Lean comes from the world of manufacturing. Today I want to use the organization of a restaurant as an example to show that Lean is not restricted to running and improving factories. I use the restaurant example because it has many parallels to a household.
- First and foremost, a restaurant is like any other business: they want to deliver value to their guests. At home, you want the same for you and your family. In order to deliver value, a restaurant needs a clear profile – what to serve and in which environment/atmosphere. The same holds for you – value gives direction.
- Waste can be a big problem in restaurants. That begins with the food in stock, which is inventory. Later in the process, over-production of prepared food can occur, if the demand is over-estimated. Needless garnish is a good example for over-production waste as well. Waiters running around with empty hands create motion waste. All these types of waste can happen in a home (kitchen) as well.
- Empowerment of the whole team needs good leadership. Restaurants with weak leadership quickly have a lot of problems. Bringing empowerment to your family requires the right type of leadership as well.
- A continuous flow of value means quickly serving the ordered meals and drinks. Doing it quickly means to avoid waiting waste. The whole service and kitchen organization in good restaurants is a typical implementation of the pull principle. Every order can be seen as a kanban card. In a family it is not much different – but of course value at home is more than food and drinks.
- Continuous improvement is a must for restaurants. On the one hand, if that is missed the delivery value will deteriorate quickly. On the other hand, a restaurant that does not change for many years will falter as well. The world around a restaurant changes as much as the world around your own life.
- Finally, a good kitchen and guest room organization is a perfect example for 5S. Look into a professionally managed restaurant and you can learn many things about 5S for your home use.
Tell me, which restaurant did you visit lately? Was it Lean?