The pioneers of fast food restaurants built a unique operational system that supported efficiency in order to sell their product at a discounted price and make more revenue.
This operational system relies on three interdependent subsystems that include input, processing, and output.
Therefore, in order to improve efficiency in the overall operation, QSR managers and owners must focus their efforts on the three subsystems without negatively influencing the quality of the product.
This might seem like an impossible task, but it is everything, because if you reduce the quality of the product by becoming more efficient, you will still lose revenue through loss of customers.
Therefore, you must go into any strategy with the notion that a high-quality product does not undermine efficiency.
The easiest way to do these things is through improved equipment and technology, which touches input, processing, and output. Technology and equipment must be part of an integrated solution that doesn't bog down operations and wastes capital because there is too much of it. It also shouldn’t inhibit you from delivering a quality product and great hospitality with too little of it, when customer volume increases.
There are several goals you should consider when updating equipment and technology. First, purchase equipment that reduces employee labor, which lowers production costs because you will need fewer employees and lowers the stress of the staff you need, resulting in better retention.
Second, purchase equipment that cooks a more consistent product, so there is little guesswork involved. Automated equipment cooks food with exact heating requirements and built-in timers. The cooking process begins after employees push simple buttons with easy-to-understand icons.
Third, purchase equipment that conserves energy, which reduces operating costs. For example, Energy Star refrigerators and ice machines reduce operating costs by 15%-25%. Also, since heating water contributes to 10%-20% of a restaurant's energy costs, replace your ancient water heaters with gas heaters or even a solar option that pays dividends quickly. Along the same lines, support sustainability and efficiency by buying equipment that effectively handles kitchen waste for recycling and disposal.
Consult with a professional who will research your needs and put a plan into place that increases speed without reducing quality. Furthermore, consider that every new innovation, like adding delivery, or the introduction of a new product, requires a redesign of the operational system, and the possibility of including a new piece of equipment to ensure continued efficiency and quality.