BK (SG): Quality first, Speed second
Last updated: 14 Jan 2021
This article is part of a series that begins here.
Disclaimer: This entire article is my personal opinion, and is in no way affiliated with Burger King. I am not part of the management at Burger King (SG).
If you have been rushing your staff to achieve Speed of Service, you’ve been dangerously compromising quality.
Have this slogan clearly published to all your staff:
Speed comes from familiarity, not from rushing. A concert pianist plays perfectly and quickly from skill and training, not from a frantic rush during peak hours!
When Management Skill is Missing
Rushing happens. If your manager is hired as a concert pianist, and this concert pianist is not trained as a trainer, your manager will certainly be rushing your student pianists instead of training them properly. Expert blind spot is an impediment to proper pedagogical process.
I can’t say whether Abraham (at Waterway Point, Punggol, Singapore) is ever training his staff wrongly due to expert blind spot; I do learn very fast and do welcome his rapid teaching sessions.
What I can say, however, is that just about everyone (besides Abraham) rushes the staff during peak periods. Quality plummets drastically during these times (more so than during non-peak hours). Serious overproduction results in very frequent and rather high amounts of wastage.
Given that Speed of Service comes from skill and familiarity, proper training should be the first order of the day.
While the Operations Manual is far from conveniently prescriptive, you as a restaurant owner can work with passionate staff like me to fill in the gaps in training material.
When a decently educated and competent new hire finds it hard to learn your restaurant processes within the first few days, you have issues with your training and/or operations process designs.
Re-Assess Training Regularly
Training regression can occur via time decay, but also often occurs from bad peer pressure.
You want to keep your hard-wearing, long-serving old-timer staff. But you also want to avoid letting the most badly behaving of that bunch overrule your management.
Re-assess their training regularly to ensure they’re not misleading your newer staff.
Separate out negative peer pressure
Most of your staff will be team players and team oriented. A few, especially those going through difficult health issues or social backgrounds, will behave badly both in terms of team communication and operational procedure compliance.
Severe impediments in a staff’s health or social background can cause the worst behavior despite his/her best intentions. Ensure you isolate such staff until you can re-assess and re-train them.
Just a few stubborn and loud and badly behaving anti-team individuals can cause mayhem. Re-train such staff, or isolate them if they cannot learn team skills.
Keep training quality, then speed will come
Don’t focus on speed first. Just keep training quality of service.
Humans get bored once they have mastered their tasks at work. So what do they do next? They seek higher challenge by doing those tasks more quickly.
Never reprimand for lack of speed
Only for lack of quality.
What happens when you reprimand staff for lack of speed? They do the only option available to them: take shortcuts, compromise quality, achieve your required Speed of Service.
That is exactly what happens at Waterway Point, Punggol, Singapore.
Manage actively, or risk anarchy
I’m a decently educated and competent new hire (software engineer by trade). I’m athletic and quick of mind. And what correct operational procedures I have, learned from what training material Burger King (SG) provides, have been completely overruled by a few badly behaving long-time staff.
Take out governance, remove policing infrastructure, and what do you have left? The loudest and most stubborn will dictate the rules. The brightest and most contributive will often not want to regress to forceful re-application of correct rules.