How lean transforms hospitality businesses

Lean has radically improved the performance of countless businesses.

Whether you need to transform your business to respond to a crisis, prepare it for sale or simply to enjoy significantly higher profits, a lean transformation can lever performance to a much higher level. Now more than ever, hospitality businesses have to be Lean.

Lean is a culture which values workers’ contributions to improving quality and productivity. At its heart, it is a learning system with a deep respect for all participants. The best ideas for improvement come from front-line staff who understand the obstacles to a customer-driven flow.

Just asking your staff for suggestions may help - a bit. But, to make meaningful, lasting improvements, you need to instil a culture change and you need a framework and tools. Lean provides this.

Lean is not a cost-cutting exercise - although a lean culture change leads to improved cost structures. Lean does not require you or your staff to work harder or longer hours. Hospitality already has a regrettable ‘hours culture’ which means it is way down the career choice list and kills productivity. This is a tragedy which Lean can address.

Anyone who admires the fluidity of a Starbucks barista’s tools and processes is witnessing Lean in action. Their management of the flow of customers and product in their outlets is graceful and effortless.

One of the most important fledgeling business bibles, “The Lean Startup”, has been influential for years. Hospitality companies like Starwood and Ceasars have adopted Lean successfully in their organisations.

In subsequent blog posts I will describe how we implemented a Lean turnaround of my hotel and restaurant and how it tripled sales and created remarkable profits from a money-losing business. I will also investigate Agile management which was a method I used in my startup and how that can combine with Lean within hospitality businesses. To see more details, series, go to

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