Influential Foodservice Newsletter Supports Steady Work Author’s Idea to Redesign #Restaurant Processes During Pandemic Shutdowns

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The Ashton Report cited the recommendation by author Karen Gaudet that #QSR restaurants use lockdown time to develop better business processes, according to the Lean Enterprise Institute, the book's publisher.

steady work picture

Steady Work reveals how to implement a continuous improvement operating system in quick-service restaurants.

If managers can get inside their locked down restaurants before they completely reopen to the public, they could start to model out and test some new ways of doing work.

In a recent commentary titled “It’s A Great Time To Reimagine Ways To Be More Efficient”, the influential Ashton Report applauded the recommendation by Steady Work author Karen Gaudet that quick-service restaurants use idle lockdown time to improve critical processes.

“We’ve been suggesting that we can all use the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic to retool our business processes,” publisher Robin Ashton told readers. “So, I was very pleased when I got an email … about a new book that can help you do just that.”

Continuous Improvement for Restaurants
A former Starbucks regional manager, Gaudet recommended that before reopening, quick-serve restaurants should use empty facilities as “labs” to experiment with more efficient ways of working. Her recent book Steady Work, published by the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute, details how a continuous improvement strategy and tactics improve store productivity, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction.

If managers can get inside their locked down restaurants “before they completely reopen to the public, they could start to model out and test some new ways of doing work,” Gaudet suggested. She noted that the restaurant business has had standards -- such as regulations for food safety -- for a very long time. But It hasn’t had a standard process for thinking about how work gets done.

Ashton was co-founder and publisher of Foodservice Equipment Reports (FER) before launching The Ashton Report and The Ashton Report Insider in 2018. As an editor, he won numerous awards, including American Business Press (now Connectiv) Jesse H. Neal Certificates of Merit and Finalist honors, and two national awards for in-depth features from the American Society of Business Press Editors. While publisher and research editor of FER, he, his editors, and art director won 65 editorial and design awards.

About the Author
Karen Gaudet is a team leader at the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), where she oversees operations and personnel. As a regional director at Starbucks, she added 20 new stores annually for five years, hitting profit goals while increasing the continuous improvement capabilities of staff. Previously, she held management and executive posts in operations, marketing, and training at large restaurant chains, a retail consulting company, and a technology startup preparing for an initial public offering.

About the Lean Enterprise Institute
Lean Enterprise Institute Inc. (LEI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Boston, MA, with a mission to make things better through lean thinking and practice by helping companies create more value and prosperity while consuming the fewest possible resources. Founded in 1997 by management expert James Womack, PhD, LEI conducts research through co-learning partnerships with companies, teaches on-site and public workshops, publishes books and ebooks, organizes conferences, and shares practical information about lean thinking and practice at lean.org.

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Chet Marchwinski
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