ComplianceMate Blog

5 Ways Your Old Restaurant Checklists Hold You Pack

Restaurant checklists sometimes get a bad rap. They’re regarded as tedious interruptions to the rest of the staff’s normal workflow; but the truth is, they’re powerful tools for running a successful restaurant. They guide employees – regardless of experience or training – through otherwise complex tasks in a consistent, reliable manner that can be tracked by managers and owners. That said, it’s almost a given that your restaurant is being under-served by its checklists. Particularly if you’re stuck using pen-and-paper lists, you’ll find that your checklists will be missing many features that can make employees more efficient, faster, and just plain happier to complete them.

Too few checklists.

This likely sounds ridiculous on the surface – who wants more checklists?! Many restaurants already feel like they’re drowning in paperwork. One chain we know would ask every store to mail every checklist to headquarters every week. Such mountains of paper are expensive to maintain and unwieldy to review. As a result, most restaurants don’t use checklists for everything that they could or should. Digitizing turns those mountains into molehills and enables restaurants to add checklists they might be missing.

Too few checklist items.

Digitizing also speeds up checklist completion by capturing information automatically, communicating with wireless probes in seconds, and allowing human users to complete items with a single tap or click. That, in turn, means stores can increase the number of items included on checklists. One ComplianceMate customer reduced their total time spent completing checklists each day by about 25% and yet doubled the number of items being checked – better protecting brand consistency.

No visuals or imagery.

Prior to smart devices, incorporating imagery into checklists just wasn’t possible, but now workers can include visual proof in their checklist completion process, from photos of a sparkling clean work area to snapshots of dishes plated according to brand specifications. Restaurant owners and executives can start spot-checking more aspects of their restaurant operations while also procuring evidence that sanitation and food prep meets brand guidelines.

Vulnerability to fraud and mistakes.

Paper offers no protection against pencil whipping. An employee can pick up all the checklists for the weekend and preemptively fill them in after the boss leaves on Friday (a situation we’ve run into). Digital checklists, however, lock employees out until it’s time to complete the list and/or can send an alert to management if checklists aren’t properly completed within a given timeframe.

Lack of real-time corrective actions.

Regular paper checklists don’t typically tell employees what to do if an item is off. Digital checklists can include instructions for correction actions – and then log whatever actions are taken. For example, if the soup’s temperature is off, the checklist might prompt the user to try stirring.

Would you like more information? Contact ComplianceMate with questions today.