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Restaurant operators say low productivity, high non-compliance year's top problems

Restaurant operators say low productivity, high non-compliance year's top problems

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Restaurant chain operators said sagging productivity and overall on-the-job non-compliance will be among their top targets for improvement this year, according to a Zenput/Technomic survey that reveals some of the top hurdles chains are facing in achieving better team execution and customer experience at their brands. As such, a news release said these subjects comprise some of the top headaches chains are now experiencing. 

Key findings from the survey reveal:

  • Fewer than 20% of operators feel employees are adequately compliant with brand operating procedures and key initiatives.
  • Just one in three operators said they are "very confident" they can identify potential food safety concerns before they become issues.
  • Rising labor costs (48%), employee turnover (44%) and insufficient training (39%) are the top three barriers cited to to the desired level of store execution.
  • Improving employee productivity was the top cited concern in the year ahead.

"The research findings underscore that restaurant operators are finding consistent execution increasingly difficult to achieve due to rising labor costs, high turnover, and the challenges associated with maintaining quality control across a geographically dispersed operation" Zenput CEO Vladik Rikhter, said in the release. 

"To remain competitive and grow, it's imperative that brands and their franchisees focus on improving operations execution at every location, which if done well can be a key point of differentiation."

Study results are based on a Technomic survey of 295 restaurant last fall, comprising operations leaders and managers, field leaders, store managers, IT leaders, c-suite executives and owners.  

Some possible causes

Zenput said its findings indicated that the non-compliance problems cited by so many operators may actually stem from how those operators say they get a good picture of what is actually going on in stores. Nearly half, according to Zenput, use more traditional approaches that rely on telephones and text-messaging, as opposed to other forms of more contemporary technology that just 20% reported using. 

Similarly, the results indicate a miss in visibility about food safety and compliance with measures to ensure it, leaving brands vulnerable to what 88% of operators said could really put their chains at risk if a food safety issue developed and was publicized. 

Another identified area of weakness in operations, according to the survey, involved operational audits around consistently executed customer experiences. Just 22% thought these reviews were effective, although operators said field employees are spending more 30 combined hours weekly on in-store audits, report preparation and follow-up, leaving even less training and coaching time than the meager amount now available. 

Finally, the survey found that although 83% of operators using technology to automate such tasks found it helpful, only 27% reported using tech to any substantial extent.

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Staffing & Training

Companies: Zenput

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