Are your District Managers conducting operational field assessments, using nothing more than Paper and Excel spreadsheets to track audits? In this article, we examine the advantages of a Digital Field Assessment tool as compared to the traditional methods and how they can impact restaurant operations and help bring consistency and standardization in and across locations for multi-unit brands.
The traditional assessment formats using excel based sheets are not only highly time consuming but lack the adaptability to create effective restaurant audit checklist to identify core operational issues as they are limited in terms of data trending that they can see. Manual entries in excel sheets also allow for human errors to creep in while allowing little scope to create, assign and follow-up tasks resulting in a lack of accountability. The process required to make any changes to restaurant checklist is extremely cumbersome as each member of the team must be emailed an entirely new list with each update which results in managers not using updated information creating inaccuracies in Field Assessment Form management. Further, the replication of sheets required for each user means a lack of transparency and inability to take action at appropriate time or in real-time while proving inefficient in providing a holistic snapshot with historical data availability to enable comparative analysis over time.
In addition, using excel sheets makes it impossible to add pictures and comments in real time and the value of a picture worth a thousand words can hardly be overemphasized in today’s social media dominated real-time landscape. In short, restaurant audit checklist based on paper and excel sheets fails miserably in its purpose to quantify and provide data in an easy and cost-effective manner to help improve performance and bring about consistency and standardization. A modern digital field assessment tools can help achieve all this while avoiding the pitfalls of the traditional field assessment methods and contribute to your restaurant operations performance excellence. Following points explain how the digital tools can be more effective and productive:
- Stronger quality Assessments and Analytics
- Conduct Faster Assessments/Real Time reporting
- Eliminate Human Error
- Add pictures and comments in real time
- Historical Data Repository
- Operational Scalability
- Mitigate Issues and Risks
Stronger Quality Assessments and Analytics
- With a Digital Field Assessment, District Managers (DM’s) can utilize restaurant audit app to track performance and analyze trends at each location in real-time resulting in stronger and higher quality assessments. Currently, most chains are already sending their DM’s to conduct field assessments and with a digital solution, they have the ability to extract as much value as possible.
- It provides instant real-time scoring with transparency in information sharing that enables better assessment providing accurate real-time data analytics
- A digital solution allows the DM’s to leave comments and attach photos in real-time right into the application, rather than attach them in an email, which makes it easy to assess and follow-up immediately.
- It also enables DMs to add Action Plans based on areas of restaurant operations that requires follow-up consideration from the location. Now you can add the name of who’s responsible for the flagged area including a due date and status check accessible to all relevant stakeholders.
- Because each assessment is completed digitally, the system can automatically compute relevant statistics and data points that can help management identify areas of improvement. Without requiring any excel work, a digital system supplies a dashboard that includes specific information outlining how the overall business operations can be improved.
More Assessments Completed, Faster
- In the restaurant industry, speed is a key metric in every aspect of the business. For DM’s who are constantly out in the field, the ability to better manage their time can help them increase their overall productivity. Using a digital solution, DM’s no longer spend time documenting their observations using hand written notes only to transcribe them into an excel file. Instead, the updates happen in real time and inserted right into the assessment immediately.
- Once the assessment is complete using restaurant audit app, the DM can submit it digitally using the application. The data is automatically sent to all the other team members without any emailing, or document consolidation, and completed in real-time.
- As a result, the DM to spends less time walking around each location and more time coaching the General Manager or Franchisee. Also, because less time is required on the logistics side of each assessment, the DM can complete more assessments than before.
- A key concern for restaurant operations is consistency. To achieve a strong level of consistency on an organizational level, accountability must be at the forefront of everything that occurs. When DM’s conduct field assessments, the ability to track each task in an organized manner is crucial to ensuring the value of the assessment. Using a digital field inspection tool, each response is trailed with the ability to record Action Plans complete with due dates, comments and specific names of the individual responsible for completion.
- Having the power to assign follow-up plans provides each organization with enhanced accountability built right into the assessment to know if the areas of concern are being attended to in a timely manner. With geo-locational tagging and automatic time stamping, a digital solution provides enhanced capabilities for bringing accountability into each facet of their operations.
Eliminate Human Error
- Scoring is an automated process with a digital solution, thus, eliminating any need for manual entry and avoiding human error while updating data in real time.
- With DM’s out in the field, going store to store writing handwritten notes during their visits, human error is inevitable. With an auditing app, the DMS are armed with a tool that automates the whole process, from digitizing to collecting to analyzing and then take corrective actions, disallowing any scope for human error in the entire process.
Historical Data Repository
- Whether your role is in upper management, as a DM or a Franchisee, the ability to review past assessments is crucial to understanding how to improve your restaurant operations. When a digital auditing solution is used, each time an inspection is submitted, the data from that submission is stored online and is available to users with access. The days of searching through old papers and folders is over as each assessment is hosted online in an easy to review manner. Also from a legal or compliance standpoint, one need not ever worry about missing key documentation. Whether your business is dealing with health and safety checklist or an under-performing franchisee, the documentation will always be available.
- Maintaining an up-to-date field assessment is a difficult task for any business, small or large. With teams of DM’s spending limited amount of time in a physical office, it’s important that each team member is aligned to their respective goals, duties and expectations of each store. Equipping each DM with a restaurant audit software to conduct field assessments, allows management the opportunity to push updates to each DM in real time, no matter where they are geographically located. With one click, the tasks or focuses of each assessment can be synced together creating a guaranteed consistent audit for each location across multi-unit enterprises. This helps bring consistency in restaurants operations and opportunity to scale their business.
Mitigate Issues and Risks
- A large focus of in-store field assessments, is to identify and then eliminate issues in each location of a multi-unit restaurant chain. Each time a digital field assessment is submitted, more data is fed into the system making it easier to spot trends of recurring problems. Rather than simply reacting to issues that arise, leveraging the data that a digital system provides, can result in a proactive approach helping detect issues and mitigate risks even before they occur.
- This is by no means an exhaustive list of every benefit from a digital field assessment however you can see at a high level, the advantages. With a digital solution, the issues plagued by paper and excel checklists will become a thing of past, all in a simple and cost-effective manner.
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