Here at KROST, we have conducted several Restaurant Site Assessment (RSA) to help give owners and operators an insight into their processes and procedures and we wanted to share some of the interesting issues that we have come across. Sometimes, they even surprise us.

At a full-service restaurant, after a 10-minute introduction, we asked the opening manager if he would open the safe for us. We told him we needed to verify the safe count, deposit procedures, and end of day procedures from the previous night. Without hesitation, he walked right over and opened the safe for us, and then left us in the room alone with the money (no call to the GM, Owner or anyone – we checked)!

The office door being left open or unlocked is a security issue we often find, but at one restaurant not only was the door open for over an hour basically unattended, but a full set of restaurant keys were left dead center on the desk. These were the keys to everything: Liquor room, Wine storage, Office, Front door, etc.

We don’t just come across physical security issues, we have found some interesting operational and financial opportunities.

During an invoice/vendor review, we discovered a wine manager who had ordered a case of expensive wine for herself, but somehow the restaurant ended up paying the invoice. When confronted by the owners, she suddenly ‘remembered’. This same manager also had three times as many comps on her shifts than any other manager.

We were reviewing the kitchen in another restaurant and were happy to discover that they were regularly using a nightly steak count sheet. Unfortunately, they were missing the column on that sheet that accounts for actual usage (from the POS product mix) so they didn’t actually know how many steaks they should have. Not coincidentally, they had been struggling with a high food Cost of Goods for months prior.

We did an RSA for a property owner/business partner and discovered that the restaurant had expanded in the building they occupied and was now using more than twice the space specified on the lease, but was not paying any additional revenue to the property owner.

Sometimes, we come across potentially serious issues that could jeopardize the future of their business.

We were asked by an ownership group (who was utilizing a management company to oversee one of their restaurants) to conduct an RSA. We discovered numerous questionable and inappropriate payroll practices, apparently including non-compliance with state and federal labor laws.

These are just a few examples of items that we have found, potentially saving our clients thousands of dollars in lost profits and even more in potential litigation.

Overwhelmingly, our clients are conscientious, hard-working and good operators who want to run the most ethical and successful restaurant business possible. But we have found that even the best business can benefit from an objective third-party assessment from a trained, experienced professional.

Mark Twain probably said it best; “It’s not what you don’t know that kills you, it’s what you know for sure that ain’t true.”