Author: Allan Grant


As business owners and Managers, you are always asking your customer facing employees to create memorable experiences for guests. “Be creative”, you say, “Ask yourselves how you can provide that extra something for the customers to be wowed”! As business owners, you know that great service will make patrons want to return to your establishment, tell their friends about you and bring in more business. Employees’ actions will increase market share, revenue and ultimately a healthy business. This means that there will be more earning potential for each individual staff member. All true.


In the case of a foodservice operation, how do our back of house, or ‘heart of house’, partners fit into this equation – how do they exceed customers’ expectations when they are not customer facing? They are always being told that they are part of the guest experience, and it is true that their actions do affect the customer experience greatly. Many line cooks answer the bell and take it upon themselves to add that extra piece of bacon to the breakfast plate, or that extra piece of cheese to the burger, to give the
customer that little extra ‘something’. It may be great for the customer who likes bacon or cheese, but is it really helping the business? No. First, it affects the consistency of the product. The next time that customer comes to order that dish, and there is less bacon or cheese, they are disappointed. In the end, they are actually doing the customer a dis-service.


When there is an extra slice of cheese, for example, we are actually costing the business money in the form of COGS. Consider this: one piece of cheese costs in the neighborhood of $0.25, the line cook serves 10 burgers per day, adding $0.25 to the cost of each burger, say he makes 10 burgers per shift, 5 shifts per week. Over the course of 1 year (52 weeks), that comes out to $650 per year, just for that one line cook, one piece of cheese, one menu item over the course of the year. Now consider that he may be doing this for each dish that he prepares and multiply this number by the number of covers that he touches in each shift. If he does this for each dish, and cooks for just 50 people in a shift, that turns into $3250.00 at the end of the year! This is cold hard profit down the drain.


The same concept applies to all businesses. If you have not taken stock of what your lack of protocols, measuring standards, or systems are costing your business in the way of little extras, then you should take a closer look and make sure you are not leaking profit.


Remember; you cannot manage a number, if you don’t know what it is.