Japanese companies break down all their major tasks into three basic categories:
- Innovation is often the responsibility of the upper management
- Maintenance is the responsibility of the workers
- “Kaizen” is everybody’s responsibility
Kaizen is the process of continuous enhancement. It is the ongoing, systematic, incremental improvement of how things are done every day. We are talking about the small, almost insignificant changes that, taken one by one, don’t seem like much, but once accumulated over time, they add up to an incredible performance.
You can apply this Japanese wisdom to your restaurant.
As a restaurant owner, it is your responsibility to come up with innovative ways to run your business, to create new marketing ideas and campaigns, to do the best to outsmart your competitors, get to know your clients and offer them a unique and satisfactory experience. Remember that clients go to your place looking for an experience, if you don’t provide them to them, they will go somewhere else!
Your employees are responsible for the maintenance. They run the business on a daily basis and they have to make sure that it is conducted in the best and most professional way. The food needs to be delicious and served on time, the clients need to be treated politely and respectfully, the place needs to be clean and pleasant, etc.
So what about Kaizen? All of you, from the owner to the janitors who clean your place, can contribute to the improvement of your restaurant by caring about it and giving you feedback for improvement.
Listen to your people when they make suggestions to you. Welcome the suggestions. If they make them, it is because they care about your restaurant, because they care about you. An uninterested employee is an apathetic employee.
If everybody contributes to improving your place, small as the improvements may be individually, they will make a big impact when taken together.
From moving the position of a table to give you clients a better view, changing the soap in the bathroom so that it smells nicer; replacing the brand of bread if it is not crispy enough (or your people discover a new provider with a more delicious taste, etc.), every detail, every step that isolated won’t amount to much, it will make a world of difference when added together.
It is very difficult, (I would say impossible) to run a perfect place. Things happen, people are moody and variable.
However, making small changes, continuously improving your operations all the time, will bring you closer to a place where people will notice the difference.