Your restaurant’s back-of-house team is just as crucial to your business as your team members in customer-facing roles.
Often, back of house gets less attention than it deserves.
If your back-of-house processes aren’t as streamlined as your front of house, then it might be time to consider investing in technologies to improve communication and increase efficiency.
This guide will help you do just that. Keep reading to discover practical steps you can take today to set up your back-of-house for success.
What to expect from this guide
After reading this guide, you’ll have learned:
- Why back-of-house management is important
- How digital signage can improve and automate your BOH management
- The equipment you need to start using BOH digital signage
- Step-by-step instructions for improving BOH performance
Why worry about back-of-house management?
Restaurant owners tend to pay more attention to forward-facing staff and processes because they’re more visible to the customer.
However, your back of house plays just as big of a role in making sure your guests have a positive experience in your restaurant.
That’s because BOH is responsible for:
- Preparing food ingredients safely and correctly
- Delivering high-quality food and beverages
- Ordering, storing, and managing raw materials and inventory
- Keeping dishes, glasses and silverware clean
- Maintaining and cleaning equipment
- Keeping your restaurant safe and secure
Any one of these tasks can be the tipping point between a positive customer experience and a guest who won’t be returning to your establishment.
This is why it’s essential to pay close attention to how you manage your back of house and to improve processes where possible.
Communication is everything: especially in back-of-house management
Source: Unsplash, Daniel Bradley
Before diving into the specifics of this guide, it’s important for you to keep this principle in mind: If you want your back-of-house team to become more successful, strengthening your communication will be critical – no matter what strategies you use to do so.
Making task expectations clear is the first step towards increasing efficiency in the workplace, whether that’s for your back-of-house staff, other deskless workers, or your management team.
When your team knows what is expected of them, when and in what way, it will be all that much easier for them to succeed.
Establishing a more communicative and positive relationship with both leaders and BOH hourly workers should go a long way in helping you achieve your BOH management goals.
Digital signage makes back-of-house engagement easier
Digital signage simplifies back-of-house management by giving you an easy way to communicate with your staff. This helps them remain engaged and on-task more consistently, even when you’re not physically present.
You can use digital signage to share messages that prompt your team to complete important tasks the moment the need arises.
For example, digital signage lets you:
- Schedule repeated operational tasks, prep work and more
- Set visible goals for your team to work towards and track progress
- Remind hourly workers about health and safety protocols
- Motivate your staff with positive messages and recognize their achievements
- Boost individual and team performance by sharing progress towards sales goals
- Notify staff of training, updates and special events
Essentially, digital signage acts as an automated and constant leader in your back of house.
Equipment you need to start using digital signage in back of house
- Screens in strategic locations
- Digital signage software
- Media players (only if your screens aren’t connected to the internet already)
Setting up your digital signage system
Setting up digital signage in your back of house is straightforward:
- Mount screens in locations that are easy for your staff to view while they work
- Connect your digital signage software to those screens (either through media players or directly to the screens)
- Create the displays you want your back-of-house employees to see, and choose the frequency that each message is displayed across the screens
- Use your digital signage software to share a variety of content with a dynamic rotation schedule
Improving back-of-house management in 2022: A step-by-step guide
Step 1: Deploy digital signage and use it to keep your team engaged
Adding digital signage to your BOH is a great first step towards optimizing your team’s performance.
Integrating digital signage with your existing POS system can bring even more benefits, such as automated inventory reporting.
There are many options for keeping your team engaged with digital signage. Signage can enable you to easily communicate timely internal messages, celebrate worker milestones and even share profiles of brand new team members.
Step 2: Set goals and track your team’s progress towards them
Providing specific goals – and tracking your team’s progress towards them – is likely to be more effective than simply “expecting more” from your BOH team.
This is why it’s important to set realistic goals and track these over time.
Examples of strong goals include:
- Completing prep work by a certain time
- Reducing the amount of food waste by a certain amount or percentage
- Minimizing downtime by completing more ancillary tasks when primary objectives are done
- Achieving set sales goals each day
If you’re going to set goals for your team, you should consider rewarding them when those goals are reached. For example, you could offer a free meal to workers or give them an additional day of paid time off.
Digital signage enables you to provide reminders of what these goals are, and how the team is progressing towards them, which serves to boost engagement and performance over time.
Step 3: Consider updating your back-of-house layout
The layout of your restaurant’s back-of-house space can have a big impact on the efficiency of your workers.
If employees constantly have to wait their turn to use important stations, they can’t complete key tasks as quickly as they should.
Similarly, if you don’t have enough kitchen tools in your back of house, it could delay your team and give them a reason to be distracted.
That’s why you may also want to consider updating your back-of-house layout.
If you do, try focusing on how your staff members flow throughout their shifts. Then, build a space that supports that natural flow instead of counteracting it.
Step 4: Involve BOH team leaders in your decision-making
Decisions are more effective when more people are involved from the start – especially when the people you involve will be directly impacted by the decision!
Bringing your back-of-house leaders into your decision-making process ensures that insights are coming from those who are most familiar with the BOH environment, helping you to tackle key issues or bottlenecks efficiently.
One way to capture these insights is through surveys. You can leverage your digital signage to display QR codes that link to trackable surveys. Team members feel greater loyalty when they believe their opinions are valued by management. Surveys are one great way to lower turnover and receive valuable feedback.
Step 5: Give more praise than punishment
Your restaurant’s back-of-house performance ultimately depends on your workers. That means if you’re not currently hitting your BOH goals, you’ll need to motivate your employees to perform to a higher standard.
So, as you work to adjust your deskless workers’ behaviors, make sure to appropriately reward them when they achieve goals that were set forth and perform to expectations.
Step 6: Invest in ongoing training
There will likely always be things you can do to improve your back-of-house performance.
If you want to continue making progress towards those goals, then investing in ongoing training is a must.
This will be especially important when you make a change and your deskless workers need to learn a new way of doing things. However, it can also be helpful to periodically refresh your staff’s training in areas where you're noticing the most slippage.
For example, if the kitchen staff complains about poorly prepared ingredients, you could offer a quick training session on the proper techniques. It could be as easy as leveraging your digital signage to promote the training session and offering access to it via a QR code on your BOH screens.
Step 7: Track your progress and adjust
Managing your restaurant’s back of house is a never-ending task. As time moves forward, you’ll likely need to adjust what you’re focusing on if you want to continue hitting your goals.
That’s why it’s important to come up with metrics that you trust to track the performance of your back of house. This could be food waste percentage, feedback from restaurant guests, sales goals or something else.
The key is figuring out what metrics best represent success for your restaurant’s BOH. Then, keep track of those and intervene whenever progress has slowed or doesn’t appear to be on track.
Embracing a culture of continuous improvement in this way will go a long way in improving the performance of your back of house.
UPshow’s digital signage software makes it easier to manage your back of house
Digital signage makes it significantly easier to communicate with back-of-house employees and keep them engaged. UPshow makes digital signage software that’s perfect for this.