I have been looking at cookbooks and reviewing what a fine dining experience is as well as get a better understanding of the inner workings of fine dining. What I have found is that most, if not all, chefs, cooks and wait staff are looking for a better way to organize their kitchens and work space. How can I do this better is the mantra. And this is in the view of consistency. These are the high-end restaurants and are focused as such. Quality, consistency and an experience that is hard to beat. On the other side is the fast food chains. Once again, they are looking at standardization and with a much tougher workforce. Unskilled and marginal interest but the food is the same from coast to coast. What is lean about these organizations? The drive for consistency? Yes and to be able to do this night after night whether it is high-end or not is a challenge. What about Value from the customer’s perspective? They have that. The customers may be different and valuing different things, they are catering to their audience and doing it better than the other guys. Flow / Pull – This may be tough depending on what part of the process you focus on but let’s simplify it this way, very few customers get cold food, unless it is supposed to be. So where does continuous improvement fit? The fast food chain may be great at the sites but what about corporate or regional HR and admin functions? For the high end establishment, one may be able to look at flow and pull and find opportunities as well as looking at the setting and wait staff. And then there is everyone else. Whether it is developing better feedback capture techniques from customers, variance reduction of recipes/standard work or a myriad of other options, continuous improvement will drive results that can be seen and heard by the customers as well as the partners at the restaurants.

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