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How to Implement Six Sigma Methodologies in Your Restaurant


By University Alliance
How to Implement Six Sigma Methodologies in Your Restaurant

Implementing the methodologies of Six Sigma at your restaurant can bring about real and sustainable improvements. Six Sigma encompasses methods of increasing efficiency while reducing errors and waste. With Six Sigma training, you can learn methods to achieve the results you want, along with proven strategies to help you achieve success.

Today, the restaurant business is more competitive than ever. To succeed in today’s economy, restaurant owners and managers must create more efficiency and reduce errors to continuously improve and keep customer satisfaction as high as possible.

Some ideas on how to achieve this through Six Sigma are:

The Six Sigma DMAIC Technique

Restaurant owners can use the methodology of DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) to learn what works – and what doesn’t – in their restaurants. Instead of basing decisions on guesswork and reacting to new challenges, training for Six Sigma certification will teach you how to gather and analyze real data, measure the effectiveness of your decisions and implement processes for improvement in real-time.

How to Reduce Inefficiency and Errors in Your Restaurant

Six Sigma was originally created in the manufacturing industry, but its approach can be applied to numerous other industries. In the service sector, rather than applying Six Sigma improvement methods to create a better product that a consumer eventually purchases, results are often more immediate – because your customers are more involved in the process. In addition, your product isn’t stored as long a manufactured products, and there can be more difficulties in creating standardization for delivering a consistent product to customers.

You can still work toward reducing inefficiency and errors by applying what you learn in Six Sigma training to your restaurant operations.

  • How to improve order accuracy – Implementing a simple practice, like repeating orders to customers, can instantaneously begin reducing errors. In fast food, you could invest in an order screen for each register so customers can see that their order has been entered correctly. At a dine-in establishment, servers can be trained to simply repeat each customer’s order – particularly if they do not write them down.
  • How to improve quality – In a fast-food operation, different packaging may keep food hotter and improve customer satisfaction. Implementing production standards based on measuring demand throughout the day can also help reduce waste. For dine-in restaurants, strict controls over how long food is allowed to sit after it’s prepared can also help improve the overall quality.
  • Reduce errors as a team – Implementing a team approach to preparing dishes ensures that more than one worker verifies the order is complete and correct before it leaves the kitchen. Standardized processes ensure that food is cooked properly and just in time to be delivered hot to the table.

Increase Sales Through Higher Customer Satisfaction

In the restaurant industry, staff usually play an important role in delivering services to customers. Sales can also be directly affected by customer service. However, the Six Sigma approach puts value in other areas. For example, in order to control processes performed by your servers, bartenders and hosts, you could alter the control phase of the DMAIC technique in your training program to embed practices proven to improve service.

How to Improve Effectiveness

Depending on the type of restaurant you own, the focus on effectiveness may vary. For example, a take-out operation will need more attention in improving the delivery of high-quality products and service to customers with added speed and less cost. Dine-in restaurant owners will likely focus more on the effectiveness of delivering high-quality products and dining experiences.  

In addition to food quality, the Six Sigma technique of DMAIC can help you create more effective marketing for your restaurant – which can also help increase sales. Using real data to target your best-fit customer and measure your results can make a huge difference in a marketing strategy’s effectiveness. Instead of a scattershot approach, you know you’ll be focusing on the right audience. Plus, you can measure your results and immediately implement necessary improvements. You might also use the DMAIC technique to create staff incentives to help increase your average check amount and improve profitability.  

Improve Profits through Reduced Costs

Running a restaurant means keeping tight control over inventory and waste. Six Sigma’s proven methods of control can give you the tools to control inventory and waste more effectively, leading to lower costs. By measuring and analyzing data, you could determine the exact level of inventory you need to produce your menu for a Saturday night, versus a Sunday brunch. And in restaurants, each wasted item reduces profits. Fortunately, waste can easily be measured, analyzed and eliminated through Six Sigma techniques.

Test New Products the Smart Way

When most restaurants introduce a new product, they put it on the menu and wait to see if customers order it. If you were running your restaurant with Six Sigma strategies, you would know through data analysis or through the accountant or CPA if a new product had earned its spot on your menu with higher sales and increased profits.

A benefit of implementing this established methodology is that it brings about a stronger internal relationship with each area of the business. For example, in the restaurant sector, utilizing an accountant is key to minimizing costs and ensuring that correct record keeping is being completed on behalf of the business. This saves substantial funds for the business.

This particular knowledge base that helps them make money-saving decisions also makes it easier for them to advance their careers to become CPAs. Thus, it promotes business collaboration within industries that don’t necessarily already exist. At this point in the cycle of utilizing Six Sigma, as a residual benefit, new business has been generated and more accounting professionals gain employment.  

For an actual coffee shop, the metric function of Six Sigma would allow you to test the feasibility of adding a pumpkin latte versus a cinnamon mocha to your menu. Measuring the number of customers and average transaction before the new product and then after each new drink is introduced can give you a clear decision based on actual, measureable data.

Six Sigma Training Can Benefit Your Restaurant in Many Ways

As a management philosophy, Six Sigma has transformed countless organizations worldwide, by making them more effective and efficient. Every restaurant owner and manager can use Six Sigma methodologies as a strategy to run their restaurants more efficiently and profitably.

Six Sigma training and certification is widely available, both in the traditional campus-based setting and through online Six Sigma training programs. Explore all of your options and you may determine that the convenience and flexibility of an online program works best for your busy life.

Implementing Six Sigma in a restaurant operation can have incredible results. Not only can you build a more satisfied base of customers, but you’ll also build a more efficient operation – and enjoy higher profit margins on a consistent basis. 

Category: Six Sigma