Restaurant Management Tips for Avoiding Common Operator Mistakes

checklists restaurant owner
Restaurant Management Tips for Avoiding Common Operator Mistakes

Running a restaurant is one of the hardest jobs out there, especially when you’re an independent restaurant. You’re on your own and don’t have corporate office support. Let me be your corporate office and share how to correct common mistakes restaurant operators make. You’ll be more successful in your restaurant management! Click below to get this tip via video or keep scrolling to read the details. 

Running a restaurant can be extremely stressful and frustrating when mistakes are made day after day, especially when they're avoidable. I believe there's no business harder to run than a restaurant, and all too often it can feel like all you're doing is killing the closest snake. It's all about crisis management. Heck, I can remember one of the times when I was running a lunch shift and a woman came storming out of the restroom asking to see a manager. Well, that was me. I'm like, excuse me, how may I help you? And she was mad. She went on a tirade to tell me, you have no soap, you have no paper towels, you have no toilet paper!

Yikes! How do you bounce back from that? Wasn't that avoidable? Absolutely. Or the many times I'd be in the middle of the shift and I'd go to the liquor closet, that's where we kept our backup silverware, only to find we had no iced teaspoons. Right. You're supposed to have a backup. It's very simple task. You would think somebody would get that done. You think it's reasonable? That could be avoidable. Yes.

Or the many times that we'd be going to a Friday night in the winter, I was in Arizona as a manager, so maybe gets 40 degrees at night. But we needed heaters. It was happy hour seating and I'd go into the shift only to discover that we were out of propane for the heaters and only 20 minutes to get propane before the station would close. Isn't that a total avoidable situation? 

All three of those scenarios are avoidable and all three put you on a downward spiral for your shift.

So, how can you fix all these problems and a lot more?

It's actually really simple.

Use checklists. Checklists allow you to impose your will without being there.

Consider these examples: opening and closing checklists. List out all the side work for each line employee to make sure they know exactly what you want done. Break it down into baby steps, like: Check the propane when you walk in the door before your shift starts.

Or, before you leave, check propane and make sure if it’s needed, you let the nighttime shift manager know that you need propane. 

Create a smallwares ordering checklist that one person is assigned to, making sure that they're counting all your smallwares, including your silverware, and that there's a checklist that says here's what the par levels are and if not, order and use this form.

How about shift checklists? Put one in the kitchen to make sure everyone is checking the shift for the line. Often referred to as a line checklist, it provides the right portion controls, temperatures and so on.

There are equipment checklists. Assign someone to make sure they're checking equipment like fire extinguishers aren't out of date, the slicer is on a maintenance schedule, whatever it may be, you can checklist those things.

Heck, I've had managers create checklists for the checklists to make sure that they check each checklist every single night. 

See, checklists are the foundation to all your systems. They allow you to impose your will without being there to assist in training your managers and employees alike what your expectations are, what their job is, and most importantly, they add a level of accountability to your restaurant that ensures things get done.

Look, if you want to reduce your stress levels and simplify your operation, make sure you add checklists to all aspects of your restaurant.

If you would like to learn how to own a restaurant that doesn't depend on you to be successful, watch this free video course that teaches you three key principles to running a successful restaurant.

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

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. 

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