It’s a complex topic—one that can’t easily be broken down. It requires the constant juggling of many tasks, and the leadership skills to earn the respect of your employees. Nowadays, restaurant owners have even more on their plates to manage, with financial uncertainty at every corner, thanks to COVID.
Luckily, these challenges can be overcome with the right restaurant management in place. Here are five tips to help you achieve better success with your restaurant management:
Engage with staff
When you work in a restaurant environment, the staff becomes a family. Late nights, hectic schedules, and a lot of time spent together will always build camaraderie between employees. Your staff can either come together under your leadership, or they can exclude you. It’s your choice, depending on how you interact with your staff.
There is a fine line to walk between being a boss versus being a friend. The trick is to be a mentor. Get to know your employees and treat your staff members as individual people. Treat them the way you want them to treat your customers and lead by example. Listen to your employees when they complain about issues, and try to sort them out the best you can.
If you don’t have the bandwidth to get to know them each personally, organize a few team-building events and treat them every now and then. Try to build your schedules based on their needs and automate it with scheduling software that’s built into your point of sale. This helps them improve their work-life balance and shows you care. When they feel comfortable and taken care of, they will be more likely to work with you, rather than against you. This means fewer employee issues, more cooperating, and better customer service.
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Disorganization is the root of restaurant waste. The best solution for solving disorganization and reducing restaurant waste is by investing in the right tools. When restaurant managers have the proper tools, such as an integrated point of sale system, at their fingertips, day-to-day operations are streamlined and processes are more efficient.
Take, for instance, your online ordering software. If you use a separate online ordering system that isn’t integrated into your POS, you could run into disorganization when it comes to inventory counts. Ingredients from online orders won’t be deducted, so you may not know when an item runs out until after the order has already been placed, requiring your staff to reach out to the customer and ask for an alternative order. This results in disappointed and dissatisfied customers. Something no restaurant can afford in these uncertain times.
Many business owners have one goal in mind: profit. If this is your sole focus, you will struggle to stay in control. You will make decisions with short-term profit in mind over long-term restaurant sustainability. Needless to say, these decisions won’t be good ones. You’ll try to expand your business before you have the resources and experience in place to actually handle that growth. Or, you’ll cut corners to stretch your inventory and labor farther, and inevitably sacrifice quality. Your customers will notice, and they will take their business elsewhere. Don’t get greedy.
Pace yourself. Gain the discipline you need in order to maintain your growth. Review your long-term historical data and view how your business fluctuates over time, so you can better forecast needs like inventory and labor. You can also forecast potential growth and use the data to plan ahead for expansions.
Reviewing data can be one of the most boring parts of restaurant management, but it is necessary to stay in-the-know by reviewing it regularly. This can help you identify bottlenecks or potential issues before they arise and solve them head-on with smart strategy and the kind of confidence that only comes when your decisions are backed up by data.
A point of sale solution that offers quick and easy-to-read reports will be a lifesaver. Don’t allow data mining to be a chore. Find and implement a POS solution that makes it as efficient as possible.
Engage with your customers
A successful restaurant requires a solid marketing strategy. You need to get the word out about your business and market your brand in a way that brings customers in and focuses on what they really want.
Engage with your customers using a variety of platforms like social media, email, and loyalty rewards programs. It’s important to reward your loyal customers for their continued business since most of your revenue comes from your regulars. Public platforms like social media also allow you to keep an eye on the competition and see what they do that’s working for them.
It’s important to understand customer behavior so that you can determine what their desires are. Find out what type of experiences your customers crave by seeing where the money is. When are your busiest hours? Do customers prefer dine-in or takeout? What promotions do they respond well to, and what menu items are their favorites? Use data from your POS to answer these questions, and then adjust your strategy as necessary.
Have the right technology in place
Many of these strategies aren’t practical—or in some cases, even possible—without the right technology. Invest in a high-quality POS system that has the right tools to help you manage your restaurant effectively, like access to your data whenever and wherever so that you can stay in-the-know even when you’re out-of-office. Make sure you have access to the historical and real-time data you need, with controls to help you view the bigger picture or dive into details. All of this data should be integrated so that you can share it across systems and gain better accuracy.
NCC offers these high-quality solutions. We understand what it takes to operate a restaurant, and offer a combination of technology and guidance to help you fully realize your restaurant’s potential. For more information, contact an expert at NCC today.