Standard Operating Procedures

As a former elementary teacher, I’m a great believer in structured settings. When children come into a classroom, they need to know what the instructional expectations are with regards to classroom policies, assignments, the storage of personal possessions etc.

Owning and operating a business isn’t terribly dissimilar in concept. Employees need their job descriptions defined. They need to know whatyour expectations are. They also need to know what your basic operating procedures are.
I would strongly recommend the adoption of an SOP, a standard operating procedural manual that can (and should) be developed in-house.

Why have an SOP?

An SOP helps your employees learn your inn procedures so that everyone’s “on the same page” with regards to your policies. It also helps you as the innkeeper/owner define what your procedures are. By thinking things out and writing them down, you may find that some of your policies are ambiguous or impractical.

An SOP will also standardize expectations. It is unrealistic for you to simply say, “clean a room” to a new housekeeper. I have seen housekeepers clean vacated rooms in B&B’s in as little as 15 minutes while others have taken an hour and a half.

If you want your housekeepers to clean guest bedrooms “properly,” define your expectations. What is the sequence of cleaning? Do you want woodwork polished? Do you want mirrors polished? What toiletry items should the housekeeper restock in the bathroom? All of these things need to be defined.

If your facility serves hot breakfasts and is known for various signature dishes, include the recipes for these dishes in your SOP so that designated people on your staff can produce this breakfast. Not only should the procedures manual include these recipes but you should include plating directions, portion control (amount of food served), and even include such seemingly trival pieces of information as to how you warm breakfast plates.

Consistency is one of the hallmarks of quality. Repeat guests to your facility will expect each stay to be just as wonderful as the previous stay. You can help ensure consistency by having and using an SOP that defines all procedural operations for your facility from taking reservations, to greeting guests, cleaning rooms, and serving meals.

Here is an outline for my facility’s operating proecural manual. . This procedural manual was developed for our in-house use and continues to evolve as we update procedures and change our way of doing things.

I Mission Statement
II Description of the Facility
A) Description of the Bed and Breakfast Facility
III Hours of Operation
A) Inn
B) Breakfast
IV Taking Reservations
A) Taking Reservations for the Bed and Breakfast
B) Computer Reservations
C) Reservation Confirmations
V Greeting Guests
A) Procedure for greeting Bed and Breakfast guests
B) Guest orientation
C) Escorting guests to their rooms
VI Housekeeping Procedures:
A) Location of Housekeeping Supplies
B) Procedure for Cleaning the Dining Room and Parlor
C) Procedures for Identifying Which Guest Bedrooms Need Cleaning:
D) Procedures for Light Cleaning Guest Bedrooms:
E) Procedures for Deep Cleaning Guest Bedrooms:
F) Procedure for Cleaning the Public Bathroom
VII End of the Day Procedure for Housekeeping
VIII Planning for Accommodating Late Arrivals
IX Foodservice Cleaning Procedures:
A) Location of Foodservice Cleaning Supplies
B) Procedure for Cleaning the Kitchen Counters and Floors – specify use of materials
C) Schedule for Cleaning Kitchen Equipment
D) Procedure for Cleaning Kitchen Equipment
E) Procedure for Cleaning the Sinks and Drains
F) Procedure for Washing Pots, Pans, Dishes, Glasses, Coffee Cups, and Tableware
G) Procedure for Washing Fine China
H) Procedure for Storing China
I) Procedure for Washing Tablecloths, Napkins, Hand Towels, Bread Basket Towels, and Aprons
J) Procedure for Storing Linens
K) Procedure for Cleaning and Resetting the Dining Room Tables
L) Procedure for Cleaning the Dry Goods Storage Area
M) Procedure for Emptying the Trash
X Receiving Food:
A) Food Service Providers
B) How Food Service Providers are Controlled / Approved
C) Procedure for Receiving Food Service Products
XI Storage of Food Service Products
A) Where Food is Stored
B) How Food is Stored
C) How Food Storage is Monitored
XII Food Service Preparation
A) Personal Hygiene Program
B) Personnel Attire
C) Procedure for Thawing Frozen Products
D) Procedure for Chilling of Products
E) Where Food is Prepared
F) Foods Prepared with No Cook Step
G) Foods Prepared for Same Day Service
H) Complex Food Preparation
I) Holding Food
J) Procedure for Storing Food Not Served to Guests
XIII Procedure for Making Breakfasts for Bed and Breakfast Guests
A) Identifying what guests want for breakfasts.
B) Setting Up the Breakfast Buffet
C) Single cooking and complex cooking methodology
D) Recipes, Plating, and Portion Control
XIV Serving Food
A) Procedure for serving
B) Procedure for clearing and bussing tables
XV Providing Bed and Breakfast Guests with Snacks
A) Hot beverages
B) Cold Beverages
C) Baked cookies, dried fruit, and candy
XVI Verification Procedures
A) How the Food Service Director Monitors the Effectiveness of the SOP
B) How Changes in the Menu Affect the SOP
XVII Documentation
A) Documentation Maintained by the Inn
XVIII Procedure for Billing Guests
XIX Emergency Procedures
A) Fire:
B) Medical:
C) Police
D) Inclement Weather Procedures
E) Emergency contact information
XX Security Considerations
A) Guest Rooms
B) Securing the Facility at Day’s End
C) Denying service to guests
XXI Lost and Found
XXII: Important Contact Phone Numbers
XXIII: Employee Wages and Benefits

-David, Inn at Elizabethville