No matter what type of retail premises you own, you can benefit from a retail audit. If you work in the food service industry, you’ll know that there are lots of aspects of service to manage, from ensuring the food you serve is fresh and high-quality to making sure the customer has a great experience when they visit your store. How can you keep on top of all these things whilst also looking at your business objectively? Retail audits are the answer.
Many people fear retail audits and think they’re going to catch them out and point out everything that’s wrong with the business – in fact, they’re there to help you make your business more profitable and successful; they can be a great way to motivate your team and see where you are going wrong. A approximate date for a retail audit ensures everyone is on track and working towards a common goal – making your store the best it can be.
What’s it all about?
So what can you really expect when an auditor arrives at your place of work? You can ask them to take a broader look at your outlet – covering everything from the environment and the quality of food to the customer experience, or simply focus on one area; it’s your call. Let’s assume that an auditor is coming to your store from a field sales agency which specialises in audits and other services such as mystery shopping. If you’re working in the food services industry, you can expect your visit to look at the following:
Your auditor will be concerned with how service is operated – are staff on time, does food make it to the customers within a reasonable period of time and is service running smoothly; where could improvements be made? They’ll also look at the cleanliness of the surroundings, both in the kitchen and front of house, as well as the cleanliness of chairs and tables where customers are sitting. They’ll keep an eye on food hygiene practices such as hand washing and how food is stored and how tidy the environment is, both the front and the back of the premises. Messy, unhygienic environments often trip businesses up when it comes to a retail audit, so it is important to have procedures in place to keep your outlet tidy. Lastly, they’ll think about the ambience of the restaurant, cafe or bar. How appealing is it to customers? Is the décor dated and worn, are furnishings new or old?
No One wants to eat from a Kitchen that looks like this! barfblog.com
Quality of food
Quality of food is a key area that auditors will look at. They’ll be concerned with the flavour and texture of food – does it offer value for money to customers and are they getting what they paid for? But they’ll also be concerned about how food looks. How is it presented; does it come on clean plates, or are the plates chipped and dirty?
As a business owner, you know that the customer experience is key to building a loyal customer base. If a customer doesn’t have a good experience, you can wave goodbye to repeat business from them. So auditors will examine things like the customer experience as a whole – for example, how long did customers have to wait to be served and how long did their food take to arrive. Were staff polite to them? Were any extra requests they made fulfilled and did they experience value for money and a high standard of service?
The final category for auditors is expectations. Your auditor will arrive with certain expectations of their visit. They’ll have built these expectations either from prior experience of your business or from what they know in advance. It’s important that their expectations are met or exceeded in order to score highly in your audit. For example, if they have to wait a long time to be served and food is cold or presented in an unappealing manner, this could lead to a poor score.
There’s no reason to fear retail audits – at the end of the day, their purpose is to highlight what you’re doing well, and what could be improved. They’re there to help you implement new practices and procedures that can make your business more profitable and more efficient in future. Ensuring you work towards goals to improve your retail audit score can make employees more productive and enhance the customer experience. So next time you have an auditor coming, take a deep breath and look through the items on this list, then work to make every aspect of your business as appealing and pleasing to customers as possible an make your business more profitable and more efficient in future.