of thousands of dollars in annual profits it’s easy to see how a few isolated incidents can have a major impact on your bottom line. Efficiency leads to profits.
When your pizzeria is run efficiently, you’re able to provide better food, better service and a better customer experience. You also eliminate wasted time, wasted resources and wasted manpower. All of these things lead to greater profits.
Eliminating dirty silverware is just the tip of the iceberg. Learn more about how you can incorporate technology to fine-tune operations for top performance — and greater profits — by attending my seminar at the 2015 International Pizza Expo.
Shawn Randazzo will pass along several of the tools and systems he uses to consistently improve Detroit Style Pizza Co., which features two Metro Detroit locations, offers mail-order pizza nationwide and is at the forefront of online ordering and other technologies. Shawn’s Pizza Expo seminar will be held Thursday, March 26, at 9 a.m.