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What is innovation and how to apply systematically the restaurant industry


Our perception of innovation has evolved in the last decades going through a scientific idea based on research and development (I+D) only available to very few, until a more attractive and accessible concept where you have to be especially "creative look”, mainly in our marketing strategies, applying technology in some areas of our business in a timely manner.

Fortunately, many restaurants and hospitality companies have understood that this is not enough and that it is necessary understand innovation as a way of managing and directing our businesses a systematic and integrated manner, within all business processes.

There is also a need for continued development of Data collection and analysis, identification of areas for improvement, design and development and implementation of solutions that meet the changing needs of our customers and our environment. The optimal solution is one that can be improved easily and implemented modularly or gradual.

There is no doubt that technology is a key part when implementing innovative measures within our organizations, but this should not be the starting point and the ultimate goal when creating our brand image.

We understand technology as the means facilitate the implementation of various innovative projects continuous improvement that we have identified and try to implement it in our restaurant or business.

Identify the agents of change in your company

The first step in creating a sustainable innovative culture in time is to identify change agents within our organizations. People able to change the ordinary way of doing things and equip them with the tools, among other, Technology Resources, and the necessary training.

The profile of the agents of change is far from widespread image of the "tech", "Freek" or "creative" that appears first in our mind. Change agents must have some managerial skills multidisplinares like a extensive operational experience, capacity for analysis and data collection, creativity, management capacity and project management teams. Skills needed to manage change positively counting on the acceptance and participation of all stakeholders.

Depending on the size and resources of our company, we can have a physical department with a responsible dedicated entirely to this work. Alternatively, the department can be distributed virtual projects between each of those responsible for the company. These innovation projects need not be linked to the comfort zone of each of those responsible. An example of this would instruct the person purchasing to analyze and implement an improvement project within the kitchen area and vice versa.

It generates an internal marketing project that fell in your team

The main reason for the failure in implementing improvement projects is the Collaboration of human resources involved. They see that these initiatives represent an extra workload and / or a threat which can also make clear their professional work.

That is why the virtual or physical department should have an attractive image and fun, which attracts talent, encourage interdepartmental collaboration and integrate all levels of the company. A great example of this is GoogleLabs.

If we want implement in our restaurant, we design a internal communication plan that reaches across the organization periodically. These communications can be in different formats and contain attractive information, combining it with the latest innovative trends in the sector and together with an update of all improvement projects underway within the company, quantifying the benefits and recognizing individual and collective efforts of each team.

Define your innovation management model based on the needs of your business improving

Before Taking the Plunge necessary specify the most appropriate level of innovation for our organization taking into account the maturity and resources available. We try to design a comprehensive model innovation, which allows us to develop improvement projects at all levels of the organization and in different areas of business.

  • Improving and / or digitizing operative and administrative processes
  • Improvement and / or creation of new products and services
  • Improvement and / or creation of new business models
  • Optimization of human resources and productivity
  • Marketing and branding
  • R & D for the most advanced class

Within each, We define the depth at which we want to, differentiating innovation projects with a more disruptive nature, as so-called blue oceans, of other incremental innovation projects that add value to the good practices that we are already applying.

Blue Ocean Strategy (oceans Azules) defies everything you thought you knew about strategic success and provides a innovative and systematic approach on how to make the competition irrelevant and create new market niches in the hospitality sector, Blue oceans. BOS is one of the main training blocks intensive program of weeklong Hospitality Innovation Program (HIP) which will be held in Marbella next March.

Determine your “Plan Director”

A successful innovation strategy is based on a full understanding of our competitive environment and it must also be aligned with the global strategy of the company. The agents of change will be integrated in all strategic meetings of the company and in direct contact with customers, understanding what the needs and priorities of the company in the current year.

A good project portfolio "Master Plan" should contain Incremental value-added projects with implementation and impact on the bottom line in the short term, along with other more disruptive modular execution and an impact on the income statement for the medium to long term.

To ensure proper implementation of the projects we have a model of innovation management integrated at all levels of the organization, which includes the necessary infrastructure for its development (clear objectives, allocated budget, human Resources, recognition, roles and responsibilities, analysis and development tools).

Design your appropriate methodology profile of your restaurant

As he commented, it is important to involve all staff processes improvement. Involving them in creating solutions through meetings where everyone can participate.

We design our own "toolbox" with resources management and strategic direction own projects of large enterprises, along with more modern, agile and participatory as are the Design Thinking, Lean Start Up, GameStorming, Blue Ocean Strategy.

We must use the tools that we feel more comfortable always within a mind map or route set differentiated work in different phases such as for example: 1-Analysis, 2-Design, 3-Development, 4-Implementation, 5-Control and back again if necessary readjust solutions.

Following this route work tools can incorporate own production chain analysis such as SigSixma, LeanManufacturing in phases Analysis and Control with more attractive as the DesingThinking, Blue Ocean Strategy, Gamestorming in phases Design, to complete other project management resources (SMEs) Lean and StartUp in phase Development and Implementation.

Training, education and training

In all sectors ongoing training is essential to be competitive. Our teams must be trained not only in own technical areas of expertise, but should also monitor broader as creativity, innovation, problem solving and new technologies. So they can develop their personal skills and intellectual.

Hospitality Innovation Program (HIP) defies everything you thought you knew about strategic success and provides an innovative and systematic approach on how to make the competition irrelevant and create new market niches in the hospitality sector.

About the Author

Socio Director de Ronda Mountain Think Tank y Director del Programa Hospitality Innovation Program. My passions are innovation, and development of projects in the field of gastronomy and tourism. Innovative and entrepreneurial by nature with a great business sense and analytical, in pursuit of continuous improvement.


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