A first-time restaurant manager may struggle to find their rhythm as they navigate the complexity of ordering, staffing, and cooking— not to mention providing a superb customer experience every time.
Experienced chefs and leaders in the foodservice industry have had years to put their experience to the test, learning and growing over time. Keeping your kitchen running smoothly requires a firm hand, a cool head and plenty of patience!
See how these 8 tips for managing a restaurant will help you be successful at any stage of your career.
1. Be Transparent With Staff Members
When you communicate openly with your staff members, they are much more likely to trust you and look to you for guidance when they need it. This could be anything from moving through a tough period in sales during a start-up or focusing on a specific segment of the market to boost your growth. When employees understand the strategy that you're trying to implement, they are more likely to be willing to help.
2. Listen Carefully— Even When You Don't Want To
It's easy to listen to positive feedback from staff members, your customers, and your vendors, but what about when the message isn't a positive one? This negative feedback can be tough to hear, but it's a crucial factor in helping your restaurant grow and be successful.
3. Consolidate Menu Choices
When customers are presented with an overabundance of choices, they can quickly shut down and take too long to make decisions. Consider limiting your menu to only the very best options that you know that you can reliably serve with excellence. Then, you'll have an opportunity to add seasonal options or specials to keep things fresh.
4. Be Consistent with Employee Training
Understanding how to manage a restaurant staff starts with consistency and providing an operational manual for efficiency and effectiveness. Document the best practices that you want staff members to follow, and be diligent in utilizing your documentation for new hires. It's all too easy to let standards slip a bit, especially for employees that are otherwise exceptional.
5. Promote Efficient Operations
Are your back-office operations killing your productivity? Regularly review your operations from ordering and inventory measures to how orders are being taken, cooked and delivered to customers. This will help your restaurant flow of work become more smooth and even over time.
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6. Tightly Manage Inventory
One of the largest outlays of capital in any restaurant business is inventory, making it crucial that you pay attention to every bit of waste and do everything possible to keep your inventory under control. That could mean checking behind staff members as they're ordering to be sure that the upcoming restaurant traffic will support their level of investment in food and other products, especially when you're dealing with items that have a short shelf life.
Controlling your inventory is yet another reason to limit your menu. If you only offer a few tried-and-true dishes that your customers love, you won't be over-investing in food that is never ordered.
7. Plan Time for Thorough Interviews
There is often a fair amount of turnover in the restaurant industry, but some stores seem to find the best people and are able to keep them for long periods of time. This is often due to a rigorous interviewing and training schedule to be sure that there is a good cultural fit with your organization.
When primary skills are not necessarily the driver for success, it's even more important to ensure that each new hire will fit within the mold of the individuals already employed so they're not wreaking havoc or causing drama. For instance, someone who thrives on a fast-paced environment may not last long somewhere that has a more laid-back vibe— even though it's extremely easy for them to maintain excellent skills and service in that restaurant.
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8. Carefully Plan Schedules for Coverage
Study your past sales volume for days of the week and stay cognizant of any special events in your area that could cause a sudden overabundance of traffic to your restaurant. That way, you're sure to provide each customer with the personalized attention that they crave along with their exceptional meal. Planning prep ahead of time ensures that you always have the raw ingredients that you will need to quickly prepare dishes that are a specialty for your business.
Get Your Hospitality Management Degree
Want to improve your restaurant skills and learn how to manage a restaurant effectively? Oregon Culinary Institute is the premier culinary school in Portland, specializing in growing restaurant management skills, with both our Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry programs offering a Hospitality Management AOS Degree option.
Our graduates have gone on to run a restaurant of their own, teach others, and make a true impact on the culinary world. Request information online or apply today to begin making your culinary dreams come true!