Organisations in the private and public sectors outsource food service and restaurant operations. These include business and industry, education, healthcare, event venues, heritage and leisure attractions and increasingly hotels.
But research shows that outsourcing food service and restaurant operations leaves many businesses wishing they hadn’t bothered, but why?
Could this be down to widespread service partner inability to perform? Or does the cause of the problem lay elsewhere?
The ink on the contract is dry. All the hard work has paid off with a great financial deal that also promises improved quality and happy customers.
Your work is done. Or is it?
Most businesses involved in outsourcing are vague about spelling out at the beginning what’s expected, performance expectations are explored but not always addressed, and often performance measurements are not put in place.
Could the root cause simply be a mismatch of expectations, both the service partner’s and the client’s?
The absence of such performance measurements in service contracts and the means to capture them in place has lead to far too many outsourcing relationships failing.
Research shows that ultimate success with outsourced food service and restaurant operations begins with initial contract discussions.
When outsourcing, remember that although the service provider takes responsibility for the process, it’s still your business and you need to manage the relationship actively. So think carefully about the following during your contract discussions:
1.Take your time in making decisions, and make sure you are clear about the terms on which you and the service provider are working.
2.Make the effort to establish a good relationship – this requires constant communication and flexibility.
3.Choose a member of your team to take responsibility for the relationship with your service provider.
4.Staff may have concerns about their own jobs, so keep them informed.
5.Check on employment legislation and your responsibilities for staff that may transfer.
6.If you can stay with your service provider for several years, you are likely to get the best results, but make sure you objectively check performance and don’t take things for granted!
7.You may need to renegotiate the contract before the end of the term. A flexible contract helps both parties; allowing the service provider to innovate and you to deal with changing circumstances.
8.Aim for a smooth transition. Even with good planning, it’s a steep learning curve for everyone, so seek independent advice and use the opportunity to put in place a solid service level agreement for the future,or better still use a “business value agreement”.
9.There should be financial benefits, but other reasons for outsourcing are harder to quantify. These could be a higher profile for your business, more credibility, improved quality or fewer problems and the key thing is measure results!
10.The relationship might prematurely end or may simply have run its course. Either way, make ensure your agreement contains a clear exit strategy.
Far too many people still work on the basis of out of sight, out of mind. But to make outsourcing a success, it can’t be emphasized enough, that it’s still your business, you don’t need to manage the process, but you do need to manage the relationship.
All good relationships need to be worked at – don’t they!