Increase your restaurant productivity by applying 5S methodology

June 2, 2019


Every restaurant needs to reach or exceed customer expectations at the lowest possible cost. Accordingly, lean management tools have been a trend to achieve such a goal. One of these tools is the 5S methodology.

5S methodology is made up of five Japanese words; “seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, shitsuke” which are translated to English as “sort, set, shine, standardize, sustain”.

5S is a methodology applied to:

  1. Improve employee involvement.
  2. Reduce waste.
  3. Regulate workflow and organize the workplace.
  4. Reduce safety hazards.
  5. Increase productivity.
  6. Reduce wait time and prevent errors resulting in increased customer satisfaction.

In order to achieve these improvements, you need to apply 5S in each area of your restaurant: the kitchen, the dining room, the hostess station, the bathrooms, and the storage area.

Here, we will show you the value of implementing each of these principles and how to increase your restaurant productivity by applying 5S.

1. Sort “Seiri”:

Each and every area of your restaurant should only contain what is needed, and any other surplus items need to be moved to the storage area. Therefore, you need to sort out your workspace as follows:

Check all the areas and find the elements that are not used for being out of place, broken or dirty.

Move them to the right place. You might consider moving them to the storage, trashing them, selling them or fixing them.

In order to succeed in this step you need to identify:

  • What item is used.
  • When will you use any item in the storage?
  • Where the required items are.


2. Set “Seiton”:

The second step of 5S is to arrange and organize your items to make them easy to use and to set everything in its proper place so that you don’t waste your time looking for what you need.

This can be done as follows:

  1. Label everything using color codes and checklists, to put everything in its right place, taking into consideration to place the most repeatedly used items nearest their doors.
  2. Date your product and follow FIFO (first in first out) stock rotation.
  3. Decide which elements should be obvious to the customer and which should not.
  4. Take before and after photos to document your progress.

If you succeed to apply this step effectively, you would be able to arrange the workflow so that errors and missteps can be easily recognized and corrected.


3. Shine “Seiso”:

You must always keep your place clean. You should work with your staff to point out and eliminate the major cause of waste, dirt, and damage.

You should keep in mind the following tips:

  • Don’t wait for the workflow to slow down to start cleaning.
  • Clean all areas at all times.
  • Make a cleaning schedule.
  • Keep the kitchen clean even in the rush hours.


4. Standardize “Seiketsu”:

Setting standards allow you to set the basis for performance in order to reduce mistakes by:

  1. Stating the responsibilities of everyone in your restaurant.
  2. Making schedules and checklists that include WHO will do the task, WHAT is the task, HOW and WHEN will it be done.

Standardization should be conducted on both; typical operational process and administrative processes, as the next figure illustrates:

5. Sustain “Shitsuke”:

Sustainability is your key to keep the previous four steps up and running smoothly. Accordingly, you should review your practices to ensure they are running on an ongoing basis.

Apply these steps to sustain your progress:

  1. Train your staff with the 5S methodology.
  2. Assign a specific task and responsibility for every member of the staff.
  3. Make everyone part of the change.
  4. Regularly review every area.