The Ideal Daily Job of a Restaurant Owner

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The Ideal Daily Job of a Restaurant Owner

Restaurant owners often do too many duties in their restaurant every day to ensure it operates. From seating guests and bussing tables to prepping food and running expo, none of these tasks are where they should be spending their time. So where should a restaurant owner be spending their time? Let’s talk about the ideal daily job of a restaurant owner.

A couple of months ago, I hosted my Mastery Plus members meeting in Las Vegas. This is my mastermind group, a group of restaurant owners with top-level goals. We meet three times a year for two days to share with each other, to learn, to become better. I recently invited my good friend Darren Dennington, founder of Service with Style Secret Shopping and Consulting, to present on how to get the most out of your management team and spend more time on the role of a restaurant owner.

One of the things he brought up hit home with so many of my members was you need to stop working down and start working up.

What does that mean? It means instead of working down, you're the owner. You start doing a busser's job, a host’s job, a prep cook's job, a line cook's job, a bartender's job, you're working down. Instead, you need to work up: budgets, strategic planning, marketing, leading the team, etc. Sure, you might have to fill in from time to time, but your impact to the business is working at a high level, not doing the day-to-day tasks.

My Mastery Plus members have been working with me for some time and have the same foundation of systems and tools that I teach. One of the biggest challenges my members initially face when they start that implementing systems is what to do to start working up instead of down.

When an owner stops taking inventories, stops placing orders, stops doing their own accounting and seating guests, and so on, they don’t know what to do with themselves. To make sure they don’t fall back on their old ways, I teach them what do to on a macro level and micro level.

On a macro level, big high level, looking down from 10,000 feet, the job of a restaurant owner is working on budgets, marketing, leading the team, developing their managers, and leading the company forward, working strategically on your business.

On the micro level, the nitty gritty, the day-to-day job of a restaurant owner is ultimately to ensure the process is working. This means taking the time to train your managers on your system, your process, your way, staying with them until they can do it on their own, so that they know what their job is, how to do it, how well it should be done and by when. Once they demonstrate they can do it on their own, your job as the owner is to hold your managers accountable to the systems.

To do that, a restaurant owner must, on a daily basis, inspect what you expect by reviewing your systems. For example, if you implement a key item tracker to prevent theft, put your eyeballs on it. Make sure it's being used properly every single day. If you put it in a waste sheet to stop dumb mistakes, then you need to put your eyeballs on it. The list goes on and on from simply, hey, putting the system in place that gives them budgeting.

If they write a schedule, are you looking at the labor discrepancy finder, or the variance, to make sure they’re not over hours in the kitchen and then telling them to rework the schedule? That’s what you do. You hold them accountable to your system, your process, your way. They need to write that schedule to where the variance is zero or come up with a plan asking for permission to be over budget and how they're going to get back on budget.

When you inspect your systems and you hold people accountable to those systems, you're imposing your will. Things are getting done your way when you're there, but especially when you're not.

A restaurant owner needs to work strategically on the business at least one to two days a week. You cannot just work on crisis management. While it can feel like you're in a pit of snakes and they're coming at you, if you spend your time battling the snakes, you can’t work on the big picture, that macro level.

But when you can put yourself in a position to say, hey, what changes do I need to make in my business to reduce costs, or create more revenue, you can move your company forward.

A restaurant owner must also lead their team and business forward. When you have systems in place, you ensure things are getting done your way. When you think strategically, you start forward thinking. But then you put the systems in place and lead your people. You tell them why you're going in this direction, why you're putting those systems in, why it makes a difference and what they're working towards. Your job is to lead your business and your team forward.

So what are restaurant owners supposed to do on a daily basis? Develop, train, and hold your management team accountable. Inspect what you expect or the systems will go away and work strategically on your business. Or as my good friend Darren Dennington says, work up, not down.

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

If you’re ready to finally get the relief you need so you can stop living in your restaurant and finally have the life you’ve been working for—
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