Restaurant management can be a job that is full of stress and hard choices. The job can be rewarding and a lot of fun. Follow our top tips to avoid the painful pitfalls and make it the career of your dreams.
Restaurant management is stressful—we won't sugarcoat it for you. There are a lot of responsibilities on your plate, and most days it may feel like you just don't have enough hours to handle them all. However, with the right staff and tools in your arsenal, you can quickly become the restaurant manager that everyone wants to work with. To do that, you have to first hire the best staff, train them to do great work, and then support them in any way possible.
When you train your staff well, it's less stress for them, and less time you'll have to spend re-training and reminding them. Great training builds employee confidence, and when they feel confident, they'll be able to tackle more tasks on your behalf, freeing up more of your time. But how do you make your staff love working for you?
a. Listen when they talk—their feedback can be invaluable, and it makes them feel important
b. Ask for their input on scheduling, task assignments, events ideas, etc.
c. Train them well, to begin with, and offer ongoing training for those who wish to advance
d. Reward great workers and those with helpful ideas
e. Address employee concerns immediately
One of the first things people notice about restaurants is how busy they are. It can seem like chaos back in the kitchen, even if the front of the restaurant is calm and serene. Whether that is actual disorder or organized activity will be entirely up to you.
Implementing clear, concise checklists for your staff will take the chaos out of the equation and help your employees feel empowered. Paper checklists are messy, and the cost of storing or shredding all that paper is a waste of resources. That's where productivity software comes in handy. When you're able to create, update, and archive checklists for each of your staff members, you'll save time and money as well as frustration. For more detailed information on task management software, check out Zip Checklist.
As you may have guessed, this section relates strongly to the previous one. When your employees know what their duties are, and they have an easy way to keep track of them, their happiness will increase, and productivity will soar.
Poorly managed inventory can cost a small business thousands a year, and millions for bigger restaurants. Whether miscounted, lost, damaged, spoiled, or stolen, unusable inventory is a costly mistake. Another problem you can face is over ordering. While you can use an abundance of something in an exclusive promotion, you'll still likely lose money on this deal. Isn't it a better idea to track your inventory the right way from the start? We think so.
You can assign staff to wander around the store room with clipboards and pens, wasting time and money and likely making mistakes, or you can welcome the future and use inventory software to do all the hard work for you. Leaving your inventory management in easy-to-update software means less time is scrambling to find products you didn't know you ran out of, and more time pleasing your patrons. To learn more about inventory management software, check out Zip Inventory.
This topic goes along with the previous one, as inventory is often the biggest drain on a restaurant's resources. Once you have effective inventory management in place, that drain becomes less of a burden, allowing restaurant management to focus on other financial responsibilities. Staff salaries, vacation and sick leave pay, holiday pay—keeping records of all these expenses is not only good business but is required for tax purposes. Be sure you understand the fine details of bookkeeping and accounting, or be ready to hire a specialist that can do this for you. Finances are one aspect of restaurant management you don't want to mess up, so don't be afraid to defer to the wisdom of a financial specialist to keep your finances on track.
You've heard them on television, on the radio, or seen them in commercials before watching a movie at the theater—restaurant advertising, when done well, can stick in your brain. While you may not have the financial means to get a commercial on the air or come up with a catching jingle, there's still plenty you can due to market your restaurant on a budget. As restaurant management, marketing often falls on your shoulders.
Whether you're an old pro at marketing strategies or just trying your hand for the first time, you'll want to keep track of your campaigns and how they worked out. An excellent way to do this is to keep records of each promotion and then watch the daily sales reports during that time. Record your observations and then try your next idea. Compare the two and see which one performed better. By keeping great records and printing your audits, you'll be able to quickly and easily identify which marketing strategies work for your restaurant and which ones flop.
We have covered a lot here, and by now you may have noticed a common thread. While there are old, tried and true methods for everything listed here, there is also a better, more efficient, and less expensive way. Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past decade alone, and now we have software and easy apps to help with every aspect of restaurant management. It's not only more efficient to use technology in this field; it's cheaper, easier to track, and has less impact on the environment. If you're ready to learn a little more about other ways technology can help you manage your restaurant, we have a lot of great articles on the site. Feel free to explore the website and see what other tips we have for keeping your business efficient and profitable.