The Top 9 Tips to Improve Task Management for Restaurants
Task management for restaurants involves the organization and delegation of quick serve restaurant (QSR) tasks and oversight of task completion. Effective task management allows restaurant operators to accurately assess compliance and ensure that health, safety, and service standards are met.
Employee engagement is key in ensuring task completion. However, promoting engagement is difficult in the foodservice industry, which experiences a turnover rate of about 1.5xthe average for all private sector workers. Disengaged employees experience 22% lower productivity, which threatens compliance and brand standards. Task management protocols introduce an element of accountability to encourage efficient task completion. QSRs are unique in that they have long operating hours with many shift changes. On any given day, many employees come and go, and it can be difficult to communicate outstanding tasks. Consequently, a proactive approach to task management will set your restaurant up for success.
With the implementation of task management procedures, businesses can consistently meet and exceed brand standards. In this blog, we will discuss the three key elements of effective task management for restaurants: organization of tasks, effective communication of employee roles and responsibilities, and manager oversight.
Organize Restaurant Tasks
Task organization involves two components. First, identify all tasks that need to be completed in order to efficiently execute restaurant operations. Secondly, present tasks to employees in a way that promotes compliance. Tasks must be easy to find, comprehensive, and detailed, with a mechanism for tracking task completion. Try these three tips for creating task lists that encourage employee engagement.
Tip #1 – Specificity: Prioritize specificity when compiling your task list. For example, it is important not to assume that tasks are self explanatory, and to provide as much detail as possible. Reference local restaurant health code guidelines to ensure outlined tasks promote compliance. Highly-specific tasks set employees up for success as employees avoid the need to revisit or correct their work.
Tip #2 – Achievability: Break out tasks into smaller, more targeted lists. Consider how priorities differ throughout the day, and through different areas of the restaurant. Next, organize tasks by shift – such as opening, midday, and closing. Or break out task lists by station: such as point of sale, food prep, and inventory storage areas. This sequencing can help make task lists more digestible, achievable, and less overwhelming to employees.
Tip #3 – Compliance-friendly: Consider organizing tasks as checklists for compliance tracking. For example, are meat products meeting temperature requirements? Is the walk-in cooler cleaned on a regular basis? Therefore, when it comes time for inspection, your checklist will serve as a roadmap for increased audit scores. Learn more about how Squadle’s digital food safety and shift management checklists help restaurants achieve compliance.
Communicate Employee Roles & Responsibilities
Confusion is a great threat to employee productivity. Specifically, confusion among QSR employees often stems from team members being unclear on employee roles/responsibilities. Effective communication can resolve such confusion. You can ensure employees understand priorities through clear task delegation. Task delegation is the process of assigning responsibility to complete something. Delegating tasks and alleviating confusion gives employees greater autonomy and keeps them engaged. Try these tips for encouraging commitment to roles & responsibilities.
Tip #4–Documentation: Create clear documentation of employee expectations in each role, in a place employees can easily reference. Try expanding your employee handbook, or adding role & responsibilities fliers to each restaurant station. As a result employees can easily align their actions with the intended goals of their specific role.
Tip #5–Autonomy: Provide employees some authority over their role and responsibilities. Employees know best where workflow disruptions occur, and who has the bandwidth to address them. Accept employee input on how to allocate responsibilities to minimize inefficiencies. Employee involvement in defining roles will encourage employee adherence to role expectations.
Tip #6–Team-Building: Invest in team building. Team building promotes employee engagement and alignment with company goals. Team bonding can advance one’s understanding of employee roles and responsibilities. Team-building initiatives enhance communication practices within the company and help employees understand the significance of their designated responsibilities to the broader organization.
Oversee Task Completion
Oversight practices allow managers to observe the effectiveness of their task organization and communication policies. Broad oversight fosters proactive management. Specifically, managers can identify and address inefficiencies before they disrupt workflows. Effective manager oversight also ensures adherence to standard operating procedures, which builds customer trust through consistency. Try these tips for maintaining oversight of task completion.
Tip #7– Feedback: Provide continual performance feedback to employees. Feedback is essential in aligning individual and organization goals, and identifying areas of improvement. Additionally, a two way feedback loop is an effective tool for organizational improvement. Seek input from employees on ways the current task organization system could improve.
Tip #8 – Accountability: Hold employees accountable for task completion, and reward compliance. Individual accountability drives productivity. Consider requiring employees to sign off on their tasks for the day as they clock out, or record the time each task was completed. Incentivize this behavior by providing opportunities for recognition, such as an employee of the month program.
Tip #9 – Automation: Invest in task management software. Automating task management for restaurants allows operators to track compliance remotely. Managers can observe trends in task completion and generate insights on how to optimize compliance. With many moving parts, QSRs benefit greatly from having a centralized, digital compliance tracking system. Going digital is especially recommended for managers of multiple locations.
Optimize Task Management at Your Restaurant
The ultimate goals of QSR managers include ensuring employee adherence to standard operating procedures and aligning with brand standards. Effective task management is a critical element in meeting these goals. Implementing small changes within each of the three components of task management – task organization, communication of roles and responsibilities, and maintaining oversight – encourages employee commitment, promotes operational efficiency, and enhances the customer experience.