Why Chain Restaurants Are So Good at Restaurant Management

chain restaurants restaurant systems
Why Chain Restaurants Are So Good at Restaurant Management

Managing a restaurant as an independent is difficult, especially when you are surrounded by a sea of chain competitors who seem to be successful without even trying very hard. What are they doing that makes them so successful? Why does it look so easy for them? Is it because they have a corporate office? Is it because they have more marketing money? Is it because they know something you don't? If you've ever wondered why so many of the chain restaurants are so good at restaurant management, stick around, and I’ll tell you their secret. 


The answer is short and sweet: systems, training and accountability.  

Chain restaurants have systems for everything. These systems allow them to impose their will without being in the restaurant. These systems range from checklists to systems for ordering and inventory and recipe costing cards and systems for labor control and scheduling. They have systems for the most mundane activities such as counting a bar drawer back to $300 to doing dollars per labor hour worked.  

They've learned that they can be successful on a mass scale if they teach the people who work in the restaurants their system, their process, their way. They get things done their way without having to be in the building, even in the same state!  

Secondly, they invest in training their employees. They train people what their job is, how to do it, how well it should be done, and more importantly, by when. Whether it's a line employee or member of management, they have training systems that people have to sign off on and make sure they pass tests to confirm they do things in a certain way. That way, when they hit the ground running, they are trained to the chain’s standard, ensuring things get done their way.  

Chain restaurants set up and enforce accountability. So often they've got a district manager with an iron fist saying, “Do this or you will not have a job.” While I may not agree with that kind of management philosophy, the truth is, in chain restaurants, people do things a certain way and understand it's non-negotiable. There are no excuses, such as, “Oh, I tried and it was difficult and this happened and so on.” In a chain restaurant, it has to happen. If you don’t do it, you’re not doing your job, and you can get fired.  

These three things together can make a difference in your business. And here's the crazy part: if you take the chain restaurants’ secret and implement it in your independent restaurant, you will actually be the one who kicks their ass because you can adapt to your market as things change in a moment's notice. They can't. They have to go back to corporate, or wait for corporate to issue new systems.  

As an independent, you can provide stellar customer service individual by individual and get to know your actual customers. They know you, the owner, the managers, the people who live in that community and so on. 

Systems, training and accountability are not just for the chains. It's just that they've made them a priority, which allows some of them to have thousands of restaurant locations worldwide without having a single owner in any one of them and thrive. 

Take a page out of the chain restaurant playbook and document, train and hold your managers accountable to your systems. This is your path to restaurant prosperity, which is freedom from your restaurant and the financial freedom you deserve. 

If you would like to learn how to own a restaurant that doesn't depend on you being in it to be successful, sign up for my 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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