Don’t Get Overwhelmed – Get Blue Rock A guide to your Restaurant

We have all had great ideas where we thought to ourselves; “if only?” The crazy thing about ideas and innovation is that they are only as great as those who are supporting them. We work to help you build that support, the foundation needed to grow for generations.

Having a great idea and bringing it to light is a hard thing. Taking your family recipes, or love of cooking and turning it into a restaurant takes hard work. Just as you work hard to build that brand we work (Blue Rock) hard to ensure its there for years to come. Our friends at Metro313Food were kind enough to let me (@Charles_Damico) write a piece for their new blog about how we work to strengthen restaurants. I grew up in the kitchen with my grandmother and mother making fresh pasta cooking all day and learning to create.

I took that passion, along with two decades of industry experience and my college education and formed Blue Rock to better help the restaurant industry. Instead of helping 1 owner grow we get the chance to help multiple companies each month prosper and secure their futures and that of their staffs. It’s a very rewarding job to have, just as your restaurant is to you.

What does this have to do with your restaurant, your livelihood?

If your revenue goal for a company is 20% profit at 500,000 in sales you need to push your goal to 1M in sales at 25% margins. If we want to succeed we must aim past the need to ensure as we falter along the way we will stay on a path of success. More than a motivational piece this is about the things we do, need to do and should do to ensure our (your) restaurant is and stays successful. The items we will cover are related to daily, weekly and monthly (quarterly) to break down the level of depth and importance to the success of (y)our restaurant.

What we need to check/audit Daily?

One of the hardest parts about growing a restaurant is all the extra work to ensure the daily operations are going on as intended. Often time’s owners and General Managers will think that if they spend 14+hrs a day in their restaurant they will catch it all and prevent as many issues as possible. The truth is, the more we empower people, systemize our operations and audits each other the more effective we’ll be. One of the hardest parts about owning a business is realizing that there are many people who work for you that care just as much about their job and the success of the business because their livelihood (just as yours) relies on it.

This can be one of the hardest things to accept, overcome and coach from the owner down but it can lead to (and prevent if not done) great success. So what are the daily items we need to do to achieve success and proper growth? The three items we are going to review are: Coach up your staff, audit procedures and listen to your customers. This may seem simple but often times in the service industry problems are fixed quickly, not recorded and moved on. The problem with this is that we cannot track or correct a root problem if we are not revisiting.

Next daily issue is coaching up your staff, one of the most common issues we see in the service industry (because of turnover) is the lack of training. Too often we see signs “Hiring Experienced Help,” the problem is that they don’t understand your system, you don’t know exactly how much they really know and if they were so good why did their previous employer allow them to leave? Great experienced help rarely lands in our laps, its up to us to train the staff we need, have and grow the bench for tomorrow. This means making sure we are constantly training and coaching up our staff.

Can you still operate properly if one of your cooks is out for a week sick (or injured)? What kind of pressure are you putting on your staff by not having the proper people to fill roles when needed? When you aren’t coaching daily you are falling behind for tomorrow, next week and next year; weak staff leads to huge operational issues. The cost of training staff, having proper backups to ensure your covered to keep up operations rarely cost more than the sales lost when you are understaffed/fall behind from poorly trained staff.

Do the math:

If you cook costs you $10/hr to train at 40hrs a week for 4 weeks it may cost you $1,600 dollars, but image the sales you will lose when your kitchen falls behind and your giving away food and losing customer to poor service? The dollars continually add up on the negative side when you weigh the cost of training properly.


Start by designating all new employees as trainees for a minimum of 1 week (we suggest 2) to ensure they get trained properly and can truly help your restaurant operate properly. An Improperly trained employee is only going to cost you money in time, money and energy from staff covering for them. If you set it up from day one to train them properly your restaurant and profits will thank you.

Finally we talk about auditing procedures daily, to ensure that recipes and prep are being done regularly. The phrase, “don’t worry, we’ve got this” usually ends bad when we take the time to audit things properly. This more commonly results in the lack of training from day one in combination of auditing to ensure its being done properly. Most recently we saw a restaurant who was serving two different sauces without realizing it because the morning and night prep cooks were preparing them differently. Taking the time to check things will only lead to a more consistent product for your customers to get and employees to serve.

There is an old adage, “inspect what you expect,” that has stood the test of time. You can’t truly hold someone accountable for something that you haven’t yourself checked in months, if ever. Making sure to check on the procedures daily not only allows us to catch things that are wrong but to praise things that are right and those moments lead to better operations, growth in staff and ultimately a better product for (y)our customers.


What we need to check/audit weekly?

Now that you’ve worked your long week and have done your best to give rocking operations to your customers it is time to audit the weekly items and make sure we are making money and operating properly. We need to review our costs each week as they pertain to purchases, usage and labor. Reviewing and keeping an eye on these items allow us a way to measure and coach our staff on what we need to do to grow (more importantly keep the lights on).

Looking at our usage inventory (Beginning inventory + purchases-ending inventory) versus that of our purchases allows us to see our true waste and cost of business. It is great if our usage is low, but if we are purchasing more than 5% of our usage we are throwing money away (5% is just a starting point and depends on shelf life of the menu).  You may think this is simple stuff, but often times we see people are aware of it but not taking the time to look into it. It’s in these spots that we find a lot of lost money that can be used to build profits, reinvest into the company and the overall health of the business.

Auditing labor can be a bit harder depending on the system you have in your location. Most POS (point of sale) systems now have simple tools that can be used to look at labor versus sales. This is a great way to see how a location is staffing and utilizing cost of labor per dollar sold. Looking at the difference between peak times and off peak and learning how to maximize both are very important and another place we find a lot of lost revenue for restaurants.

This is a Blue Rock specialty (evaluating operations and finding way to maximize the costs and money in your business), reach out to us today.

When it comes to monthly and quarterly its about taking the things we already audit and see where we saved, where we lost and how we can improve. These big pictures and really help your staff see where the money is going (especially managers). We are working with our friends at Metro313Food to continue to bring information to the restaurant industry and help as many businesses as we can. We are firm believers in the community effect of growth and shared prosperity. If we continue to coach each other, learn from each other and succeed together we can do great things. There are 300 Million Americans and 7 Billion people in the world, there are plenty of customers if we do it right.

Don’t get overwhelmed – Get Blue Rock!

OverWhelmed WB

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s