The 5 Most Important Positions in a Restaurant

how to run a restaurant
The 5 Most Important Positions in a Restaurant

Do you ever wonder what the most important positions are in your restaurant? I want to share with you my take on what I see as the top five positions in a restaurant.

First, let me start off by saying everyone in your restaurant is an important part of a team. We're all working toward one major goal: to create memorable experiences for our guests. We're put on this earth to create memories. The guest experience is our priority. And as a team, everyone is needed to achieve that goal.

There's not one person who's not important on your team, but for argument's sake, I'm going to share with you what I think are the top five most important positions in your restaurant and why.

Number five: dishwasher. Now, the dishwasher is in a major support role on a busy day where you're getting crushed. They ensure the cooks have the pots, pans and plates, and the front of house has utensils. They make sure there are cups so the guests can have sodas and drinks and cocktails and coffee. The dishwasher is incredibly important because if you run out of sauté pans, your line virtually shuts down. Tickets start to rail, and you fall behind when your guest orders some wonderful cocktail that needs to be in a beautiful cocktail glass that's missing because they're not clean. It’s important for everything to be sanitary and without crust, lipstick marks, fingerprints, etc.

Now, with that said, as important as I think they are, I put them in the top five. They're the first people to lose hours in the back of the house because they’re in a support role. They don't make you money. Cooks produce product to make you money. My servers and cashiers sell things. They make you money. The dishwasher actually sucks up your money. So, on slow days, cut their hours and have your cooks make sure they do dishes. Servers in a full-service restaurant can scrape dishes and soak flatware. Make sure they're putting glassware emptied into the racks already. The cooks can run those or if it's slow, stack it all up nice. When the afternoon dishwasher comes in, they hit the ground running and rock and roll. You and your manager can do dishes if it’s a matter of saving on labor dollars on a slow day. But on a busy day, you cannot exist without this support person.

Number four: line cook. Your line cooks are an integral part of great hospitality. They put out the incredible product your guests want. If you don't have line cooks, you can't get that done. But you need to make sure that your menu allows you to put out your best product and still make money. You want a menu that will allow you to use the fewest number of hours to avoid bleeding labor. Your cooks are vital to your business, but they can also bleed you dry at the time clock if you're not putting out the right menu that uses your line cook’s time wisely.

Number three: servers and cashiers. These are the people who ensure your guests have a great experience. They are your front line, seeing the guests eyeball to eyeball. They drive your sales, and they make sure people have a great experience. The key is to avoid having too many at one time because not only can they bleed you at the clock, but in some states we've got lower minimum wage because of a tip credit for them. A lot of operators often think they can have more staff because of this lower wage and that more people on the floor means better service. That's kind of a misnomer we have in the industry. The truth is when you have more servers and not enough guests, your front-of-house team ends up playing grab ass at the POS terminal and ignore the guest. You want to be busy enough and have just enough people that they have their pinky toes in the weeds. They’re not all the way in the weeds, but almost because all they can do is pay attention to the guests and give them a great experience. The guests should want for nothing. Make sure these people are trained, because if they're not, it doesn't matter how many you have, you're going to give your guest a bad experience.

Number two: restaurant managers. Managers are incredibly important. If you follow me on any level with the Restaurant Prosperity Formula, you know you need managers to execute your systems. Managers ensure the process is working.

Now, let me be very clear. Without systems, how do you tell them how you want things done if you don't train them on what you want done, what the job is, how to do it, how well it should be done, more importantly, by when? How can you expect them to do the job? You also must be willing to hold them accountable to the job because without accountability, things still don't happen. When you don’t put systems in place, when you don’t train your staff, when you don’t hold them accountable, you create key turners. They're not managers, and they’re a waste of manager money. When you set it up right, managers help you proactively manage your business.

The number one position in your restaurant: You! The restaurant owner. You're the leader your restaurant needs. You work on budgets, marketing, developing your management team and holding them accountable. You keep the company moving forward to make your dreams a reality, to make sure the guest has the best experience possible. You employ people, to make sure they have a job to feed their families and pay their bills. You are there for your community. You are most important because ultimately nothing happens in your restaurant without your leadership.

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. 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.

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