Let the Data Drive Your Compliance Decisions

Twice in this blog, once during the initial COVID lock down and today, I’ve had to eat a little crow. No, not the new meat offering from Taco Bell. Ha Ha.

By eating crow, I have to admit that I was wrong and change course. Just because I’m sure you are all wondering what the first reason was, I told people back before COVID that they shouldn’t be so focused on delivery, take-out/curbside, and mobile ordering when they didn’t have their daily operations fully dialed in.  

I based this on my time at Quiznos when I saw first hand how adding a self delivery offering to struggling restaurants sped up their eventual demise because they provided worse service, to more guests, quicker. I was right that you should avoid this scenario but having those mobile offerings dialed in saved a lot of restaurants during the lockdown. I had to eat a little crow and admit that I was wrong.

I’m ready to eat some more crow today. 

For years I’ve personally preached to our clients and prospective clients that they should be getting 75% or better compliance on their daily checklists.  In addition to that, we should be locking down all of the checklists and holding everyone super accountable to documenting everything that is wrong in real time. In some cases we should be taking them through follow-up processes when they identify issues.

Though I think that what I’ve been preaching can be a way to go on critical safety and compliance checklists, it isn’t always the way to go nor is it right for all checklists and scenarios.  

What I’ve learned from doing this in the real world is this: Let the Data Drive Your Decisions.  

One of the things that the OpsAnalitica Platform provides our clients is a treasure trove of data, not just on the questions and answers on your checklists, but also how your teams are completing the checklists in the locations.

It’s this comprehensive data stream, that our competitions can’t offer, that allows our clients to really see what is happening in their operations, for many of them, for the first time.

It’s with this knowledge, I have to amend my thinking and become more data driven and flexible. 

Letting Data Drive Your Decisions is a philosophy that embraces using the data you are collecting to help you make decisions and to not prejudge or base decisions only on past experience or theory. 

A lot of my initial thinking was based on my personal experiences and if I’m honest, a big tasty bit of crow meat here, a pre-judgement that most location managers were lazy and not doing a great job.

The reality is the OpsAnalitica Platform does an amazing job at identifying the good and bad behaviors in an organization very quickly. Instead of being so compliance focused and creating systems and processes that assume the worst behaviors. 

We should instead create processes that assume the best, configure the system so that it is easy to use and require the least effort to start with. Then let the data we are collecting on our team’s actual behavior drive us to make changes if needed when needed. 

The reality is, operations processes are never done evolving.  They are always being updated and growing as our business needs evolve and grow. To think that you are going to sit down and create some checklists and operating procedures today and then never touch them again is silly. 

One of the major reasons you move to a checklist platform like OpsAnalitica is because you recognize that there is no one size fits all solution for anything in your business. You need to be able to grow and morph to meet today’s needs.  

To be clear, I’m advocating that we open up the checklists at the beginning of our implementations. Lower compliance requirements across the board and let all the employees use the checklists in that manner for a while.  

Then after some period of time, using our reporting, see my blog on Data Accuracy Scoring.   We can review the checklist and the employee data and determine if we need to make changes to how we have implemented the platform.  These changes can be customized to the location and employee level, see my blog on Adaptive Checklists.

Then if we do decide to ramp up our compliance requirements: using schedules, requiring follow-ups, taking more photos in our checklists.  Then we can show our teams the why behind those changes, using their performance data to justify our decisions. 

Crow is never delicious. I think it is important to eat it with a smile when you wake up and realize that you have been wrong. I hope that you, the readers of this blog, see that I’m trying to be a real thought leader in this space and that I am willing to question my beliefs and admit when I’ve been wrong. 

The whole reason you want to collect data is to make better decisions, so please join me in letting the data influence all of our decisions and let go of your theories based on past experience. 

To schedule a demo of the OpsAnalitica Platform.

Tommy Yionoulis

I've been in the restaurant industry for most of my adult life. I have a BSBA from University of Denver Hotel Restaurant school and an MBA from the same. When I wasn't working in restaurants I was either doing stand-up comedy, for 10 years, or large enterprise software consulting. I'm currently the Managing Director of OpsAnalitica and our Inspector platform was originally conceived when I worked for one of the largest sandwich franchisors in the country. You can reach out to me through LinkedIn.

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