How to Run Weekly Restaurant Manager Meetings
Do you have restaurant manager meetings? If you do, how often do you have them? What do you cover? If any of these questions make you wonder what you're doing right when it comes to restaurant manager meetings, you want to do them better, or you just want to know why they’re necessary, then you're in the right place. Stick around and I'll share with you the seven steps to a successful manager meeting and the topics you must cover to ensure you don't have to be in the building 24/7.
Let's talk about the importance of a restaurant manager meeting. You might be saying to yourself, “I don't need a manager meeting. I see my manager in the office every single day, and I tell them what I want done. I see them on the floor. I tell them what to correct. I come in, I, I text them a new marketing idea, and I email them something I was thinking about last night. Any time I see them, I'm communicating with them.”
Even with all that interaction, do you still feel frustrated and like your managers don't get the things you want done?
For one second, think about this from the manager’s perspective. You come in and create crazy, adding to that to-do list and never communicate what's most important to you. That list is already tough to get through in a week. When you add more and more and more that list becomes impossible and freezes a manager in their tracks. They don't know what to work on, which means things are getting done that you thought should because it was at the top in your mind.
That’s the magic of manager meetings. They keep everybody on the same page. Everyone knows the numbers of the business, the goals of the business and who is responsible for what. Manager meetings keep your company moving forward because everybody's on the same page and working toward a common goal.
Managers are going to know their numbers and the culture is going to change. Instead of you chasing managers down for information, they're chasing you with information. They come to the meetings knowing their numbers and then you're not telling, telling, telling. Managers are going to get things done because you're telling them exactly what you want done, how well you want it done and by when, and everybody is specifically assigned. Manager meetings are a must in your business, and they are weekly.
You're going to be creating the right culture, the culture that allows you to leave your building because you can trust things are getting done. All of these things lead to you creating the financial freedom you want. It's powerful.
To get started, a successful manager meeting requires three stages.
- The first stage is the partner meeting done on a Tuesday because you gather your numbers on a Monday. You review last week's goals and numbers and determine what you’re doing for this week. Now, each partner, when they walk into the business, understands the same priorities and your managers are not getting mixed messages about what is important as each partner walks in the door.
- That next day, call it Wednesday, you have a meeting with the GM or your key manager to get them on the same page. You talk about last week and this week's goals, where you hit or miss them, what we want to accomplish.
- Finally, that next day, that Thursday, is your manager meeting. That meeting is run by the general manager, not the owner. You can be there, but you sit on the sidelines. You can interject where necessary, but you must let the general manager or key manager run the meeting so that they have authority. If you interject and start taking over the GM/manager, then you've got every employee looking past the manager to you because you're really acting like the GM.
Now, whether it's the Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday for each of these, or you do it all in a single day, that's not as important as each one of those stages. Stage one to three.
Next are the seven steps to a successful manager meeting.
Step one: proper planning. Gather your numbers and inventory so you know your cost of goods sold and labor cost. You can look at any employee issues that happened and determine if trainings are necessary. You look at the calendar for special events, marketing offers, you look at the past week's goals and where you hit or missed and then this week's goals. Put this all together so you know exactly what you want to talk about at the meeting.
Step two: ensure attendance. Everyone must attend. You want to find a way to have the meeting on a schedule that avoids playing favorites so that one person isn’t having to come in on their day off, or you’re not requiring them to come in because it’s their day off. If they’re not there, they don’t know the plans. Have flexibility for your management team and do things like shift that meeting from one day to another day every week so that it's not always that one manager who really doesn't have two days off because they come in every week for that manager meeting.
Step three: collect the data in advance. It’s not only the numbers I just talked about, but also what any managers want to talk about. If they want to talk about something in the meeting, they must give it to whoever is in charge of the agenda. And it can only be discussed if it’s on the agenda. This is about respecting everyone’s time and sticking to what needs to be covered in the meeting. If you don’t guard the time, you can end up chasing squirrels, gossiping, and losing everyone’s interest.
Step four: stay on track. Stick to the agenda. Everything that you want talked about is all that is covered. Cost of goods sold, labor cost, projects started and completed, all the important things discussed at last week’s manager meeting, marketing and so on. It’s everything you gather in advance needs to be on that agenda. Stay focused. If someone starts to interject new ideas, you go, “Hey, wait a second, that's not on the agenda. I think that's important, and we can talk about it after the meeting or add it to next week’s agenda.” This focus keeps you at a meeting that lasts 60 to 90 minutes. If you go longer than 90 minutes, you will lose their attention.
Step five: facilitate rather than command. The facilitator of the meeting (the GM or key manager) isn’t just talking for 60-90 minutes. Instead, they are calling on the person who has the information to share, i.e., bar manager, front of house manager, kitchen manager, etc. This gives each person a role in the meeting, they are invested, and they have answers for any challenges. Each manager talks about their departments, their numbers, their people. Avoid top-down talking.
Step six: assign specific actions. All too often we have these meetings and great ideas come from them, but no one is assigned responsibility to see that idea through. Then it just stays on the agenda from week to week and no progress is made. When you assign something you want done, you assign it to a specific person, you tell them what you want done, how well you want it done and by when. If it's assigned to everyone, make sure you are crystal clear on what you want done, how well you want it done and by when, which is a deadline.
Step seven: take notes. Assign somebody who is anal retentive and has good handwriting. You want someone who loves details. It’s not the most fun job in the world, but somebody's has to document the actions assigned so next week you can all check on progress. Document everything, type it all up and send an email or use an app. I don't care how you want to disseminate it, distribute those notes. Now, everybody, even if they weren't in that meeting because they were on vacation, everybody knows what's expected of everyone. Everybody knows what we're doing to move forward. Everybody remembers the policies, changes, the marketing ideas, anything that goes on in your business. This is critical to your success.
Great communication keeps your business moving forward because everyone knows the goals, the needs of the business and the owner, and everyone knows the systems.
Weekly restaurant manager meetings will provide consistent communication, and you will create a positive work environment.
If you would like to learn how to own a restaurant that doesn't depend on you being in it to be successful, watch this free video course that teaches you three key principles to running a successful restaurant. If you're ready right now to make some serious changes in your restaurant, you can also book a 60-minute call with me where we talk about your challenges and figure out exactly what is holding you back from having a restaurant that doesn’t depend on you being in it to be successful.
Be sure to visit my YouTube channel for more helpful restaurant management video tips.