PIE Part 1

Our bookkeeper at Finders Keepers used to manage a restaurant in her younger days.

We often talk about the similarities of running a retail business and running a restaurant and we share stories, problems and strategies and her main strategy was PIE.

Prep Is Everything.

It’s not just true in the restaurant business, either. Think about it. The more you do ahead, the more you plan your day, the better processes in place, the smoother your operation runs.

I waited tables in a pizza place for 5 years during High School and College. The kitchen guys came in early in the day to make dough, cut up ingredients, order food needs, and make dishes like lasagna and ravioli. They had place for every single ingredient and a system for getting all prep done quickly. Everyone had a job to do and nobody stood around.

Imagine the chaos in a pizza place if there was no dough ready, no cheese shredded or pizza sauce made! What if all the makings for salad were not chopped and ready to go? What if they didn’t have their signature dressing made up? What if someone forgot to order pepperoni? Having everything there, prepped and in the proper place made the dinner rush a breeze.

Waitresses had to come in 30 minutes before the restaurant opened and roll silverware in napkins, fill shakers, get coffee ready, and stock the beer cooler. All this made our job easier and service faster because everything was ready when customers arrived. We weren’t running around doing these chores AND waiting on tables, we practiced PIE and it made for a much happier staff and dining experience.

Monday morning planning is key to any manager. Get in early and survey the current situation, identify priorities for the day and the week and plan accordingly. What must be done every day? What is most important? Are there events to plan for this week? Do you have all supplies needed for daily operations and those special events? How does the shop look? Are there problem areas? What floor work needs to be done? What needs to be cleaned? How does your staffing look? Are there problem days or times that have cropped up since the schedule was made? Are there fires to put out?

All of this must be identified, prioritized and scheduled if you want to get it all done in the week ahead. The best time to do this is when nobody is around to distract you and I suggest first thing Monday morning, early, so you can gather your thoughts. Then when your staff arrives, you have the plan of action and can delegate according to their strengths. You are prepared for the week ahead and can lead your team instead of putting out fires, big and small. It makes for a much more effective leader, a better managed store and a calm and professional shopping experience for your customer.

Prep (really) Is Everything.

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