How to Create Effective Assessment Forms

On February 13 at 1PM Eastern, noted hospitality expert and former Operations Excellence Team Lead at Tim Hortons’s, Craig Thompson will be running a webinar, titled, How to Create Effective Assessment Forms.

Some quick background on Craig Thompson

Craig brings over 25 years of hospitality knowledge building exceptional guest experiences, operational excellence and identifying improvement opportunities. His career saw him land in a few different places such as Marriott Hotels, Four Seasons Hotels and ultimately at Tim Horton’s. From 1996-2016, Craig led the Operations Excellence team constantly fine-tuning Tim Horton’s in-store Assessment forms, improving audit checklists, food and safety inspection lists and the overall evaluation and monitoring process to help improve overall performance at the brand’s over 4,500 locations globally. For more on Craig you can find him on LinkedIn or here.

In this Webinar, Craig discusses the importance of restaurant operations auditing and shares his expertise in devising optimal assessment form and audit checklists and the rationale behind the assessment itself. Craig emphasizes the importance of measuring and periodic auditing to improve and achieve restaurant operational excellence, standardization and consistency. For Craig, measuring each performance standard is paramount to building a winner. He also speaks of the shift from paper based to digital assessment tools and the use of auditing apps which he thinks are a great development enhancing the accuracy of audits while providing performance snapshots of locations.

Craig also alludes to MeazureUp, a cloud based solution, as one such highly effective digital assessment and inspection tool providing operational data analytics that streamlines your quality assessments in real-time, ensuring consistency across locations, as an answer to the cumbersome paper and excel based assessment.

The webinar revolves around three basic questions related to restaurant audit checklists which Craig deals with respectively and are as follows:

  1. ‘How to make a list and why they are important?
  2. How to properly maintain operational efficiency?
  3. And for those who do have the system today, how to actually improve it?

After dealing with these questions, Craig’s speaks on the effectiveness of the MeazureUp solution followed by an open Q A round to end the webinar

Excerpts from the webinar:

Craig Thompson on ‘How to make a list and why they are important?’.

“When we talk about assessments, it’s no secret what gets measured will improve, meaning when you measure performance the performance you are measuring will improve. Restaurant companies have been monitoring their locations with lists for as long as I can remember and that’s the way it’s always been done so the question really comes, ‘how do we make a functional list and why are they so important’. The best way in my view is you look at the business through the eyes of your consumer and then ‘why’ is really you can’t afford not to.

Now you say this quote couple of times here, “consistency is the cornerstone of operators that succeed in both the good times and bad times and by creating proper lists in restaurant audit checklists, you create consistency in your locations and in your brands. In today’s business environment the guests have so many options of spending their hard earned money and we want people to spend their money with us and that answers the ‘why’ question.”

How do we ensure that the customers return?

‘It’s really by giving them quality food with great service in a clean and friendly environment. I will say that one more time: Quality food with great service in a clean and friendly environment. It sounds simple enough but when we add-on things like labor, people providing food and service, the location, the environment, the quality of the food and the beverages, and the season and the clientele; the more layers we add on the greater the opportunity is to not meet our goals. Every great restaurant brand starts off with this model of serving great food with great service and the way we do that is by measurement. So by creating relevant restaurant checklists and measuring how we are performing against the standards we have created, we can evaluate how well we are meeting and exceeding our goals in our standards on food, service and environment.

As regarding reviewing the performance of our satisfaction, the sales,  guests feedback, compliments, the complaints, we need to utilize a vehicle to monitor performance, through operations auditing and, food and safety inspection checklists and evaluations with follow ups. Restaurant audit checklists and assessment form is basically a vehicle in which to monitor your restaurants performance  against the standards you have created over a period of time. Without these measurements, there is no way of knowing how your location is performing.  Consistently monitoring your locations, you create a story of performance, where am I heading, where am I coming from and it’s that story of performance that we really want to evaluate when we are doing that list.

The Value of Data

“Today’s restaurants need a quality reporting process to keep them on track. Without a system in place there is no formal target to achieve other than financial but when sales’ satisfied how do we know where to look and what are we looking for. Successful brands use checklists to keep themselves on track and frequency of these audits depend on what you are trying to achieve. The more reports generated the better opportunity you have to review these trends. The more data and the more information.”

On Understanding Trends  and Auditing Process

“We talk specifically on trends to gather information on why sales are changing and for that  you need to understand trends and how your  restaurant operations are running over a period of time. The more snapshots you have of your business the better it is to analyze it and understand what’s happening at the restaurant level. The restaurant audit checklists is really about taking a snapshot in time of a location or at locations. If you are currently not performing scheduled audits then you can be missing them.

If you have a system in place today, there’s a number of questions I would like you to ask yourself: The who, what, where, why and how. Based on the frequency of audits, who is conducting these assessments? Are they examining the stores they are visiting? How are they using that information? What is the goal and purpose of these audits? Who is looking at the data. And what’s being done with the report once they have been completed. Are there action plans being made and followed upon? Are we spending the time taking the data and creating the action plans for future performance improvement. Is the report being scored? Who is performing the audits? Are they self audits. Are you using an inspector? Is it being done by the manager? Is the person conducting the audits the same person responsible for the performance of those locations. This is important as restaurant audits can be more effective if the auditor is actually the one responsible for the performance of those locations.”

Craig on How To Create a Robust Form?

“When we look at creating a form to meet the goals of the corporations, do you change the questions, the maths, the season? Are you offering a different menu in the spring versus the summer versus the fall and are you adjusting the audits, the lists, the forms to adjust that? Are you looking at the types of locations. You have different reports, different questions based on the environment of each location. Do you have different reports and questions based on menu offers?  Do you have sub-sections around different day parts? Are you including the goals for that fiscal year? These are some essentials that need to be understood with respect to the organizational goals that would help create a robust assessment form.”

On How do you Plan to Grow your Business

“By establishing and educating the team on what standards are and evaluating locations against those standards, you are able to create a process that is scalable so that you can replicate your locations and your business from one location to another. It’s really about building those brand standards and putting them in place so you can evaluate the business. It’s getting a vehicle to evaluate and report against those standards and we have that technology today with MeazureUp, a highly effective and easy to use auditing solution helping bring consistency and standardization at and across locations.”

Bringing your assessment form to the digital age: Craig Thompson on what MeazureUp can do for you:

Earlier, before we flipped over to more online format, we were doing more paper and excel based formats and lists. These assessments proved rather lengthy and time consuming requiring reprints and often proved difficult for follow ups in addition to the high amount of human error, just in the calculations alone, where nearly 20% of all audits had errors. No fault of anyone, just oversight because we were doing it manually. However, with digital assessment solution, this aspect of human error and lengthy audit process can be avoided. In the online world, we can change that on the fly and so the report can literally change from the morning to the evening such that your reaction time is in real-time.

“If we look at the  MeazureUp restaurant auditing software solution, we see analytics and information on several dashboards and reports that MeazureUp is able to provide based on the data that comes from your location. So you can see assessments, the assessment data from answer to each task to averages across sections, assessments and people. Dissect the data based on brands, regions, roles and create and assign action plan which can be tracked and follow up through an easy user friendly interface.

Craig on The MeazureUp Solution

“MeazureUp provides operational data analytics and is a great, easy to use application for restaurant auditing and assessments to help drive operational excellence and consistency. From digitizing to collecting to analyzing and then take corrective actions, the restaurant audit app makes it easy to track performance and analyze trends at the locations over a period of time while providing performance snapshots at a point in time. MeazureUp, makes it simple as each report from each location is aggregated on a cloud based system making it a one step process available to all. As a result, MeazureUp can manage consistency more effectively, reduce the overall overhead costs, and improve on the internal operational processes at each end, at every location.

What MeazureUp’s auditing app can do for you:

  1. Reduce your assessment time by at least 50%.
  2. Add pictures and comments: as we live in a social media world today, this concept can work amazingly at your restaurant.
  3. Provide the ability to add and assign action plans, which makes it easy to follow-up.
  4. The MeazureUp solution helps improve employee training by adding task aids;
  5. It provides instant real-time scoring and transparency in information sharing, accessible to all users, with the head office or senior leaders that are helping make decision about the business. In this respect, MeazurUp is far ahead of its competitors whose information sharing and data presentation is usually geared for the top executives.
  6. It provides for Temperature Based Tasks and probing and getting that information real-time into restaurant operations data.
  7. The solution also provides for GPS location verification which tracks normal drive by audits being performed by the auditors and provide specific GPS coordinates validating that the audit has taken place at that site.
  8. MeazureUp’s Built-in Task Descriptions can help as a job aid for the task.

Concluding remarks:

Craig is of the view that the MeazureUp has a comparative advantage with its cloud based solution over other digital field assessment tools owing to the simplicity of action and availability of overall assessment and data at one place that is accessible to all valid users, with relevant analytics visibility based on who is accessing the data. This enables smooth coordination with senior executives and ensures better communication through sharing of data and information providing a better idea of what’s happening at the location and get better scope of these audit checklist questions in real-time. The easy to use auditing app enables easy analysis of data as compared to other digital field assessment software while providing flexibility to adjust and change reports based on the business needs, enabling quick reaction time while also facilitating comparisons over time to monitor performance improvement.