My challenge has always been to find ways to stay on top of the endless systems, procedures and responsibilities that keep an operation running smoothly and profitably. After all, profit is in the details.
A teacher of mine used to say that "God is in the details." And years in foodservice have convinced me that profits are in the details, too. My challenge has always been to find ways to stay on top of the endless systems, procedures and responsibilities that keep an operation running smoothly and profitably.
Audits provide a systematic and objective report card on how well you're handling the details in your operation. There are two types of audits. The first covers a wide variety of areas to give an overall picture of performance. The second kind of audit addresses a specific area like marketing or sanitation in great detail. For example:
Facilities and Sanitation Audit - Front Desk Area
- All glass and mirrors are clean and free of streaks
- Floor or carpeting is clean, dry and in good condition.
- Lobby furniture is clean, in good condition and arranged properly.
- All decorations are clean, free of dust and properly mounted.
- Promotional materials and specials board are current, authorized and displayed neatly.
- PA system is working properly and can be heard clearly in bar and waiting area.
- Menus and wine lists are clean and in good condition.
- Menu racks and holders are in good condition.
- Hostess desk is neat, orderly and properly supplied.
- Merchandising cabinets and displays are well done. Price tags on retail items are present and legible.
A thorough audit requires a block of uninterrupted time to complete. With audit in hand, take a tour of your operation. Keep it simple. Score items with 0 or 1 points, pass or fail. This is a great time to take detailed notes of any related observations.
Once the audit is complete, tally the score and calculate a final grade. (See sample)
Next, take action. Review audit items that didn't get a passing grade and develop an action plan. Outline the steps you need to take to correct the problems, as well as who does what and by what date.
Next, schedule another audit so you can measure improvement. Depending on the needs of your operation, you might schedule an audit every four weeks, or only once a quarter. Review past scores and comments, and specifically look for progress made from one audit to the next.
You'll be surprised at how quickly scores will improve. What gets measured, gets done.