When opening up a new restaurant, it all starts with a business plan. This includes how to manage the restaurant and bring in constant revenue while building the brand. Running a successful restaurant is not a walk in the park. It requires patience, planning, consistency and keeping up with the industry as it changes.
There are some key factors to consider when managing a restaurant. These include marketing, hiring and rostering staff, and constantly measuring your restaurant’s performance, just to name a few. The important thing is to be prepared and have a plan that you can stick to when things get busy. Which they inevitably do if you get it all right.
What Are a Restaurant Manager’s Roles and Responsibilities?
It’s crucial to factor in the roles and responsibilities that come with managing a restaurant, including:
- Ensure that all licences and restaurant requirements are met – you must have a thorough knowledge of the local laws and regulations to ensure that the restaurant stays open and drama-free.
- Be fully aware of your restaurant’s moving parts – floor plans, employees, shifts and ways to manage conflict should it arise – it’s important to know how the restaurant works and who is responsible for all relevant duties at all times, enabling you to handle any issues that arise.
- Be fully involved in the hiring (and firing) process – ensure you have a role in sourcing new staff, onboarding new team members, setting shift rotations and so on – this will help you keep your finger on the pulse of the business – front and back of house – and to know which areas need a particular skill set and which team members are the right fit for your restaurant’s success.
- Stay on top of the menu – this may seem obvious when managing a restaurant, but this is one of the things that can make or break a restaurant – know every menu item intimately – what’s in it and how it’s prepared – and know what your chef wants to move that day so you can have your floor staff recommending the dish to your clientele.
- Know current restaurant trends and tools – be proactive and on the constant lookout for emerging restaurant trends and determine which ones you can implement – keep up with the latest tech such as predictive ordering technology to reduce food waste, integration with online reservation platforms, and even augmented reality where diners can experience their meal in 3D before they commit to ordering.
- Keep track of expenses and profits – every business, restaurants being no exception, needs to make a profit to survive – use a reliable, well-supported accounting software product to manage your balance sheets week by week so you always know where you stand financially.
The Most Successful Restaurants Are Masters of Consistency
Managing a successful restaurant is all about consistency.
Put in place rules that everyone can follow and use them to maintain a consistent, harmonious working environment. If staff members make mistakes, the repercussions must be consistent for all staff. At the same time, if a staff member exceeds expectations, the reward and recognition must be consistent across the board.
Be consistent with the food you serve and the way you serve it.
The menu must be consistent and prepared to the same high standard day after day, week after week. In a customer’s eyes, you are only as good as the last meal you served them. If there are any changes to the menu, make sure your staff are aware and that they inform the customers.
And be mindful about making drastic changes to your restaurant or risk harming your brand for good.
Make The Customer The Epicentre of Your Restaurant Management Plan
A restaurant without customers is not a restaurant. It’s just another bad investment and someone’s dreams destroyed. So neglect the customer at your peril. Make them the very epicentre of your restaurant management plan.
To begin with, connect with and listen to your customers. Any feedback, good or bad, should be taken onboard as the restaurant grows. Maintain an open channel of communication between your restaurant and your customers. A phone line that doesn’t just ring out, a well-monitored Facebook page, staff that are courteous, professional and good listeners – it’s the simple things that make the difference between poor and good customer service.
Make sure every customer feels welcome and appreciated. Rude staff are not compatible with good customer service. Proper customer service training also equips all staff with the right tools for handling conflict and complaints from customers and suppliers alike.
When Your Staff Look Good, Your Restaurant Looks Good
In any restaurant, well-trained and well-presented staff are as much a part of your success as the food. Yes, really. They’re that important.
It begins by making sure that the staff hired and retained are well-trained, flexible and able to handle any situation a busy restaurant can throw at you.
When looking for staff, make sure that the job descriptions and roles for each staff member are clearly aligned. Having staff members who can multitask and step up in case of a crisis is a definite plus. Ensure that all staff brought on board have one goal in mind, which is to protect the restaurant brand and contribute to the overall success of the business.
So how do you ensure you take care of your staff and gain their loyalty? One surefire way is competitive pay and other perks. Talk to other restaurateurs about how they look after their staff. Not just what they pay but what other incentives they include in the staff package. Things like training, obviously; but also practical technology that makes their job easier and more streamlined, rewards for consistent performance, paid leave and even smart uniforms that they can wear proudly.
Good quality uniforms make your employees look good and by extension, your restaurant. And you don’t even have to outlay big upfront costs to kit them out – outsourcing to a trusted managed uniform rental service like Alsco will ensure your staff look the part every time they start a shift. Get a free quote and fast response from Alsco today or visit the Alsco website for more information.
Marketing Your Restaurant: Tell Your Story
There are clearly plenty of options for promoting your new restaurant:
- Paid advertising in local media such as newspapers, radio, TV and social media (Facebook and Search Engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo!)
- Outdoor advertising on billboards and other signage opportunities – this can be surprisingly expensive unless you can call in some favours with local landholders!
- Direct marketing such as letterbox drops with printed flyers – this can actually be very effective
- Email marketing – try to build an email list via social media by offering special discounts or coupons in exchange for email addresses – then engage with your list by offering interesting updates on new menu items, food trends, new cocktails, catering ideas, etc – use your imagination – and don’t spam them with endless promos
- Develop genuine relationships with popular food bloggers in your area – offer them interesting insights into your restaurant, your chefs, your theme, whatever – just work out how to tell your story.
Because that’s really what it’s about – telling your story. Not someone else’s. Yours.
Why did you get into this business? What has your journey been to get you here? What is it about the fusion of good food and people that gets you out of bed every day?
Why should people choose your restaurant out of all the possibilities in your city or region? What experience can you offer them that no-one else can?
That’s where a really good restaurant manager can make the difference – by making sure your restaurant’s brand is compelling – a place where people want to come to experience great food and atmosphere and be seen.
If you have a good business plan, well-trained staff that you can trust to do the front and back of their job of the house, and reliable suppliers that ensure you have exceptional produce, clean linen and washrooms – you’re half-way there.
It frees you up to get out there and tell your story.
Photo courtesy of Freepik