In every Restaurant chain, your District Managers (DM’s) play a pivotal role in helping each restaurant flourish as they are responsible for conducting field assessments that are used to make an impact on the issues identified for lasting performance improvement and bringing about standardization and consistency in restaurant operations. It is important that the data collected by them is tabulated and updated in a way that allows for easy analysis leading to root cause identification before actions are put in place.
As they conduct store visits, DM’s coach General Managers and Franchisees on how to run their store better, acting the part of the “Operational Guru”. During these visits, each District Manager inspects individual locations with a variety of tasks and questions, commonly using a paper and excel based assessment forms and the data collected is then entered manually into these excel sheets along with assigned tasks and follow-ups. The restaurant operations checklist itself might need to be updated in keeping to the goals of the brand and once the tasks are assigned, these have to be updated, based on follow-ups for actions that need to be taken.
The question arises as to how does the management update these excel based field assessments? This is one crucial aspect of any field assessment as updating in real-time ensures the validity and accuracy of data to help identify core issues and take corrective measures. In another article we saw the many disadvantages of conducting excel based assessments https://meazureup.com/2017/06/5-reasons-excel-field-assessments-hurt-your-restaurant-chain/. Here we elaborate on the difficulties associated with updating data and information in conducting excel based field assessments.
Using the traditional method of predominantly using paper and excel based assessment method leads to a range of issues for the management, such as;
- Inability to update and manage field inspection forms
- Dissimilar inspection forms in the field
- Poor inspection form criteria
Arming your District Managers with accurate and up to date field assessments is key to maintaining the level of consistency required to create a scalable restaurant chain. The various restaurant checklists are made to ensure that the best possible way of doing a task is achieved in the best possible manner. A restaurant brand with multi-unit locations may face this issue arising out of the discrepancies in the assessment forms which then must be updated to ensure that a standard measure is used in assessing the stores. Using an excel based format can only exacerbate the issue with little hope of coordinating precise goals of the organization with the DMs in their inspection rounds and introduces greater possibility of errors in collecting data and introduce variance in the operations checklists being used.
With an excel based field assessment form, there is no proper way to update all your forms at once. Any change introduced at one end must then be emailed to all other stakeholders. This could mean a trail of emails where missing a particular update is not entirely impossible while keeping a track of updates made, a still more uphill task. Regardless of the change, whether it is a single question or an entire category, a new excel file is required – every single time. Not being able to make changes in real time will produce multiple assessment forms across your organization, resulting in your team possessing no “official” list. In a worst-case scenario, different DM’s visit their respective stores evaluating them on incorrect criteria due to the outdated instructions they believe to be correct.
As these alternate and outdated versions circulate your organization, the quality of the actual assessment will suffer. Due to the difficult nature of managing the form, the questions are generally updated infrequently. Management is often deterred from creating a robust assessment list because the only way to truly make one is by continuous review with consistent use. An inbox full of emails for every update is hardly a solution and will only result in lack in coordination and loss of accountability making the whole purpose of an assessment redundant.
And then there is this issue with excel spreadsheets that a chance entry in one of its cells might just end up distorting the whole data and instead of updating a particular item, one ends up updating the whole spreadsheet and the data with it. A human error of this sort is not entirely unnatural
Real Time Follow-Up Updates
At the other end of the assessment when the data has been collected and respective areas of concerns shared, the general procedure is to assign a task to the respective personnel for that task and create an action plan as to how the identified issues need to be addressed. Excel sheets might be good when it comes to data alone, but like it lacks in visual communication of data as we saw in an another article, Excel sheets prove equally inefficient when updating in real-time is required.
How does one update on a task one is assigned except by emailing a response on the status of the action. How will the information on follow-ups and feedback on actions taken on identified areas of concern updated in a way so that all the concerned parties can now about what exactly is happening as a result of the assessment. Without a proper follow-up, measures to address identified areas of improvement taken in time, the whole exercise of the restaurant operational audit might be deemed a failure. With excel sheets that is a chance you don’t want to be taking.
A digital solution avoids these issues, by automating the entire process of your restaurant operations assessment, and by keeping your data on cloud based storage, like in MeazureUp’s auditing app, available on a one-stop unified platform where all the real-time assessment based updates as well as action based updates are available to all the users in real-time. These are just some of the advantages associated with a digital solution.
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