In the food service industry, consistency and standards mean everything. Restaurants that maintain them flourish, and those that don't go the way of the dinosaurs. Running a good restaurant means having the policies, operations, systems and equipment you need to produce a consistent product every time it's ordered.
The Essentials of Cleanliness
No matter how much money you invest in a restaurant, it can all end in disaster for want of some hot soapy water. Even the best equipment can't clean itself, so make sure that your high end grills, your expensive ovens and your range hood get a good scrubbing on a regular basis. Of course, not every cleaning task needs to be done daily, such as replacing frying oil or scrubbing overhead vents, so establish a schedule in order to simplify things for your employees.
It's not enough to just set standards and walk away of course, so make sure you clearly assign responsibility for the cleanliness of your food prep areas. If standards drop, duties are overlooked, or someone drops the ball, delegate disciplinary authority. This way everyone knows who they're accountable to, and the people responsible for maintaining the standards you put in place have the authority to enforce those practices.
Hands-On and Eyes-On
Regardless of how much you trust your employees, or how experienced they are, it's important that you maintain an active presence in your restaurant. Get direct feedback from the entire chain of responsibility, from the people who bus your tables to the managers and leaders of your team. If feedback isn't forthcoming, ask pointed and direct questions about how things are running, and listen earnestly to the responses.
As an owner, it's impossible for you to know everything that goes on in your business at any given time, so familiarizing yourself with your staff, and maintaining strong communication is essential. They'll know first if something isn't working, if a policy needs to change, or if equipment needs updated or replaced. It's easy to develop a feeling of superiority in an owner's role, but fight those urges and thoughts so that you can move forward with the help of dedicated employees who care as much about your success as their own.
Owning a restaurant isn't easy, as anyone who's spent any time at all in the food service industry will tell you. If you let your standards slip, or your equipment fall to neglect, your fate is as good as sealed.