Sunday, 20 October 2013

How to Select a Restaurant Consultant in India? !!!

Restaurant consultants produce good results if restaurant consultants are competent in serving the client and clients in using them.

The points follow a Plan Do Check Act cycle and are listed below.

1. Whats the Problem?
A running frestaurant has problems and its important that you recognise the problem and recognise that you need the help of a restaurant consultant.Define the problem explicitly, or at least as how you see it. But recognise that what you see as a problem in restaurant may be just the symptoms and the real root cause mujst be addressed.
Where there is a problem there is an opportunity and my advice is that you should'nt be blind to it. Calling a consultant to fix a problem so that you move to status quo may be less desirable as a good restaurant consultant may see an opportunity and move you to a whole new level of competence by opening new market, new technology, new methods of working.
Recognising that you need special talent to resolve the problem of restaurant development or operation reveiw is first part of the problem. There is a need for people who can see the historical background or operational references to see relationships.
2. Define your purpose.
If there is a problem, then there is a root cause but there is also a greater purpose. Greater purpose thinks of larger questions what is the purpose of solving the problem? Where does the restaurant want to go? the efforts required and learning objectives. Restaurant consultancy must result in a transfer of knowledge and so a client must be cler what he wanst to learn.
3. The right restaurant consultant.
Too often a lot of restaurant consultants know a lot about too little!! In this restaurant business one needs to know a little about a lot. I am not advocating superficaility of knowledge but a capacity to integrate various disciplines into one core objective of a successful restaurant. Think about that!
Choice between a restaurant consulting firm and an individual .. both can deliver. The key point is that you must able to trust and enjoy working together. Try and build a selection criteria, keeping in view the problem, purpose your learning needs. It will help you to evaluate the restaurant consultant and dare I say yourself!
There may be and perhaps will be a need for more than one consultant in restaurant development or review of restaurant operation but they must have an integrated view.
The right consultant must have
1. an understanding of the business
2. be a team player
3. Someone you like
4. Is committed.
5. is resourceful
6. shares your passion
7.loves the restaurant business
4 Work Jointly
Evaluate the proposal given by your consultant. Negotiators will tell you that everything is negotiable!! This is specially true when the restaurant consultant or other specialist give you packages. determine the true value given to you.
Plan and evaluate the assigment together. You must be able to determine areas of improvement. Your role and the role played by the restaurant consultant. The phases of the assignment and the responsibilities. The time table , deadlines to be met.
The financial aspect must be discussed ambigiously. the restaurtant consultant fees can be percentage of total purchases , per square foot or per seat or flat fees or perecentage of sales. Perecentage fees are quite poular but I feel that there may be a conflict of interest in food service consultant choice of recommendations. A smart restaurant consultant shlould help you save money.
A written contract!!! its a communication tool. It need not be a legal document going to number of pages but in writing there is an opportunity to rationalises expectations. An opprtunityto line all the dots.
Partnerships formed among people with different talents complement and add to the overall effectiveness.
6 Your Cooperations
A modern restaurant consultant uses a process approach. He recognises that restaurant consultancy is co-creation and implies an active particpation by client with a new restaurant startup or a seasoned restaurant owner.
This requires efforts!!
Work proactively to improve the design of assignment. Cooperation does not mean delaying decision or second guessing your restaurant consultant. You need to make right people available to him. In an existing restaurant provide all information and the right people.
7. Restaurant Consultant and Implemenation
Wether its a restaurant consultant for new restaurant operations or restaurant consultant for a restaurant operation diagnosis, itis imperative that the consultant is involed in the implemenation of the solution. Too often implementation is left to the client who may or may not be able to make it work. Degree of involvement may wary. He may work lie a project manager and be the director or be aguide to the employee implementing or may be called in to evaluate the implementation and take corrective action. The idea of implementation needs both the consultant and the client to be ionvolved.
The need for implementation by the consultant is because their stakes are not as high as yours.
8. Monitoring or verifcation
This is a concept form the quality movement and implies whether the "what has been agreed been implemented." Some of the dimension you need to verify are related to quality of consultant , quality of your own performance, quality of the organisation involvement, quality of financial delivery.
Quality of consultant: Check whether he understands the organsiation, is obeserving the time table, is he sharing information, acting with itegrity and exeperiencing lack of conflict.
Your own performance refers to you respecting committments, keeping pace with restaurant consultant and is your team being an asset to this consulatncy. The spirit in which the work is being done cannot be ignored.
Financial aspects: the billing must be crystal, on time and on agreed terms. Period!
9. Validation or evaluation
This imeples the overall efectiveness of the consultancy. Verification and vaidation have a difference. Verifcation refers to "what has been planned, been done" and validation refers to "has the plan being implemeneted fulfills the supreme objective of fulfilling customer requirements". To illustare this further, a restaurant consultant agrees to make a dish, the verifcation refers to whether the dish has been prepared according to recepie or desired tast, has the training being done. Validation look at whether the created dish is liked by the guests and fullfills the ethos of the restaurant.
Verifcation and vaidation are simple but powreful concept and can be applied to any process, activity.
The vaidation must also look at the opportunities missed, your learnings, your approach.
10. Over depedence
A restaurant consultant must result in the transfer of knowledge , develop your capabilities. if you are calling the consultant for review of the same problem again two things have happened 1 you have not learnt 2. the problem may not have been solved effectively in the first place. However, a consultant can be a sounding board or an advisor your trusted advisor. The essential idea is that the buck stops with you.

Please do give your feedback.

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