Food Service Operations Manual edit

Writing an operations manual is an ambitious undertaking - one that will benefit all members of your restaurant's team. An operations manual outlines a consistent model that can be used in a single restaurant, provides management with a useful reference tool, and is an effective way to inform staff about the standards and expectations you hold for your restaurant.

The manual will draw your attention to:

  • Areas of your restaurant that are working well
  • Problems that need improvement
  • Crisis elements that need immediate attention

While it's not the most romantic work, organizing your restaurant through an operations manual will enable you to run your operation more efficiently, with less work and with greater profits. Here are a few key points to keep in mind when planning and writing your manual:

Keep it simple

One of the purposes of an operations manual is to explain complex activities in simple terms. You want to describe what needs to be done, how to do it and the final result you would like to achieve. Pictures are an easy and simple way to communicate these goals. Also it is wise to create a simple portfolio for your recipes and pictures.

Assign responsibilities to specific job roles

Make sure that all tasks, duties and responsibilities are clearly outlined under specific job positions. This will help to avoid misunderstandings, redundancies and inconsistency both in the manual and in your operation.

Start at the bottom and work your way up

Chart each job position that needs to be documented in the manual. Each position should have a thorough job description and a list of tasks, divided up into service, opening and closing lists. Any specialized functions or responsibilities of a position that fall outside of the service, opening and closing format can be documented in a section titled general duties. Be sure to include recipes, inventory sheets and mapping where necessary.

Clarity, Consistency and Spirit are your objectives

  • Consistency - the key to building any business is the ability to deliver the same product or result over and over again.
  • Clarity - through careful documentation, your operation's structure can be distilled to specific tasks that will be meaningful to staff, rather than general ideas than can be subject to misinterpretation.
  • Spirit - the details that breathe life into your restaurant and make it unique need to be included in any description of your operations.