Speed of Service 1: Be a Leader

13 Oct

It’s a question faced by every fast food manager at some point in his career: how do I decrease my speed of service? Let’s face it–there is a lot of pressure from above you to do so. Most of the time, the higher-ups will not accept the fact that customers do a lot of little things to increase your speed of service (e.g. not having money ready or taking a super-long time to order). But it’s pointless to vilify the customer when there is so much that can be done by the store’s employees to decrease speed of serivce.

In the previous post, I identified six points for faster service. I will now expound on what they mean. The first point is to simply be a leader. What does that mean?

As the visible head of the organization, your people look to you to get their cues. They actually follow you. Which means that if you’re all about speed of service, then they will be all about speed of service. If you act like speed of service isn’t a big deal, then so will they.

Start by clearly defining the speed of service goal for the shift. At Burger King, our gold standard is less than two minutes and thirty seconds. So I establish that as the goal right off the bat, and I communicate that goal to everyone. Our timer gives an average when there are no cars in drive-thru, so on the rare chance that the drive-thru is empty, I call the time out and give everyone feedback on how they’re doing–either positive or negative.

In his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell talks about the Law of Navigation, which says that only a leader can chart the course. It is up to the leader to chart the course on speed of service. The old axiom holds true: “Whoever fails to plan plans to fail.” You need a solid plan in addition to motivation. You need to chart the course. People need to be placed right, the store needs to be set up right, there needs to be enough food to get you through the rush so that everyone can be assisting customers and helping out with service instead of cooking. These points will be covered in later posts, but they’re worth noting at least for now.

In short, if speed of service is in all you say and do, that will rub off on your people and they will be all about speed, too. Clearly define an appropriate goal. Plan your shift to meet that goal, and set up your store for speed.

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