4 strategies to be a lean leader of your restaurant

July 22, 2019


Lean is a set of improvement strategies, a management system, and a philosophy to create a sustainable restaurant, focusing on quality, cost, improving safety, delivery, and employee morale. In this article, we will show 4 strategies to be a lean leader of your restaurant.


What is the core of the lean management system?

Lean management system depends on tow factors of equal importance:

  1. Continuous Improvement
  2. Respect for People

There has to be mutual respect between you, your staff, and your customers to establish an atmosphere of continuous improvement in your restaurant. You, as a lean leader, have to struggle to make continuous improvement part of every member’s jobs, empowering your employees to improve their work so that they can provide the highest quality services at the lowest cost, not to mention maintaining safety and satisfying customers.


To run a lean restaurant, you should also respect your customers. This will motivate you and your staff to focus your continuous improvement efforts on providing the customer with the best experience ever.


How would a lean leader act while managing a restaurant:


  1. Ask your staff to point out problems or probabilities for Improvement

In any restaurant, the front of the house staff are the employees that are closest to the work, and therefore the most likely to point out implementable probabilities for Improvement. According to Dean Schroeder and Alan Robinson in “The Idea-Driven Organization,” the front-line staff has 80% improvement potential than executive leadership does. You can harness the collective brainpower of your entire establishment by asking your staff to suggest ways that make their work better, safer, and more efficient.


  1. Take actions based on their ideas:

Asking for their suggestions is good but it is not enough. You should consider taking actions according to their suggestions. You have to encourage their effort by responding in a timely manner to show them that their contributions are valuable. This promotes further involvement in Lean practices.


  1. Try delegating improvement process to your employees:

You can not take responsibility for every improvement process. You shall act like a lean leader and start delegating the improvement work back to your employees. However, make sure that the improvements are applied by a team of employees who are qualified to move toward the success of the idea. They might need some help at some point, so try to guide them by acting like a collaborative leader, not a commander.


  1. Show them an appreciation for their improvement efforts:

Showing your staff appreciation for their efforts to improve your business and operations would support the Lean efforts, enhance more involvement, and establish a positive atmosphere of continuous improvement. This will have a great impact on employees morale.


Adopting lean management tools in managing your restaurant is not enough to bring the desired improvement. What really matters is that you need to change the way you lead your restaurant. You should emphasis on providing maximum value to the customer in the most possible efficient way and you shall consider giving your team members the responsibility of their tasks.