Restaurant Standard Operating Procedures Improve Business

restaurant sop

Almost every business in the world has a guide of standard operating procedures, even the restaurant business. If you run any type of food establishment, then you and your employees run through hundreds, if not thousands, of standard operating procedures (SOPs) every day.

There are SOPs all over a restaurant, from how to heat an oven, to how to wash your hands correctly, or even how to set up your sinks to be able to clean and sanitize dishes correctly.

What Makes a Good Standard Operating Procedure

It does not matter what industry you are in, a good SOP is a good SOP. There are several factors that go into having good and effective ones for your business. To start, any standard Operating Procedure should be clearly worded and easy to read, your employees should not be questioning the wording in the document. It is important to be clear in this sort of technical documentation.

Another factor to consider is whether you have steps that are short and right to the point, and they should also be clearly labeled. This will cut down on confusion which will result in less mistakes being made when putting the procedures to practice in the real world. 

flowchart sop

How to Make a Good Standard Operating Procedures Document

There are many steps that are needed to make a good and concise SOP. It is very important to know them as it can make or break it being an effective one for your business:

  • Start with the end: You should start making your SOP with the end in mind. When in the restaurant industry, one end goal in mind is writing an SOP for how to close the store so that the openers of your store do not have to do more work than what is required. 
  • Format Matters: There are 3 types of SOPs: 
    • Simple Step: You use this format for when the procedures you want done are short and easy. It is best used for numbered or bulleted lists.
    • Hierarchical Steps: You use this format when the procedure has some steps to it and needs more explanation under a step such as a sub-bullet to the main instructions. One example is the entire cleaning procedure for soda nozzles at the end of the night. You do not just remove them. 
    • Flowchart: This format is used when there are multiple outcomes to the steps you are trying to achieve. 
  • Ask for Input: When making any SOP, you always want another set of eyes on it. You could even ask for input from the employees themselves. You want to make sure that what you are writing makes sense to them. 
  • What is your audience: For SOPs, knowing your audience is important. Some questions you can ask yourself are as simple as ‘Do they have prior knowledge or experience?’ If they do that’s good, but you may also need to dumb down your instructions if they do not. Another question is ‘Are they new?’ This might be the most important question due to when bringing on new employees the SOPs are how they are going to learn how your restaurant operates. Also what is the size of the audience you will be writing for? Will there be multiple people doing the same SOPs? Do you want to assign certain tasks within the SOP to certain people doing them?
  • Write it: The next step is just to write the SOP and include the following in it:
    • Title Page
    • Table of contents
    • Specific procedures
  • Review, Test, Edit: The last big step to a Standard Operating Procedure document is to review, test it in the environment it is meant for, and then edit it if it needs more work in practical use. 

restaurant sop cooking

How SOPs Influence Restaurant Business

Standard operating procedures are key to any restaurant business, you and your employees will do countless procedures within them from making your sauce the same way every time to keeping your hands clean to handle food. 

It is crucial to having repeat business which is what drives your business’s success. The Harvard Business School has reported that a one-sat increase on a review site such as Yelp can help your revenue by up to nine percent. With the digital age now in full swing, the importance of online reviews is at the forefront of a successful restaurant. 

Making sure you align with state and local health laws is important and having an effective SOP can help with that. You can create a checklist for things such as meal prep sanitation, customer service, and maintenance of your restaurant. 

Having a good SOP can help with onboarding new employees. It can help streamline the process from training them on every detail of a Point of Sale system to how to make every cocktail. It will also help improve employee communication with management. With the ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines, having an open line of communication is essential.

Last but not least is making sure cleanliness and personal hygiene are prioritized. Nobody wants to go to a restaurant that is dirty, with employees who are not clean. Making sure sanitation is standardized is important so that foodborne illness is minimal. Front of house staff should also know to always wipe down counters, clean utensils, and, most importantly, all staff should know the right procedure to wash their hands. 

When it comes to being in the restaurant business, having a good Standard Operating Procedure document for your restaurant is a must-have. It helps with repeat business, which helps ensure customers are getting the same experience each time they come. It helps with the cleanliness of your establishment and also getting new employees up to speed fast and able to effectively run your business. A tech writer could help you prepare this document.

Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or


By Dylan Friebel


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