By Erica Sunarjo, Contributor
Managing a restaurant requires watching over the day-to-day operations and ensuring that everything goes off without a hitch. It truly is an exercise in multitasking, and that's not always an easy job. And while we think restaurant managers and operators are rock stars, all of us can benefit from some tips or guidance to help them grow, right?
For a manager to improve their business, they should improve their own skills and management style. There are plenty of ways that managers can do this effectively. From learning to problem solve to being willing to taking guest advice, there's a lot that managers can to do.
Let's take a look at eleven restaurant management tips that will improve the working process.
Plan & Organize
Managers who are looking to smooth out the work process absolutely need to plan and organize. Planning while managing a restaurant means taking time to anticipate any needs or problems that may arise. If you are prepared to serve those needs and solve those problems, it will be smooth sailing.
Organization is also essential. Bigger restaurant chains, for example, employ fantastic organization that cultivates a better workplace. There should be a structure and protocol for everything from open/close and stock receiving to angry guests and emergencies. Rules have to be in place, everything should be documented, and analysis reports must be a regular occurrence. If this organization isn't in place, things will start to fall apart.
Focus on Restaurant Staff Retention
Organization also ties into staff retention. When a restaurant is organized and well-managed, the staff will enjoy their job and want to stick around. Although some people simply aren't cut out for the service industry, you should still focus on staff retention. Staff members who are great at their job are what your restaurant needs to succeed.
Staff are the face of the restaurant and provide the customer experience. Regardless, staffing is one of the biggest challenges restaurant managers face. Communicate with your staff to find out their needs and do your best to meet them. Also, promote transparency in your restaurant to help staff feel engaged in the business.
Use a Training Program
Ensuring that your staff understands restaurant policies and how to serve customers properly is of great importance. Staff members need to have the training to understand what's expected of them and also how to do their job well. Training for your restaurant should also include a section on topics like stealing and harassment. Being vocal about these topics from the beginning will show that you have a zero tolerance policy and take these issue seriously.
A major part of the training staff receives should cover how to provide the ideal guest experience. Soft skills -- like knowing how to speak to guests -- are invaluable. Furthermore, staff have to be trained on the menu to provide customer good recommendations. Training shouldn't be a one and done deal, it should be continuous so that your staff can continue to improve.
Prioritize Guest Satisfaction
As the old adage goes, the customer is always right. In order to provide excellent customer experience, you have to put them first. Often that requires a lot of consideration and knowing how to treat guests in certain situations. These situations include seating a large table during peak times or preparing food for someone with food allergies.
Unfortunately, mistakes happen, and there can be slip-ups. Fortunately, you can always offer a complimentary drink to appease dissatisfied customers. If it was a really big mistake, you could even offer a complimentary dinner. Although it may appear to be a financial loss, these freebies keep clients coming back to your restaurant.
Find a Great Restaurant POS
A restaurant POS or a point-of-sale system doesn't just keep track of your tables and earnings every day, it can do so much more. You can even manage your inventory, ingredients, and staffing tasks on this interface. Using your POS properly can also help you see which dishes are most popular. That will allow you to redesign your menu according to guests’ preferences, which is always a hit.
However, not all POS are equal. So, finding the one that works best for you is crucial. Depending on what you wish to prioritize and what you're willing to spend, you can find something ideal for your restaurant. Keeping all the moving parts in check is much more comfortable with a POS that does a big chunk of the work for you.
Work on Your Business
Working in the business is something you do every day, but working ON the business is different. If you want your restaurant to evolve, then you need to dedicate time to the business behind the restaurant.
As a manager, you shouldn't be spending most of your time in the kitchen overseeing daily operations. You should be behind the scenes ensuring that the finances are in check and making tax and sales payments on time.
Moreover, to really improve the business, you need to dedicate time to product development. Mainly finding new products that have a market and that your restaurant can provide to boost sales. Also, searching for new channels of revenue is an important way for you to increase business. Perhaps you can consider signing up for an online delivery service app or offering yours to cater events.
Use Social Media
Advertising is vital for restaurants to promote themselves. Social media, therefore, is a cost-effective way to get the word out about your business and show what you're up to. It also helps build relationships and spark conversation about your business.
While there are different schools of thought on which platforms you should have, we recommend Facebook and Instagram. Facebook allows you to share your opening hours, location on the map, and post any important updates like closing for holidays.
Instagram requires a less-is-more approach with a selection of great photos as opposed to a lot of mediocre photos. You can also use this platform to share behind the scenes happenings to help guests feel more connected.
Depending on the country where you’re running your restaurant in, you want to make sure that your social media presence is inclusive of the speakers of all the major languages in the region. Services like The Word Point can help companies translate and localize their online presence.
Managers need to know how to problem solve. No matter how organized your business is and how well trained the staff is, problems arise. Knowing how to deal with unexpected issues correctly is what sets good restaurants apart from the decent ones.
The best way to approach a problem is by finding the most straightforward solution that satisfies all the parties involved. Later on, you can analyze the problem and your solution so that you can learn from them. It's a good idea to sit down and think about what you did well and what you could have done better. Taking the time to learn from these problems is a great way to improve your problem-solving skills.
Keep Teams in Sync
A restaurant is only as good as its team members. For everything to work well in the restaurant, the team has to maintain an equilibrium. That means that the front end and the back end need to be in sync. An effective way to do this without overcomplicating the process is to maintain excellent communication.
That back end will always benefit from knowing about reservations, if any big parties are coming in, and what products are receiving marketing. Conversely, the front end can benefit from knowing what goes into kitchen production and quality of the ingredients. When both teams have an idea of what the other is doing, they can work better.
Listen to Your Restaurant’s Guests
Providing good service to your guests is essential for any business to run well. However, listening to your customers is also important to give you an outside perspective. When you manage a business, it's easy to get caught up on the intricacies and see things from another side. Fortunately, listening to customers can help you see things differently.
If you think something is working well, but guests consistently complain about it, then that's a cause for change. On the other hand, if customers are raving about something that means you should prioritize it in the restaurant. Furthermore, your guests can help you decide what should go or stay on the menu. Give the people what they want, and they'll come back for more.
Celebrate Your Business
All work and no play really does many Johnny a dull boy. If your staff is working hard and your business is doing well, then take time to say thank you. Your thank you can come in the form of a small gift, a staff meal, or a pay raise.
No matter how you decide to reward your staff, be sure to be consistent. Don't give them an award once and forget about it after that. Rewarding good work also incentivizes it. Everyone likes to feel appreciated, so celebrate your success and show your team you care.
Restaurant management is demanding, to say the least. It requires a lot of work, creativity, and heart. Not to mention, there's also a lot of planning, problem-solving, and organization that goes into it, too. Fortunately, with these helpful management tips, you are sure to improve your business significantly. We wish you and your restaurant the best in the summer season.
About the Author
Erica Sunarjo is a content creator and strategist who cooperates with a variety of services. She is known for her diligence and detail-oriented attitude to work. Erica`s obtained a degree in Linguistics and can work on texts in English, Spanish, and French.