First, let’s set the foundation – by not having implemented standardized processes, not only are your overall results going to be inconsistent from operator to operator but you’re also not sharing and standardizing the best practices and therefore not getting as much out of the process as you can.
And now let’s set a simple scenario. Say a concessions grill can cook four burgers at one time. You rotate three operators at the grill, and for simplicity purposes let’s assume that all they cook is burgers. Each operator is paid $10 per hour and only one is in service at any time. The margin you make off of each burger is $2.
Here is a quick (and simplified) breakdown of the burger-cooking process:
Step A is cooking the burger patty on one side, Step B is cooking the burger patty on the opposite side, and Step C is putting the burger patty in a bun. Steps A and B each take 50 seconds, and Step C takes 40 seconds. In total, each burger takes 2 minute 20 seconds to produce, but with cooking four at a time you are looking at a yield of 4 burgers about every 2.5 minutes. (We’re also assuming four frozen patties are dropped on the grill at one time, the four patties cook and get flipped concurrently, and an operator buns/wraps each burger one at a time before passing the four burgers on.)
Here is the breakdown of how your three grill operators produce burgers and their corresponding production rates:
Operator 1 has no waste between his process steps and hits his production target time of 4 burgers every 140 seconds. Operator 2 has 8 seconds of waste between steps A and B – maybe he flips the patties one at a time instead of using a long flipper that turns the patties all in one motion. Operator 3 takes an extra 15 seconds between steps B and C – maybe he doesn’t normally have buns out of the bag and ready to take patties while waiting for step B to finish.
Here’s a graphical representation of that process:
Overall, Operator 1 produces 4 burgers every 2:20. Operator 2 produces 4 burgers every 2:28, and Operator 3 produces 4 burgers every 2:35. There’s a 15 second gap between Operator 1’s production and that of Operator 3.
15 seconds per cycle isn’t a big deal…but wait.
Over the course of an hour – maybe it’s early in a game and the demand is pretty steady, if the operator stays on the grill the whole time here is what they should be producing if their individual processes hold:
The difference in having Operator 1 on the grill versus Operator 3 flipping patties is 10 burgers per hour. At a $2 margin per burger, that’s $20 per hour NOT REALIZED by having Operator 3 apply his not-standardized process. With Operator 3 drawing a wage of $10 per hour, you’re paying him to generate $20 less per hour than what is deemed possible with the best practice shown by Operator 1.
By establishing and documenting the best practice for the process, you can bring Operators 2 and 3 up to the best possible production rate. You would further minimize how much money you’re wasting. All it takes is a little bit of communication, agreement on the best practice, and auditing to its adherence.