Top 3 Restaurant Operational Challenges for Managers & How to Overcome Them

By Jorge Pacheco (Co-Founder of Kulture Konnect)

This is part two of the two-part restaurant manager challenger series. Read one part here.

There’s always a lot of competition in the restaurant industry. To succeed, restaurateurs have to make sure to stay up-to-date with food trends and how they impact their menu, day-to-day operations, marketing and more. If you have to juggle so many things in the air, how do you ensure your restaurant’s success?

We work with some small and medium size restaurants nationwide and we asked them what, in their experience, the biggest challenges are in the restaurant industry. We were able to identify these three restaurant operational challenges. Plus tips for overcoming them.

Challenge #1: Restaurant Management

The daily management of a restaurant is tedious and boring. There is a lot of data gathering and number crunching. But, this is one of the most important components of your restaurant machine. If you don’t know how to analyze your business, how would you know if you’re profitable? Some of the list items we normally suggest our clients to keep in check are:

  •  Number of guests served by mealtime
  • Average guest check
  • Number of ordered menu items to keep identify stars, workhorses, dogs and puzzles
  • Cost to prepare each menu item (ingredient by ingredient)
  • Profit margin per each menu item
  • Staff costs
  • Sales vs. staff cost comparisons
  • What are your sales goals?
  • Track weekly P&L
  • These are just but a few things that will help you keep your sanity and really make sure that you stay on target in terms of your income vs. expenses.

Challenge # 2: Effective inventory management & menu pricing

Inventory and menu pricing should take into consideration the ordering process to limit waste. This will have a direct impact not only on our environment, but also on the fluctuating ingredients costs, which impact gross profit on menu items.

Menu pricing should be organic and have fluidity as frequent and small increases in menu prices are easier to sell than larger more noticeable increases done infrequently.

Challenge #3: Hiring & Training Staff

Hiring and training the right employees can make the difference when it comes to your daily operations. Having trustworthy, proactive and reliable staff member brings peace of mind. Yet, the employee turnover rate in the restaurant industry is really high.

Placing greater emphasis on finding and training staff will help you reduce costs over time and will allow you to provide a better customer service and a better customer experience overall. So, once you find that perfect person:

  • Train them and offer training manuals, checklists, goals and incentives.
  • Inspire them.
  • Train them to address any situation, good or bad, that arises.
  • Make sure they are understand the brand’s vision, mission and values and are motivated to pursue the brand’s and business’ goals and adhere to your restaurant’s unique concept.
  • Establish and maintain a solid management structure so everyone knows and understands their own, as well as their team member’s responsibilities.
  • Your management team should be exemplary, committed, motivational and adept at running the restaurant in your absence.

These are just a few of the challenges that we have identified during our time working with our restaurant clients. Are you a restaurateur or a restaurant manager and have experienced other challenges? We’d love to hear about your experience. Do you have more to say about what we’ve discussed in this article? Please share your challenge below as well as how you approached the situation and solved the issue