What Does Restaurant Impossible Have to Do with Accounting?
Recently, we have seen several new shows focused on helping restaurant owners of poorly performing establishments. Chef Ramsey led the way with Kitchen Nightmares followed by Chef Robert Irvine's show, Restaurant Impossible. Just recently, The Food Network introduced Restaurant Stake Out with Willie Diegel and Mystery Diners. Both of these new shows highlight the restaurant's deficiencies using a third party. The goal is for the owner to see and understand these deficiencies objectively so they can implement solutions and improve the restaurant's performance.
After watching several episodes of each, you start to see recurring reasons as to why these restaurants are under performing. These typically include:
- Not knowing profitability or how to properly price menu items
- Poor accounting, bookkeeping and financial reporting with little to no financial controls or feedback mechanism
- Lack of inventory controls
- Poor menu design and menu management (too many under performing menu items on the menu)
- Ineffective or weak manager/owner running the restaurant
- Lack of accountability of employees
- Inferior food being prepared and served
- Lack of cleanliness and outdated appearance of establishment
- Poor customer service
- No communication amongst staff members
Very few owners will have the opportunity to have a Chef Ramsey or Chef Irvine come in and help them remake their establishment. However, there are some things you can do to gather feedback to help you understand what areas can be improved upon. Best of all, these will cost you very little money.
- Treating a couple of friends to a dining adventure experience. Speak to a couple of friends not known by your staff and see if they will volunteer to be your mystery diners. Create a scenario for them to challenge your staff and see how your staff will react. With a phone video recorder, it is easy for them to capture the interaction between your staff and your mystery diners.
- Placing a couple of nanny cams in the bar and dining area to see what happens when you are not around.
- Randomly picking a couple of customers each week and offer a gift certificate in exchange for a more extensive customer survey regarding the quality of food, service, appearance and cleanliness of restaurant, etc.
- Openly soliciting feedback from both your customers and staff and listen to their input objectively.
- Continuously evaluate your operations and look for opportunities to improve on the performance of the restaurant in all phases of its operation.
Most restaurants do not require a total makeover, but all owners and managers require systems, procedures and feedback mechanisms aimed at continuously monitoring and improving the performance of the restaurant. To assist with ideas we have put together The Top Ten Ideas or Controls to Increase Your Restaurant's Profit. Go here to obtain your free copy.