“Someone once referred to me as a ‘control freak’. Now, whilst I readily admit to being the latter (freak!), I would dearly like to claim to always being in the former – in control!” says CMAE MDP course provider Steven Brown.

Over many years of providing guidance and advice to purveyors of food and drink in the golfing community, I have never ceased to be amazed at the range and variety of control – or possibly the lack of it! – that I have encountered which even makes me look good!

Having conducted a recent ‘Business Whealth Check’ [wealth/health] for a client, I was disconcerted to be challenged by him about my suggestion that staff should not be allowed to carry money on their person during service. Now I thought that this was a fairly basic control that all Food & Beverage (F&B) outlets adopted, understanding the reason for its inclusion in their House Rules.

My client, however, seemed to think I was suggesting that his staff were dishonest. Now, far be it from me to even suggest such a thing. But I am a great believer in the maxim that ‘prevention is better than cure’, and that to adopt such a control is simply to remove any area of ‘confusion’. But what do I know!

The concern that I have for my clients is that, in many of the cases of dispute that can occur between employers and employees regarding their responsibilities and activities, I have seen far too many investigations into alleged wrong doing collapse due to the fact that no clear guideline was given by the employer as to how the employee was meant, in all areas of working practices, to perform.

Such accusations often lead in turn to a defence from staff of ‘you never told me that I had to do that!’ Even job descriptions (where they have been issued!) fail to be updated to reflect the changes that today’s operational procedures demand. Well, lets not fall foul of any future personnel minefields by reviewing the case for an Operations Manual.

Throughout my working life I have been instrumental in compiling a large number of operations manuals for both individual and corporate clients and they all have one theme in common – to set out clearly stated, tried and tested working methods that identify, in great detail, every individual’s reponsibilities relating to their job. By establishing these there can never be a defence of ‘you never told me etc., etc., etc.’.

So I thought it might be a good idea to give you a flavour of precisely what I’m referring to.

Space in Clubhouse Europe magazine doesn’t allow me to expand greatly upon this subject – I have after all written operations manuals that range from 10 pages to 100 pages in length! But I have, for your delectation and delight, listed key pointers under each heading, in keys areas of control for F&B managers and their staff, that you might consider worthy of inclusion in your own F&B operations and control manual. And remember, all I seek to do here is to protect the rights of employers and employees alike. This is not a ‘bible’ to assist in the search for the guilty, it is a guide to provide you with key benchmarks for the performance of your staff to avoid any confusion.

Here then are both suggested topics and tips.(Please note: many of the guidelines shown below are directed at line managers or supervisors but can be adapted to any job role.)

1. STOCK CONTROL

  • Liquor and food stocks to be obtained only from nominated suppliers.
  • All FREE OF CHARGE goods to be declared on the same invoices and delivery notes as all invoiced goods.
  • All keys to stock stores and safes to be kept on the manager’s (or nominated assistant’s) person at all times.
  • The manager to accompany the stock taker on all counts (but is never allowed to assist in the physical count or the recording of information).
  • All delivered stocks must be checked at the time of delivery and into an area away from both existing stocks and returns.

2. STOCK RESULTS – ANALYSIS

  • Managers must conduct regular line checks on a daily/weekly basis.
  • Reviews of actual performance of gross margin,surplus/deficit, yield and wastage against your previously set targets must be done on every stock.
  • Insist that your stock taker provides you with a written report after each stock detailing all concerns followed by solutions on the day of the stock take.
  • Ensure that your bars manager receives a copy of the stock result and that they provide you with a report detailing actions taken to improve profitability and to reduce any inefficiency detailed in the report.
  • Remove all slow selling lines to improve cash flow and reduce the possibility of ‘out of date’stock scenarios.

3. CASH TRANSACTIONS

  • Ensure that the shift supervisor is allowed to count and sign for the float prior to trading.
  • Investigate the need to re-count floats on shift change-overs.
  • Ensure that all change is verbally counted back into the customer’s hand.
  • Ensure that all change/notes are placed in the specically designated section in the till drawer.
  • Place large denomination notes on the top of the till (clip) until correct change has been taken and given.

4. P.D.Q. (CREDIT AND DEBIT CARDS) OPERATING PROCEDURES

  • All payment slip details must be confirmed prior to signature.
  • All completed individual slips must be retained and cross referenced with the ‘Z’ report.
  • All slips must be retained and stored safely for on-site inspection.
  • Any sales vouchers, which are subsequently rejected after banking due to incomplete details, will become the responsibility of the staff member involved in the transaction for repayment of any shortfall.
  • All details and transactions must be recorded daily on the administration sheet supplied for that purpose without exception.

5. COMPLAINT HANDLING

  • All staff must be informed of the procedure for dealing with customer complaints being fully
    aware of their levels of authority.
  • Keep a complaints record book and record all such instances.
  • Acknowledge all complaints calmly and politely and, if possible, away from the public’s gaze.
  • Staff must establish ‘fact from fantasy’ and provide outcomes to the client within their level of authority
  • Managers must follow up on the complaint by ensuring all staff are made aware of the incident and, where possible, ensure that no such incident can occur again.

6. TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT

  • Ensure that all staff are properly inducted into their working environment to ensure both compliance and safety is assured.
  • Provide training support in terms of job relevance.
  • Keep records of all training, assessment and achievements in the personnel files
  • Conduct a ‘training needs analysis’ to ensure that all staff are competent at their defined job roles thus identifying where training and development is required.
  • Keep all training materials up to date, legal and relevant.

7. HOUSE STANDARDS

  • All areas accessed by customers must be cleaned/serviced to the standard laid down in the manual prior to and during service.
  • Chalkboards (if used) must be amended prior to service on a daily basis.
  • All product displays should be clean, tidy and be appropriate to the consumer profile.
  • No extraneous items are to be left on display on the back fitting (invoices, mobile phones, salt and pepper pots etc.).
  • All equipment (AWPs, coffee machines etc) to be switched on and replenished.

8. PREPARATION FOR SERVICE

  • All toilet stock to be replenished and inspected on an hourly basis.
  • All pump heads, glasses, optics, cutlery and surfaces to be cleaned and polished.
  • All containers and casks readied for dispense.
  • All shelves stocked up and products rotated.
  • All condiments, serviettes, ice and fruits ready for service.

9. CLOSING PROCEDURES

  • Leave till drawers open to reveal no money contained within.
  • Hard peg cask beers on tap (turn off CO2) on keg beers).
  • Reconcile cash to till and record any ‘ups and downs’ on the appropriate form.
  • Secure all customer areas.
  • Lock all doors and set alarms.

10. ENERGY CHECKS

  • Ensure all time clocks/thermostats are set to reduce waste.
  • Use low wattage bulbs where appropriate.
  • Ensure kitchen and coffee equipment is turned on in sufficient time to prepare for orders but switched off when not in use.
  • Turn off all lights when leaving rooms.
  • Do not leave TV/videos on standby; turn them off.

11. EXTERIOR

  • Ensure it is clean, tidy and free from weeds and discarded tobacco products
  • Ensure safety to comply with duty of care. (Display appropriate disclaimer notices.)
  • Display all relevant exterior signage to promote sales of food and beverage.
  • See external areas are lit and in good working order.
  • Review the efficiency of directional signage (e.g.entrance, pro shop, driving range, bar and restaurant etc).

12. EPOS TILLS

  • Ensure each screen has a listing for ALL products sold to avoid cross ringing.
  • Ensure that price changes are recorded immediately (back office systems or at the till).
  • Give clear instructions to all staff as to all relevant functions of the till operation.
  • Management to access and utilise all relevant data available from the till to manage the business correctly.
  • Staff are to use only the fob or swipe card allocated to them. In addition they are to surrender this to management at the end of each shift. If staff loose their fob/card they will pay for its replacement.

13. RECORDING OF WASTE PRODUCT

  • All liquor and food waste is to be recorded (by manager only) on the properly constructed waste record sheet and on a daily basis.
  • Targets to be set regarding acceptable levels of waste (e.g. pipe cleaning, drip tray waste etc.) and these are to be monitored weekly.
  • Staff are to be informed of poor performance relating to stock losses.
  • Continuous stock losses due to staff inefficiency will be deducted from salary.
  • Incentives will be offered to all staff where waste reduction is improved.

14. TYPICAL HOUSE RULES

  • No mobile phones or other distractions are allowed to be used during service times.
  • Staff will not be allowed to carry any monies on their person during service. (I’m still sticking with this one!)
  • Staff will not be allowed to use the club’s stock for their own consumption but rather must use the separate stocks supplied for that purpose.
  • Standards of dress and appearance must be complied with as stated in the company policy.
  • Staff may be required to perform tasks of a nature as yet unspecified from time to time.

15. STAFF

  • Compile all staff rotas.
  • Conduct all induction programmes as laid down by the club.
  • Deal with all staff appointments and dismissals as required by the club.
  • Conduct annual appraisals.
  • Update Job Descriptions to reflect any changes in the job roles.

16. BUSINESS CONTROLS

  • To discuss, agree and implement all targets relating to gross margins, wage percentages,wasteage levels, yields etc.
  • To assist management in compiling the budgets for each year.
  • To submit costed proposals for any equipment replacements needed.
  • To negotiate, or assist in negotiating, all wholesale packages with suppliers on a continual basis.
  • To identify cost saving and efficiency practices designed to increase productivity.

And breathe!

Now that isn’t everything by any stretch of the imagination but it does give you a flavour of how better to control the business and guide your personnel.

Are some of the things mentioned symptomatic of taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut? Quite possibly, but all I will say is, how bad is the problem?

If you don’t have a control or operations manual (total or even partial) then how can you reasonably expect people to perform to measurable standards?

You need accountability for all concerned and by adopting an operations manual you will at least begin the process of becoming a control freak like me and look at how well I’ve turned out!

I’m ready for my tablets now nurse!

Article published in Clubhouse Europe issue 5