Whether you're a restaurant owner, wanting to know what you should be expecting from your management team, or you are a manager trying to learn what it takes to be the best you can, understanding the basics of restaurant management is critical. That is exactly what I’m going to cover. Click below or keep scrolling to read six things to have in place to execute the basics of restaurant management.
Running a restaurant has not fundamentally changed in decades. Take care of guests and make money while you're doing it. Sounds easy enough, right? But the reality is running a restaurant requires almost daily crisis management, it is high stress and comes with lots of pressure. Often it feels like all you’re doing is we're killing closest snake to you while never getting past the snakes.
Here are the six things to have in place to understand the basics of restaurant management.
The first one is you need to have systems in place for Restaurant 101. A system is a process, a way to doing anything and everything in your business and making sure it’s done how you want it done. Systems are critical to your success. While you might feel like you were put on this earth to provide great hospitality, not everyone is. In your restaurant, you need systems for training because not everybody has that hospitality gene built into them. They need to know the steps of service. They need to understand your standard of cleanliness. They need to know the importance of serving hot food hot and cold food cold. Systems make sure all the steps are followed when it comes to taking care of your guests.
How do you explain this to your teams? Create and write down your core values for everyone to see. If you have a partner in the business, make sure to involve them in this process, too. Core values are the characteristics or values you use to run your business. They define your restaurant style, hiring decisions, purchasing decisions, approach to service and so much more. When you use your core values to train employees, and you teach them what it means to serve your guests each day and the standards you have, you’re teaching them how to make decisions based on the values of your restaurant business, not their own. And when they do so, when they make a mistake, they'll never be in trouble as long as they used the restaurant’s core values as their guide.
Number two is systems for strong communication. Again, a system is a process, a way to do anything in the restaurant. You need ways to openly communicate with each other every day, to make sure management is all on the same page and that everyone knows what’s going on each day shift to shift. The things communicated can know what training needs to be done, what items got eighty six, what features you’re running for the day, what training tools you’re going to be putting in place, you name it.
Hold weekly manager meetings to communicate exactly what targets you missed last week, what you hit last week as far as your goals, what this week looks like and what you're moving towards as you assign what needs to be done, such as projects and tasks. Manager meetings make sure everyone's moving forward. Communication is critical and that needs to go all the way down to your employees. You need systems like pre-shift meetings for every shift. Outline all the things that are going to happen that day and have it for back of house and front of house, and people who come in on stagger starts. Everyone needs to read the sheet because when you keep everyone on the loop, you have a much smoother running operation.
Number three, you need systems to proactively manage the restaurant. That starts with a budget, also known as your plan for success. A budget tells you where your numbers need to be for cost of goods sold and labor. Your budget will tell you how much change you need to make, if they’re running high or low. The budget also points you to the systems that will have the biggest impact on your numbers. Your budget is also a great plan for your managers to follow so they know where the marker is for success.
Number four, you need systems to ensure the process is working. Managers make sure the systems are working and that the business is run properly. The number one tool is checklists. Use checklists for opening and closing side work, for everything you do, weekly side work, monthly side work, anything that you can imagine for managers or line employees that allow you to impose your will without being there. When the systems are followed properly, you change your culture to close to open. You want to close every shift so that you are 100 percent ready to open the next shift. No one likes to walk into the restaurant in the morning and nothing is ready to go. The morning shift does not want to start their day doing the work from the shift the night before. When everyone does their job, according to what the systems tell them to do, you’re building trust.
Number five, you need systems to keep the business moving forward. When you have that weekly manager meeting, talk about what the team needs to be working on right now. What's a new priority that makes the restaurant better? What will help you grow when all the day-to-day stuff is handled? You needs systems in place to help you build sales. That's marketing, better service, selling and upselling.
Number six, you need to have systems to become a better you. The best leaders and managers are always looking to improve. They have a growth mindset. They're never satisfied with the status quo. You need to develop your systems, your process, your way to doing anything and everything in the restaurant.
Now is the time to create your systems. There's one system, one process, one way to doing everything in your restaurant. The good news is the right way is whatever you say. Whether it's counting out a bar door to $300 every single time or advanced things like dollars per labor hour worked to look at efficiencies. You've got to create those systems. You need to be out there looking, listening, learning, whether it's reading books, listening to podcasts, or watching YouTube videos, continue to grow and learn. Your restaurant business will benefit and so will your employees – owner, manager, on down.
When you list all these basics of restaurant management out, you can quickly see how important your managers are, how important they are to your business, how important it is to train and coach them, to help them become the best they can be.
Systems make it all possible. You need systems in place for everything you do. You need them in place as soon as possible because there is a system, a process, a way to doing anything and everything in your business your way. And when you bring on a manager without your systems, you're hoping they have common sense, or see things the way you do. That's a recipe for disaster because common sense is different for everyone.
Work with your management team, create those systems, document those systems, record those systems, find every way possible to impose your will without being there to create that trainable system because systems are critical to restaurant management basics.
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.
David Scott Peters understands what is required to build the restaurant of your dreams. Schedule a Discovery Call with David to tell him about you and the specific challenges you are facing as a restaurant operator. You'll learn how his Restaurant Transformation Intensive program puts you on the path to making the money you deserve, having freedom from your restaurant and having a trained management team do the heavy lifting.
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