A Day in the Life of a Successful Restaurant Owner

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A Day in the Life of a Successful Restaurant Owner

As a restaurant owner, have you ever wondered what you should be doing each day? Have you wondered what other restaurant owners do or if you are focusing your attention on the right tasks? I'm going to walk you through what the day might look like from my perspective. I’m not just talking about general tasks. I’m diving into the nitty-gritty details of a day in the life of a successful restaurant owner.

The day starts with daily admin: First, you come into the office. Now what? Look at your daily admin. This is the first thing you want to do because you verify all the daily admin tasks were done. This includes making sure the DSR tracker was used to make sure you balance and the cash made it to the bank, that your invoice tracker was done to make sure you have categorized expenses and they go into the right buckets. Do the same with the paid out tracker. Review your manager log and make sure it's been updated accurately and that you have the right information you are looking for on a daily basis. This sets the tone for the day and ensures that you're starting off on the right foot.

Prioritize tasks: The next thing is you want to prioritize your tasks based on your weekly goals. Every week after you hold the weekly manager meeting, use the notes on what you hit or missed and what you want to do this week to stay on budget, make up any losses, or minimize any unexpected losses. Prioritize these goals in your to-do list. Your to-do list is rarely going to get done, especially in the restaurant business. There are so many things on there that are important, and the key is designating what is critical versus important. Everything's important, but everything isn’t critical. On your to-do list look at those things that are critical. Focus on what moves the needle forward in your business.

Team meetings: Every week you should have a manager meeting and every day you need to be training and communicating with your team. That communication is how you stop the rumor mill and how you get everybody going forward in the right direction. You also want to have daily pre-shift meetings. Those aren't meetings you're going to lead. They're going to be led by your manager on duty, but you need to make sure your managers know what's important to you and what you want them to focus on each day and that it’s communicated in the pre-shift meetings.  

On the floor: As a restaurant owner you shouldn't be scheduled as a floor manager. That is not your role (if it’s currently what you’re doing, this is a great time to acknowledge that isn’t your role and then let’s get to work getting you off the schedule).  Now with that said I do think you should make it a point to touch tables during a couple meal periods during those rushes each week. This is your chance to hear directly from your guests and sprinkle a little “I'm the owner”magic because that's what separates you from the chain restaurants. “I know the owner” is very appealing for your customers to say.

Financial metrics: There are a lot of systems you should be looking at when it comes to financial metrics, but to start the day you should review these financial metrics: labor cost and purchasing. These number gives you a real time snapshot of your restaurant's financial health.

Inventory management: While you're not the one to take inventory, which is done once per week, your job is to inspect what you expect. Make sure your purchases are being done on budget, that food, bottle beer, draft beer, wine and liquor are being purchased on budget. You don’t want to give your team an open checkbook. Make sure your key item tracker is being followed to prevent theft. Make sure your management team's looking at and using the waste tracker because monitoring waste allows you to fix problems today not wait for 15 days the next period when we get our P&L.  

Food safety: Not only do you have a moral obligation but your have a legal responsibility to serve safe food. Implement an online checklist system that alerts you if your food or refrigeration temperatures go out of the safety zone. This is as simple as adding temperature checks to the a checklist and ensuring it’s done throughout the day.  There are also tech tools that allow you to track those temperatures through the day, and they send you an alert if temperatures dip into the wrong range.

Customer feedback: You can do this by setting up Google alerts or some other similar system that will monitor your customer reviews. Make it a point to respond to each one of those reviews or work with a reputable company that can manage this process for you. If you ignore negative ones, you let the narrative take off and the negative reviews get all the attention.

End-of-day tasks: As you wrap up the day, you look at that to-do list again for the next day, focusing on those critical tasks that you need to jump on tomorrow because that to-do list doesn't get smaller. This allows you to shut down your brain when you leave the restaurant so you don't have to keep thinking about what you are supposed to do.

Set up tomorrow’s success: Genuinely thank your team members for all the hard work they do. A simple thank you can go a long way in building a positive work environment.

This is a day in the life of a success restaurant owner. These are the daily tasks but what about your role as a restaurant owner? You need to work on budgets, marketing, leading your team, developing your managers, holding them accountable and working strategically on your business. Have a plan for where you want to be three days from now, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now, 10 years from now.

Without taking the time to play role of a restaurant owner, strategically moving the business forward, you will stay stagnant and just do the same thing over and over, likely seeing your sales slip. A true leader moves the business forward. Start implementing these daily practices to get there.

Be sure to visit my YouTube channel for more helpful restaurant management video tips.

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