Using Toyota’s 8 Waste Control Methods in Your Restaurant or Cafe

Toyota built its world-class success by watching and controlling every step of the manufacturing process, especially waste. It’s very useful to apply the discipline of manufacturing to hospitality – we make things too!

Use Toyota’s classification of 8 different types of waste, and discover new ways to cut costs and improve your bottom line.

  1. Over-Production: creating more of a product than is needed. The enthusiastic bar staff over-prepare fruit garnishes for the evening. Salad trays are filled beyond what’s needed and too much meat is carved. Forecasting accurate sales of different products reduces this – over-production is usually the default.
  2. Excessive Wait Time. When staff must wait to do their job, because of bottlenecks, shortages of equipment or lack of support. Insufficient glassware means drinks can’t be served while glasses are being washed. A deep-fryer that’s under-powered takes too long to cook chips, slowing up meals. Insufficient mise-en-place means delays for chefs.
  3. Transportation Waste – unnecessary movement of products and equipment. Carrying one box at a time from the store, instead of using a trolley to bring them all together. When the bar is not setup for efficient service, with high-demand bottles a long way from where they’re needed. What works: a barista who has everything at hand and can push product through quickly and efficiently – it’s so good to watch!
  4. Processing Waste – repeated action that adds no value to a product or service. Intentional over-processing might be a barman creating a complex cocktail, with far more garnish than the customer wants. Non-intentional over-processing is when an apprentice finely chops vegetables that will only be used for stock – no-one told him it’s not needed.
  5. Inventory Waste – over-ordering that results in spoilage or theft. Just because the salesman offers you a bonus box of wine if you order 10, doesn’t mean it’s a good deal. Where will you store it? High-value items in abundance lose their value in the eyes of staff and may start to disappear or be used carelessly – ‘no-one will notice’.
  6. Motion Waste – unnecessary movement that does not add value, eg when untrained staff take much longer to do a task than needed. Are there too many steps needed to do the roster or payroll? Can essential forms be found quickly on the computer? Do you need unnecessary approvals for standard ordering decisions?
  7. Defect Waste – when a product or service must be redone to meet a standard. It could be human or equipment error. Not following a recipe means the mousses don’t set – out they go! Failing to keep the oven in good condition means baked goods burn easily. Job interviewers don’t ask the right questions, so unqualified people are appointed, and later on must be let go.
  8. Unused Employee Talent and Creativity – the waste that’s far too common, from a failure to listen. Toyota is famous for its rigorous involvement of staff in improving processes and reducing errors – why don’t we do it too? Some managers don’t want to listen, or think they know everything. Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. If an employee notices an inefficient or unnecessary process, will she be listened to when she mentions it to the manager?

Combine these 8 types of Waste and the cost reduction will be considerable. Some are more common than others, and some have never been considered as a real problem.

Many managers attempt to fix problems or reduce costs by just watching everything, when the problem is often with the lack of standards, systems and consultation.