Every restaurant chain has bright spots: stores that outperform through precision, ultimately taking better care of the customer. The opposite also exists; teams that struggle to execute, with more mistakes, higher costs and lower profits.
Success is found in learning from the bright spots and leveling up the low performing stores. Sounds easy, right? Observe the outperformers, identify the best practices, train the team, and watch sales improve. However, actually turning low performers into high performers feels impossible for operators because finding what’s working and removing human error when you’re balancing different shifts, high-volume periods, limited time promotions, and ever-evolving menus is extremely challenging.
A high-performing restaurant kitchen functions like a championship sports team. Everyone works together to train for each play, focusing on executing their positions with perfection. But like champions, much of what makes the team outperform is hard to define and even harder to teach. It’s beyond the amount of weights they can lift or how fast they can run. It’s about minimizing mistakes through thorough planning, clear communication, and real-time adjustments, holding each person accountable to be their best during every single play. Or for restaurants, every single transaction.
In the back-of-house of a commercial kitchen, holding people accountable during a busy shift might be feasible when you’re fully staffed, everyone’s been trained, there aren’t any new menu items, and the entire supply order showed up on time. But these days are extremely rare in the real world. To stay on top of the normal level of chaos, restaurants need a better understanding of where mistakes are made and just-in-time notifications to keep every team member on task.
Perfect Kitchen provides the knowledge and attention-grabbing engagement restaurants need to execute flawlessly by indicating not only what needs to be prepped, but how and when it needs to be thawed, baked, fried, tossed or mixed. Operators using Perfect Kitchen reduce waste and eliminate human error by correcting issues as they occur, with real-time, multi-sensory cues that capture staff attention no matter how many tickets have piled up and what song is playing on the radio. Additionally, training is minimized through the use of detailed digital job aids that walk team members through each step of the process as it needs to be completed, without having to memorize prep procedures or recipes, and without rifling through expensive, outdated notebooks or cards.
Our workflow management system provides step-by-step real-time notifications that guide:
Ingredient planning & prep to always know what to pull and when to prep it for expected orders
Precision portioning to build recipes as they were designed for the best taste and optimal cost
Order execution so what goes out the door is accurate, on time, and at the right temperature
Hold time & temp checks to get the most use out of every ingredient, minimizing food waste
Standard operating procedures and following best practices will certainly lead to adequate execution with average food cost and profitability, and should be the place every restaurant starts. But to go from average to extraordinary takes a deep dive into every ingredient, every order, and every team member.
To find the last few points of food cost savings or the final few seconds to increase speed of service, Perfect Company systematically measures over 1,000 data points every day to detect all opportunities for improvement in the back-of-house, providing more accurate evaluation than previously available. Through machine learning, managers receive actionable reports that prioritize the clues we find in the data, getting a clear direction on where the most savings can be found to drive profitability improvements.
Examples of profit-improving corrections Perfect Kitchen data has driven include:
Over-portioning: One of the most expensive ingredients was consistently being over-portioned, with staff using a visual rule of thumb instead of paying attention to the portion cup and scale. With Perfect Kitchen’s connected scale, team members were notified when the right amount of the ingredient was used, alerting them when to stop for recipe accuracy.
Cooking incorrectly: Handed down from team member to team member throughout the years, one store was using a fryer beyond capacity, cooking two different items at the same time with the best intentions of getting customers orders out faster, even though the crowding caused a soggy texture. Perfect Kitchen’s data helped the manager identify the error, improving customer satisfaction through better tasting food.
Shorting hold times: A certain protein was repeatedly thrown out early during a shift change, regardless of the correct labels being used to indicate hold time. Using Perfect Kitchen, the team was able to see a real-time tracker of the hold time clock, never having to question the handwritten label and reducing the number of cases of this protein used each week.
Stores with Perfect Kitchen have reduced waste by up to $25,000 per year and saved up to 300 bps (3 percentage points) in cost of goods sold, which directly contributes to higher profitability. Manager’s didn’t have to decipher the mystery of where mistakes were being made on their own and no one had to change their staff. They just had to plug in, watch the data, and follow the instructions to get a few steps closer to perfection.