Restaurant Management: 10 quick tips to improve restaurant operations
You can have excellent food, impeccable customer service and 5-star ratings on Google, and still, lose your edge!
Working on streamlining the operations is as important as working on the menu, service, and deliveries. That's because everything that you deliver, offline or online, is highly dependent on the way you manage your kitchen, staff and workplace atmosphere.
Restaurant management is the backbone that underpins the day-to-day functioning of every restaurant, from managing employees to boosting revenue and meeting customer expectations.
Needless to say, restaurant managers need to be robust, dynamic and up for any challenge. Here are some important management tips to help you streamline operations and improve the way you work.
Create a system
Have structured rules and regulations in place and make sure everyone follows them. You can have checklists for employees, which, in turn, can encourage accountability. Written guidelines for best practices for different departments like kitchen operations, incoming orders, delivery procedures, and customer service.
This can also help streamline daily activities to a large extent. You can even use the Eisenhower box strategy to help organize your tasks and make decisions on an everyday basis.
Effective staff schedule
Optimizing staff schedules is important in more ways than one. An effective staff schedule ensures that service is not hampered due to understaffing, labor costs are kept in check, labor compliance law is followed and most importantly your employees are kept happy.
The turnover rate in the restaurant industry is incredibly high at 75% and incompetent scheduling is one of the prime causes of failure to retain employees. While scheduling software can come at a hefty price tag, it certainly helps organize your work better and help you male data-driven decisions.
Create a positive work culture
To improve the way you work, it’s not only important to focus on tasks but it’s equally vital to pay attention to the people you work with. Acknowledging your staff’s good work, rewarding them if possible, keeping an open channel of communication, sharing your larger vision as well as day-to-day goals so that you’re working together towards a common target—these are all core to building a positive work culture. Such exercise leads to more productivity and less stress for everyone down the line.
Optimize your menu
Menu engineering, which involves the design and pricing of a restaurant menu, must be a top priority for every restaurant manager. You should make sure that your most profitable items are selling most often.
Having a POS or online ordering system that allows the flexibility of editing and updating the menu from time to time can also turn out to be of big help. Moreover, you don’t have to have the same menu for both your online and online offerings. Some food items don’t work well for online ordering as they don’t package and travel well.
Be meticulous with inventory
You should be able to track every ounce of every ingredient in your kitchen because even the smallest miscalculation can have a huge impact on your overall revenue. Information about what daily supplies have come to the kitchen, what has been used and what remains should be on the tip of your fingers. Inventory wastage due to spillage, theft, mistakes, staff meals too should all be accounted for.
Of course, the most efficient way to manage inventory is to use a point-of-sale (POS) system with a powerful inventory management tool. But you should also train your kitchen staff and encourage regular manual stocktake to get a more complete picture.
From food to equipment and labor cost, you should record and keep yourself abreast of all the expenditures in order to help you plan budgets and project profits better. Being able to monitor cash flow and perform other basic restaurant finances is also a key skill a restaurant manager should possess. Keeping a tab on cash flow on a daily basis is indispensable to running a profitable business.
Listen to your customers
No matter how efficient a restaurant you run, if your customers are still unhappy, it is a big cause for concern. A large part of restaurant management involves listening to customers and improving overall services. In today’s digital age, one of the best ways to gauge customer reactions is through online reviews.
For online delivery services, especially, you have a very little window for direct customer interaction so you must ensure your delivery team is well-trained to offer impeccable service so that there are no complaints. You should also establish a well-functioning online customer service channel so online customers can reach you without any hassles.
Don’t forget marketing management
As a must-do everyday task, you must perform some essential marketing activities. One of them is to check if the restaurant website, mobile apps and social media accounts are up to date with things like new promotions, menu updates, and daily specials. Oversee if other on-going marketing campaigns are running smoothly, how audiences are responding to them and whether they’re bringing in the desired results. For online ordering facilities, it is key to conduct a thorough scan to see if all ordering platforms are running without any glitches.
Stay updated on new technologies
Restaurant technologies are evolving at a rapid pace and not all restaurants require all new technologies to operate their business successfully. However, it is worth keeping yourself updated so that you are in the knowhow about any offerings which could make management simpler and streamlined.
Keeping yourself acquainted with new technologies can help you make better decisions for your restaurant. Read influential magazines and blogs, follow some experts in the game and talk to your colleagues in the industry to stay informed.
Plan ahead but expect the unexpected
Planning your day in advance can help minimize chaos and stressful situations. But this is the restaurant business after all where no matter how well you and your team are organized or prepared to anticipate problems, some issues are bound to crop up as the day progresses. As a manager, hone your problem-solving skills to deal with any unexpected snags.