Your restaurant may be running as smooth as clockwork, but you feel that there are things that can be done better. Often, processes that were efficient initially may not run as well as they did. You might discover that your customers are not receiving their food as fast as they like; the wait time for a table could be made shorter. Your employees may also feel that the restaurant isn’t as organized as it could be.
Although these concerns may not have a direct detrimental effect on your business, it is important to optimize your processes to increase customer and employee satisfaction, reduce waste and increase your profits. A key tool used to identify processes that may require improvement and help your restaurant operate at peak efficiency is the SIPOC diagram, an important part of the Lean Six Sigma methodology.
What is the SIPOC Methodology?
Lean Six Sigma is a methodology that is used to get restaurants and other service organizations to eliminate unnecessary procedures within their business processes. While there are several tools used in the Six Sigma methodology which can help your restaurant to identify process defects, the SIPOC diagram is the most efficient means of identifying problems in order to increase staff productivity and improve the quality of service to customers.
The SIPOC diagram is utilized incrementally in the Six Sigma methodology of process improvement during the ‘define’ stage of the project. DMAIC is an acronym which denotes the five phases of a Six Sigma project, namely: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control.
Often, a SIPOC diagram is presented at the very start of the business process improvement process, and has three main goals:
- Helping the restaurant staff and management to define and conceptualize a new or improved process
- Giving a high level overview of a particular process to people who may not be familiar with it
- Bringing staff who are accustomed to outdated methods up to speed with new processes and methods
How Restaurants Populate a SIPOC Diagram
A high-level map of an improved process or activity at the outset of an improvement project is vital in order to get your team to understand the scope of activities. This definition will get you and your staff to agree on the boundaries within which you will work on the project, and is often drawn up in brainstorming sessions.
During such sessions, team members will often fill out a SIPOC diagram starting with the ‘process’ column. This column is deliberately kept simple, generally having only about five steps at most, with each step having an action and corresponding subject.
After your team reaches an agreement on the documentation of a project, you may then move on to define the customers and desired outcome of a process. Starting from the center of the diagram, the team will then work backwards to identify input and supplies.
Details of a Standard Restaurant Service SIPOC Diagram
When related to Lean Six Sigma’s ‘define’ step, the SIPOC diagram helps you to see the broader picture and make it simpler for you to define problems in a process. This tool can be used to find all the elements that are necessary to make improvements to your processes. A sample SIPOC diagram for a restaurant may look like this:
||Cook breakfast||Move food from kitchen to dining room||Receive payment for service and food||Restaurant guests|
|Process||Confirm orders||Prepare serving plates||Serve breakfast to customer||Confirm customer satisfaction||Treat the guest well|
Although Six Sigma has found a home in the manufacturing sphere, most of its principles can be adapted to apply to almost any other business field. It helps organization to focus on what is important, while identifying wasteful procedures. This allows them to continually improve until the waste is eliminated.
Through the use of a SIPOC diagram, a restaurant business can adapt to new scenarios without negatively impacting staff or quality of service offered to customers.