The Hawthorne Effect in the Kitchen

June 17, 2009

Dancing Chef

In 1955 a study on the impact of lighting levels on productivity found that workers became more productive, no matter what changes were made. The mere fact that the employees were being monitored was shown to impact behaviour.

I’m not suggesting we turn our kitchens discos by fluctuating the lighting levels. However, focusing on an issue can impact your team’s behaviour.

Our primary focus is often consumed by other such as logistics, staffing or just getting through the next sitting. Food cost is often forgotten on a day-to-day basis.

Regular stocktakes can demonstrate to your team that managing food cost is important. Better still, get your team involved, either directly in stock counts or by publishing the results on a period by period basis. By posting a graph of results in a prominent place in the kitchen (with or without a labeled axis depending on your level of comfort in disclosing your numbers) you are telling your team that food cost is important, you care if waste is out of control or staff meals are being abused.

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