management | 10 mins read

Why a Checklist App is Vital to Running a Smooth Business Operation

why a checklist app is vital to running a smooth business operation
Michelle Jaco

By Michelle Jaco

A Checklist Evolved

Managing a restaurant is one of the most difficult jobs to complete successfully in the foodservice industry right now. With 60 percent of restaurants failing within the first year of business, the odds are stacked against owners and management right out of the gate.

There are a lot of moving parts within the restaurant that need to be on the same page while simultaneously working independently from one another. The cooks in the kitchen need to work in concert with the servers to insure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.

As a manager, it is your job to keep an eye on each position and make sure that they are working efficiently on their own, as well as together. On paper, that might seem like an easy task, but after taking a step back from the logistics of everything, it is actually a lot more difficult than it seems at first glance.

Obviously, having the most competent, hardest workers is an important piece of the puzzle. But even if you have a perfect crew at the helm, there are a lot of other factors that come into play that can put a halt to even the best well-oiled machine.

Aside from investing in top-quality products (like ingredients), the manager's job is to keep things running smoothly and consistently while overseeing a number of workers.

That could be the main difference between a successfully run business and a total failure. There are a number of ways and tactics that can assist management in making sure that every part of their business is running optimally.

Perhaps, the most important tool that a manager can utilize to keep everyone under him/her on the same page is a simple checklist.

Keeping Up with Technological Advances

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While traditional checklists are typically comprised of a pen, paper, and a clipboard, the technological advances in the restaurant management business have launched these tools into the 21st century.

Checklist apps available through a restaurant point of sale system as well as through tablets and smartphones keep owners and managers ahead of the technological curve - while giving them the ability to track what is going on in their business in the palm of their hand.

Checklist apps can do a number of things that help drive efficiency and keep workers on task effectively.

From rotating food in the walk-in freezer to cleaning projects that need to be attended to on a daily basis, these apps keep order within the ranks of the kitchen and front of house staff. These tasks are otherwise very easy to ignore and/or forget every day.

While hiring and maintaining a competent kitchen staff is just as important as completing these daily tasks, the ability to teach responsibility and the value of integrity can also assist in ensuring that things are done properly.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

Staying on Task is Key

The great thing about these new checklist apps is that they keep workers on task and keep them busy.

Often in the restaurant business, there are slow periods during the day where workers are just standing around, texting or socializing with each other. These unscheduled breaks can become contagious and take away from time that could be spent making sure the kitchen, bar, and front of house are spotless.

Not only does cleanliness assist in keeping a restaurant running smoothly it also makes sure that inspections are passed and can keep making sure the restaurant stays open for business.

Checklists can set inventory reminders so that a business doesn't run out of a product. They also track efficiency so you, as a manager or owner, know what jobs are getting done during which shifts as well as what is being skipped or missed.

This helps a manager stay on top of which workers are pulling their weight and which workers need to complete more tasks during their scheduled shifts so that work is spread evenly among all employees.

Stopping Bad Habits

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Working without checklist apps can lead to a number of debilitating habits that can turn a successful restaurant into a restaurant that is constantly playing catch-up.

When it comes to food preparation, there is no better way to make sure each individual responsibility is taken care of before it is too late. You do not want to be in the middle of a busy lunch or dinner rush and find out that you've run out of ingredients for one of your most popular dishes.

When those tickets start coming through the printer and you find out in the heat of the moment that you are without a critical element of a dish, it can set your cook time and serve time back to a point you may not be able to recover from.

Frustration by the cooks, servers, and customers can ruin a night as well as a restaurant's reputation especially with the customers' ability to immediately get on their phones and write a negative review regarding their experience.

Task management apps are the future of restaurant checklists. With its easy user-friendly software and instantaneous updates, this app will allow your workers as well as your management staff the ability to control every task that needs to be done on a daily basis down to the second.

Instead of trusting employees to complete a task and fill out their completion on a piece of paper hanging on the kitchen line or in the office, you can track in real-time what is being done and how efficiently it is being done.

For instance, if one specific employee is taking care of your inventory and they aren't getting it done in a timely fashion, you can track and assign the job to another employee to try and cut down on wasted time, leaving the rest of your crew free to complete their daily tasks.

Lack of Time Management Can Be Costly

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One of the most costly issues in any workplace is a lack of time management. With a quality task management app, you can make sure that every employee is making the most of their time during their shifts.

This will ensure that you aren't paying someone to merely stand around while time ticks away during their assigned shift.

This will give you the option of talking to that employee or employees and giving them different tasks to complete or letting those employees go so you can fill your staff with a harder working set of employees.

A task manager app will also help you keep track of food costs and expiration dates, making sure that you are serving your product in a timely manner so that you aren't throwing away food that you paid for and also making sure that you aren't serving your valued customers expired food and produce.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

Easier to Get Ahead

One of the most valuable features of the app is keeping your employees ahead of tasks so if an issue arises during a shift there are quick fixes to keep things rolling. The app itself will remind your management and shift leaders what jobs need to be done and when.

And if you're always able to stay on task, you're more likely to get ahead of the game and find yourself tackling stuff before you actually need to.

You can set timers for each hour, day or week to make sure that things are checked and cleaned routinely. Setting a routine is a great way to make sure that tasks get done in an orderly fashion and don't get overlooked.

Once a task gets overlooked it becomes common for that task to continually become overlooked. This is how things start to fall apart and defeat the purpose of having the technological advances of the task tracking app to begin with.

Managing Multiple Locations Simplified

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If you are in a position where you own and operate multiple locations, this app is perfect for what you need to keep each location running smoothly.

Each location can customize their own app so that tasks are specific to the timelines set by your managers. While every location should be consistent, not every location is on the same timeline.

The freedom to change and alter your tasks to fit different cooks, servers and especially managers will only make life easier for every employee under each roof.

For instance, not all food is delivered on the same day for each location you own. You have the ability to change the days and hours of food rotation so that it fits in with your delivery days. The app will constantly track and update you on what food was delivered on what day and how long you have until that food turns.

The app also comes with a checklist detail report that keeps management updated on who is doing what and when.

With each employee aware that management is monitoring them, they will be more motivated and disciplined to take in higher accountability for their work and actions. Higher accountability translates directly to more efficient use of time and a higher completion rate.

Measures Effectiveness

Measuring effectiveness is another way the app helps keep things running smoothly. Just because a certain employee can't complete a specific task effectively doesn't mean they are ineffective; it just means that task needs to be assigned to someone more competent and able to deliver with efficiency.

The main purpose of the app is to give the management staff more time to build a business and allow it to grow.

Instead of standing over each employee and making sure their jobs are getting done correctly, the app takes the reigns and gives the manager and owners the freedom to be in multiple places, overseeing other tasks like hiring and setting a schedule that not only works for the employees' needs but also keeps the restaurant running smoothly.

Final Thoughts

By investing in a quality task management app, owners have the ability to cut down on costs and wasted time and can put that saved money back into the business to expand things like the staff, menus or by building another location, which ultimately means more money in the pockets of ownership, management and employees.

With their focus shifting, owners and management can pay closer attention to customer satisfaction, reviews and other important expenses like food costs.

A restaurant that gets the appropriate attention from its owners is likely to make it past that first year and can make a name for itself within the community. A great reputation is key in running and maintaining a successful business.

Zip Checklist is an investment that will not only give a business a great chance at making more money, but it is a must-have for any staff that wants to run efficiently while making the most of their time they spend on the clock.

Technology is always changing and evolving while making things less stressful and easier on management, the staff, and the business owners, and in the long-run, it will without a doubt assist in the ability to make more money for everyone involved in the business.

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