The Basics of Restaurant Management

What is Restaurant Management?

Restaurant management combines overseeing daily operations with building a strong bottom line for long-term growth. Restaurant managers can be responsible for balancing labor and food costs, tracking inventory, restaurant marketing, or even running troubleshooting the restaurant pos.

Because the restaurant industry is always changing, an exceptional restaurant manager will have the ability and know-how to multi-task on a daily basis. Many restaurants today have put an emphasis on not only the dining experience but on discovering what their employees need.

Hell's Backbone Grill and Farm in Boulder, Utah, and AC Restaurants throughout Raleigh, North Carolina both have a zero-tolerance policy for harassment. They've also set-up pay structures to provide livable wages.

Providing a safe and secure work environment for employees has a direct impact on customer service. This is why Biscuit Love out of Nashville takes their employee's health and wellness very seriously. In addition to covering 80 percent of their full-time staff's insurance, they've also brought therapists on staff to help employees manage personal challenges.

These restaurant owners know that meeting the needs of their team members keeps turnover low. It costs valuable time and money to train a replacement, especially during a busy season. Reducing employee turnover should be a top priority in restaurant management. Building a positive environment for staff members is equally as important to monitor the cash flow for a new restaurant to be successful.

Why is Restaurant Management Important?

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Restaurant management is so much more than just directing daily operations. While those details should never be overlooked, it's also important to remain aware of the bigger picture. It's the responsibility of a restaurant owner and their managing staff to know how to balance all aspects of the business. Overlooking even one key area could cause bigger problems down the road.

The manner in which a restaurant is managed can mean the difference between a successful venture or inevitably having to close the doors. The following are a few things to keep in mind for a successfully run restaurant.

Provide Quality Customer Experience
If a customer doesn't have a pleasant dining experience, rest assured they're going to let everyone know about it. However, the same is true if they have a positive experience that is memorable. They'll not only return to recreate that experience, but they could also bring their friends.

Quality customer experience begins with exceptional customer service. If there is a customer complaint, it's important to take the time to listen to their grievance. Staff and managers should own the mistake and take whatever steps are necessary to fix it. The goal is to keep the customer from leaving angry. How a situation is handled can often determine whether or not the customer returns.

Develop Clear Job Expectations
Restaurant staff should know their respective roles without any confusion. Understanding this information starts during training programs where job expectations and restaurant policies are clearly described. This should also include employee shift schedules so there is no confusion on where a staff member is expected to be for their assigned shift.

Having an employee handbook to refer back to can be helpful to keep information readily available. If employees have further questions, they should feel comfortable approaching management to get clarification. When employees know their roles, things can run much smoother.

Create an Inviting Establishment
Part of restaurant management that shouldn't be overlooked is making sure the ambiance is appealing. People are visual by nature. Before they ever sit down to eat, they are influenced by the appearance of a restaurant. Whether fine dining or casual, the ambiance should reflect the menu.

The menu items should remain up-to-date and without error. It should be inviting and well-maintained. All areas of the restaurant should be cleaned regularly with special attention on the bathrooms and kitchen. Considering what the customers and employees need is important to remember for proper restaurant management.

Best Practices for Restaurant Management

The restaurant industry is constantly in a state of change, making restaurant management that much more challenging. Having a deeper understanding of how a restaurant business works is vital to developing management systems. Achieving sustainable growth includes-

  • Knowing the market
Whether it's a full-service restaurant, grab n' go, or a relaxed dining experience they each have a certain criterion to meet. Ask questions to develop a clear picture of the business restaurant. What does the menu look like? Will there be online ordering available? Is the interior upscale or relaxed? What type of customer is it aimed at? Knowing the goals and intentions for the restaurant helps to distinguish them from competitors.

  • Track Inventory Needs
Routine inventory helps prevent mistakes when ordering from suppliers. A weekly inventory count, combined with sales forecasting, will help manage stock and prevent over-ordering, which is especially disadvantageous for perishable items.

  • Effectively Training and Managing Staff
Good restaurant management must include strategies for recruiting and retaining employees. It goes beyond just instructing the staff on using the POS system. A comprehensive training program, open communication, and tools like flexible scheduling software, all contribute to effective employee management.

  • Plan for Growth
Understanding the restaurant market, controlling inventory costs, knowing food and labor costs, will all contribute to creating a marketing budget. The way the restaurant industry fluctuates, it's important to keep an eye on growth efforts. Complacency can crush even a favored restaurant. Knowing the numbers upfront is a smart decision when contemplating expansion.

5 Restaurant Management Tips

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A new restaurant manager can often feel overwhelmed when starting out. There are many tasks that need to be handled to make sure both front and back house run smoothly. The best way to do that is to understand the basics of restaurant management. It's in the knowing that makes the doing easier.

If a restaurant manager knows their own strengths and weaknesses, they're better prepared to perform the duties for the restaurant business. Whether new or seasoned, restaurant managers need a variety of skills to be successful. These 5 restaurant management tips are a good place to start-

1. Be the Picture of Leadership
A restaurant owner often does double-duty as the manager. This means fielding the responsibilities of the business and the needs of the staff members. For a restaurant to be high-performing, a leader shouldn't be a dictator. They should showcase the skills and attributes they want their staff to uphold. The best managers aren't afraid to roll-up their sleeves and pitch in when things are busy.

2. Create a System for Multi-tasking
Part of the job for a restaurant manager is being able to effectively multi-task. Employees will have question, suppliers will have inquiries, and customers will need attention. On top of the social aspect, the operations will also need to be handled. That means creating schedules, monitoring cash flow, and expanding the business. One way to cut down on confusion is using a digital task management tool to stay organized.

3. Delegate Authority
Having the tasks organized and available to the entire team makes it easier to delegate. Less-critical jobs can be handed over to trusted team members to handle. This type of delegation frees up time to focus on the more detailed aspects of restaurant operations.

4. Celebrate Small Successes
A great way to boost the morale of the team is by celebrating small successes. It can be as simple as commending a staff member on doing a good job. Positive reinforcement is often what employees need to make them feel valued as team members. This has a direct effect on customer service which is the cornerstone to restaurant management success.

5. Keep Track of Expenses
Knowing the exact amount of cash coming in versus the amount going out is paramount to restaurant success. The various expenses such as food cost and labor cost should be monitored on a consistent basis. Understanding a restaurant's operating costs is a basic concept of restaurant management and will help avoid financial risk.

Examples of Effective Restaurant Management

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There are many moving parts when it comes to managing a restaurant. Concerns from employees or customers will always need to be consider. And food service has very specific expectations that can't be ignore. An effective restaurant manager will cover all these factors and anticipate any future complications. Some examples of highly-rated restaurant management include-

Implementing Food and Labor Cost Management
Food costs are one of the most important factors to track in restaurant management. Costs add up and can directly impact the rest of the business. Keeping profit margins healthy will determine profitability.

Create a Happy Work Culture
Happy employees are more productive and provide higher value customer service. If a team member feels valued, they are less likely to leave. This in turn reduces the cost of training new hires. Open communication, flexible scheduling, and clear job expectations are a great start. Take the time to learn a bit about each team member and call them by their first name. Always show appreciation for a job well done.

Focus on Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction should be kept in mind with every management decision. Managing the expectations of the customer is daunting but doable. Some of the unique challenges to tackle involve food preferences, dietary issues, and service delays to name a few. Having a plan in place ahead of time will mitigate the fall-out that being ill-prepared would bring. Learn what the customers inside your restaurant want and prioritize those needs.

A restaurant's reputation is its best advertisement and that comes from exceptional restaurant management. However, relying on word of mouth can only go so far. Advertising is a very important part of restaurant management, especially in a competitive market or when the restaurant is new. One of the most effective ways to do this is by having a solid restaurant marketing strategy. Gather data that fits the restaurant profile then utilize it to run advertisements on social media. Or send promotions to your customers email address.

Key Takeaways for Restaurant Management

Restaurant management requires a lot of work. Providing great food and an enjoyable customer experience is at the top of the list. However, all aspects of the organization will need to be taken care of to ensure the business runs smoothly.

For a manager to improve their business, they need an understanding of all management principles. These are the basics of restaurant management.

  • Managing a restaurant means being well organized with a business plan in place.
  • Focusing on restaurant staff retention will keep costs from inflating. Remember a happy team members in turn creates happy customers.
  • Prioritize guest satisfaction through developing the menu, the look and feel of the restaurant, and even special promotions should be geared towards the customer.
  • Dedicating time on restaurant marketing and optimizing business operations will go a long way towards evolving.
  • Reaching milestones should be acknowledged. Include the entire restaurant staff in celebrating small successes.