No matter how long you’ve been in the restaurant business, it’s helpful to pause every once in a while and reflect on where there’s room for improvement. These four restaurant management tips are a good starting place for owners aiming to advance their business.
- Banking on the Bottom Line
A great restaurant is not only about great food but about producing great numbers, too. You can ensure the long-term health of your business by focusing on three areas:
- Managing inventory. Sounds obvious, right? Most point of sale (POS) systems feature inventory management modules that can help you avoid being over- or understocked on your ingredients, ensuring peak freshness and keeping spoilage to a minimum. Your grass-fed sirloin, Gruyère, and organic heirloom tomatoes cost a pretty penny, after all. POS systems can be programmed at a certain threshold to reorder items so that you never run out of important products.
- Monitoring sales. Are you dialed into your sales trends? Keeping an eye on how sales rise and fall provides vital information about which promotions are working, which menu items are popular and which days, weeks, and months of the year see the highest or weakest demand.
- Reducing to shrink. Restaurants large and small are affected by shrink. Again, your POS system can shed light on how shrink plays a role in your business. When data on ingredient inventories from your POS is out of sync with the amount of actual product you have on hand, that’s one potential clue that there may be holes in your inventory controls.
- Planning Pays Off
One of the most important restaurant management tips is to plan as much as possible. By looking ahead you may be able to foresee and stave off potential problems, such as running out of the wine you have scheduled for a weeknight promotion or ending up short-staffed on your busiest night of the week. Planning also helps you to right-size your staff schedules so that waiters, cooks and more see little idle time on their hands.
- Respect Your Staff
Remember that your employees are among your most valuable resources. A list of restaurant management tips wouldn’t be complete without a reminder to build relationships with employees that help them grow professionally and work efficiently. Be sure to treat them with respect and show them how much you value their talents, contributions and abilities. When they offer feedback, take it into consideration and even incorporate suggestions where appropriate. Workers who see that they’re really a treasured part of the team will be more likely to stay motivated and loyal to your business, and work even harder to make your restaurant great.
- Listen to Your Customers
Perhaps the oldest mantra among restaurant management tips is that the customer is king. It was true 20 years ago and it’ll be just as true when your grandkids inherit the business somewhere down the line. After all, it’s the customers, and their valuable repeat business, who keep your lights on.
That said, pay careful attention to customer sentiment, as this is perhaps the best barometer of your restaurant business. Are they satisfied with your service and fare? What are their top complaints? What are your online restaurant reviews like, mostly positive or somewhat mixed? You cannot afford to ignore what customers are saying, especially your most loyal patrons.
How you respond to customer feedback makes all the difference. Promptly address problems as they arise and do everything in your power to make things right. Everyone makes mistakes but a willingness to please the customer will go miles toward fostering goodwill, spreading positive word of mouth and providing a great experience with each and every visit.
These restaurant management tips provide a great refresher to ensure your business rises to the top of the pack — and to keep the competition from eating your lunch.