The food production industry is one of the most lucrative, yet saturated industries in South Africa. Consequently, owners and managers are always seeking methods to improve efficiency and grow revenue. Moreover, the industry is riddled with many challenges ranging from concerns regarding food health and safety compliance, challenging workforce management to working with time-consuming paper-based clipboards methods and more.
Digital workflow solutions including functionality like digital checklists, scheduling and being able to track and prove the physical presence of individual workers (proof of presence) are useful methods which will enhance business operations. Adopting workflow automation software could be really beneficial for indusries in upping efficiency and streamlining processes, which can not only help with revenue generation but also in keeping up with regulations and compliance. In this article we focus on how digital checklists and workflow automation can enhance compliance in food producing and food outlet operations including front, middle and back of house. Let's start at the back:
Back of house
Back of house compliance checklists can be set up to ensure kitchen staff and facilities are neat and hygienic. Checks could, for example, include that all staff working in the back wear hairnets. Workflow automation and job scheduling can assign employees to warrant deliveries are correct and timely. Furthermore, digital solutions can optimise stock taking as well as filing systems by ensuring they are done regularly and are continuously updated using scheduling and reminders.
In addition, managers can ensure valuable machinery is regularly being inspected with the help of checklists and photo evidence. With digital checklists, photo evidence can be easily added providing extra visibility. Another major benefit of digital checklists is that they can streamline processes to become standardised across stores, by providing all the store managers with the same digital checklists.
Middle of house
Middle of house is important because this is often where customer satisfaction is built. For this reason, staff working at the tills should always wear proper attire and be presentable. Proper training for the middle of house, customer-facing staff is therefore essential. Satisfaction checklists are often distributed to customers at this point so that managers can focus on good service delivery and customer satisfaction. Continuous evaluation can be achieved with a digital solution where supervisors can supervise staff in real time and rate their performance for example, did they say “thank you” when the order was placed and remember to add condiments when packing the takeaway bags.
Front of house
Front of house in fast-food restaurants refers to the area where customers queue, eat and wait. Front of house sitting areas should be cleaned quickly after customers leave so that new customers can have a pleasant experience. Then marketing materials should be kept up to date and old promotions removed as it can cause confusion and lead to disputes when customers cannot order meals that are wrongly being advertised.
A quality digital solution can increase customer satisfaction, ensure a better food safety score and can streamline the above-mentioned tasks and managerial activities. A digital workforce solution should enable checklists, scheduling, proof of presence and job card functionality. Another major benefit is it can streamline processes that can be standardised throughout different stores by providing all the store managers with the same procedures and digital checklists.
This blog was just a summary of how digital workforce management can be utilised to differentiate and optimise fast-food restaurants business operations. The Front, middle and back of house are all essential in achieving a successful and well run fast-food restaurant.
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