So now you have opened your dream restaurant, have done the interior decor of your cafe and it looks fantastic. You have done the hiring, and the allocation of duties and your restaurant is up and running. And now you have to make sure that the restaurant is successful through proper management.
A successful restaurant business solely depends on the management skills applied. You may have the best venue, a fantastic menu, and the best working staff, and still fail, if you mismanage all these resources. As the owner, you must, thus, do your due diligence, and take any necessary step to make sure your cafe remains in business for as long as you are in charge. That entails incorporating all the departments of your business into a system that can easily be managed by one or two people. Remember the saying, too many cooks spoil the broth? Well, this also applies when it comes to handling your business. If you have a small humble restaurant, you may take up the role of a manager. But if you have several branches, consider hiring one for each branch who will get the work done.
Basics for Successful Restaurant Management
A restaurant business is an establishment that is made up of several building blocks that come together to create a functional business. First, we have the client who is at the receiving end of the service you have just introduced in the market. Then there is you, the owner, who opened the restaurant to supply the service the consumers so needed. Then we have the staff you employ, who serves as your establishment’s brand ambassadors. And lastly, we have the suppliers; the food vendors, furniture suppliers, among others. Starting a restaurant business is, therefore, not only beneficial to you but the community at large.
And below are the fundamentals of successful restaurant management:
1. Providing exceptional customer service
When it comes to customer service, there is one golden rule that every service rendering business goes by- the customer is always right. It should, therefore, be your number one priority to provide the best for your clients. Customer satisfaction entails lending them an ear when they need it. A well-taken care customer is bound to keep coming back and bring with them their friends and family members when they do.
It also necessitates dealing with complaints as soon as they are presented. As a manager, you must deal with the problem in the fastest way possible without causing a disturbing or implicating anyone else — quick, peaceful solutions.
Check out “4 Tips to Improve Customer Service at Your Cafe” for our guide to improving your customer service at your establishment.
2. Setting job expectations
This involves getting the right people for the job on merit. That means you have to get qualified people to fill up positions of the wait staff, kitchen staff, cashiers, baristas, and cleaners. Their credentials should be your guiding points, and any bias should be highly discouraged as it may reduce company productivity. The group of people you choose must possess interpersonal skills that enable them to work together as a team to provide the best to your customers.
3. Advertising your restaurant
Another fundamental management thing is to advertise your restaurant so that it can be successful. And this should be the common goal for anyone in your team as well. Your staff members, after your brand representation, are the next encounter clients get to interact with. And through them, the first instance of the advertising is achieved. If the customers leave your restaurant happy, they pass the word around of the greatness they have just witnessed. And in addition to word of mouth, there is the setting up of your restaurant’s website and social media profiles. And on these sites make sure only quality materials in the form of photos and videos are posted. These sites are the contact point between you and the outside world. Therefore quality must be prioritized.
Don’t miss out on our full article for advertising and branding your image. Check out “The Definitive Guide to Restaurant Branding” for more.
4. Monitoring cash flow
A manager is required to keep an eye on the cash flow of the restaurant. They must be in a position to best quantify if the money used in the business has come back as it was plus the profits. All financial issues involving the buying of inventory and the resulting meals made, should tally and make statistical sense. The monitoring is done daily; then it is summarized weekly, monthly, and finally annually. Through the reports made, the overall managerial team is in a better position to track popular foods on the menu as well as help trim food costs if the need arises.
Be sure to check out “Best POS Systems For Small Cafes” or “Tools For Tracking Employee Performance at Your Cafe” for helpful guides to monitoring activity in your restaurant.
5. Expanding sales
In the event, you would love to grow your business into a bigger one; a manager becomes your point of reference. The daily business review reports collected over a period allow the restaurant owner to view and the history of transactions for successful business management. And through these, they can easily analyze sales trends, payroll costs, and the exact customer counts. And from this angle, it puts expansions plans into a quantifiable perspective. It gives you a clearer, more detailed picture as to how much more you need to input to reach your overall expansion goals. Including food, equipment, and staff members.
The usage of promotions to increase sales is also adopted. Such advancements include happy hours, two for one’s, price reductions, and meal coupons at certain times of the day.
6. Cutting costs
This is one of the remedies to increase sales and putting what you already have into better use to reduce overall expenses. Cutting costs cover anything that will reduce your expenditure. That includes the water or the electricity bill and the most apparent food wastage. It goes without saying that when less food is wasted, most of it is utilized in making food, therefore profitable. To lower your electricity bill, you may switch to using energy-efficient bulbs and kitchen equipment. And install sensor operated taps to minimize wastage of water. You should strive to use all methods possible that are eco-friendly too.
Check out our piece on “Best Small Business Apps for General Productivity” to see the best apps you can get to maximize productivity at your establishment.
7. Proper staff management
Your employees are one point that your clients and potential investors look at. They are a vital building block that must be managed in the best way possible. And how you treat them is a clear indication of what your business is all about. If you treat them with respect and honor, they deserve they reciprocate by offering exceptional service to your customers. But if you mistreat them, your standards are bound to drop as they lack morale. And to ensure they perform the best, practice the following;
State clearly what you require of them
From the get-go, each member of your team must know how they should conduct themselves around their colleagues and your clients. A strict code of conduct must be adhered to, and if one defiles it, punishments, suspensions, and terminations are the likely result. Each employee is vetted through an interview where primary education and work requirements are confirmed. But the character is monitored while on the job. And assessment tests are taken periodically to test for their product knowledge alongside their work ethic. Respect, proactiveness, professionalism, integrity, and sportsmanship must be the virtues they stand by.
Learn how to optimize activity and see real results from your staff in “Everything You Need to Know About Workforce Optimization“.
Have productive staff meetings
To establish a strong team, you need to create a functional structure where you delegate extra duties to some employees to oversee some things you may not get to yourself. These include employee welfare where they hold meetings among themselves to air out their concerns and give suggestions to what they may do about it. And if they cannot be sorted on the ground, they are forwarded to their superiors.
Short meeting at the beginning of each shift could also be a great way to enhance teamwork and employee interactions. Encourage them to have fun during such sessions to set a happy tone by telling jokes or start a culture where they share something funny about their day.
Create a healthy competitive environment where your staff members get to work towards earning rewards for their excellent work. Such incentives may include giving them the title of employee of the week, month, and even the year. And attached to these titles are gifts such as free meals, movie tickets, vouchers, bonuses, discounts and extra vacation days, among others.
While handing out these rewards, make sure that you give credit where its due and avoid being a bias toward a particular employee. What this will do is create hostility among your staff and an overall reduction in productivity. But if the right people are awarded, your restaurant team will grow stronger and even more competent.
Make a point of knowing them individually
Companies or businesses that do exceptionally well have one secret that governs them. There is mutual respect and that the staff members take time to find out more about each other. It goes beyond being teammates and goes in the direction of creating a new family unit. A superior in such an environment is prompted to, therefore, go the extra mile into knowing the staff members on a more personal level. Such as the hobbies they love, the talents they possess, and more on their private lives. A leader that checks up on your kids or asks how your mum is doing is bound to have a very great team behind him. This intimate touch goes a long way into creating stronger bonds.
Encourage a fun working environment
Working in a restaurant is not as staunch and strict as working in an office that you have to forgo sharing a joke with a colleague or your clients. Teammates that always laugh together will work with a better attitude and are more productive this way. Some food franchise teams have melodies that they occasionally sing and dance to as they serve their customers. Any client that gets to experience this will, for sure have a laugh and even take the initiative to learn the words and sing along the next time the employees burst out into singing. This is a fantastic way to entertain the kids that come into the restaurant.
Don’t miss out on “Easy & Cost Free Employee Engagement Ideas” to see fun ideas for gathering your troops daily.
Address issues once they present themselves
Conflicts between employees are inevitable and may arise once in a while. And if they are left unsolved, it may result in worse situations where the afflicted start fighting. Unfortunately, this fight may even erupt in front of the house where workers start shouting at each other or engage in a physical altercation and end up tainting your brand. In some cases, someone may end up hurt in the process. It would not be a good show on both the employees themselves and the manager, especially if the issue had been ignored.
For this reason, once bad blood is seen between staff members, it should be resolved as soon as possible. Conflict resolutions must be done in peaceful ways and should be overseen by a neutral party behind closed doors to keep the matter private. No one else has to be involved.
Listen to them
Staff members who feel like their opinions are of great importance to the restaurant growth work better. Listening to your employees does not only necessitate listening to their issues alone. But also involving them in critical decisions that may or may not affect them. You could ask them to give their opinions on how the menu should look like, or inquire about promotion ideas that they think may work for the restaurant. Not only should this be a one-time thing but a continuous activity. This can be further encouraged where you install a staff suggestion box to gather open-ended suggestions from your employees.
Dress them in good-looking uniforms
It is undisputed that when you dress good, you feel good. So much so, you need to dress your employees in attires that they are comfortable in and ones that make them look approachable. Gone are the days you had to cover your wait staff in the dull black and white. Today you may explore and use multiple colors and different designs. The sky’s the limit, and because you are the boss, what you say goes. You should choose something that looks great worn by any body type, height, and skin tone. You may even have several uniforms, each for a different day.
Take a look at our guides “Learn How to Effectively Manage & Coach Teenage Employees” or “How to Motivate an Employee Who’s Underperforming in Your Café” to see examples of listening and connecting with your employees.
8. Proper inventory management
The stock must be handled well for successful restaurant management that must be handled well is the stock. This includes all the foodstuff; fresh or canned, all the furniture plus all the pieces of equipment. Everything in the restaurant must be documented and in specific details- size, numbers, and conditions. And below are some of the ways to get your records right all the time.
Take inventory by hand
Taking stock is recorded best when it is done by hand, and one must never rely on memory. You only record it when you see it. Guesswork is not only unprofessional but could be inaccurate, and that may cause discrepancies in numbers. Taking down seen stocks will give you a better perspective into how your business is consuming the capital you get. Through the day-to-day records, you can easily quantify your expenditure, and it helps you to plan for the future.
Delegate the duty to someone specific
Too many cooks indeed spoil the broth, and that is why you only delegate this duty to only a few members of staff. Having one or two people doing the stocks eliminates inconsistencies. Both records are then compared side by side for accuracy.
Maintain a consistent schedule
Inventory recording must be taken at a specific time of the day for a more accurate record overall. Ideally have the inventory taken after every shift, such that the outgoing employee records what is left behind. This gives insight on which times of the day consumption is at a maximum and those that use is less.
Follow the first in, first out method
To avoid massive wastage, the FIFO technique is employed. The initial batch is used first and the newer one after. Labeling of the containers by date of expiry can significantly help in the identification of the installments. Another smart way to do so is to arrange them systematically. The newer batch goes behind, the older one so that it is utilized first.
Wastage in the restaurant business is inevitable. Sometimes the batch you received goes stale before it is used, other times accidents happen and someone drops a plate. The pieces that do not get consumed must be thrown away, but before that is done, they must be recorded down. Remember they are still part of the inventory, used or not. The wastage sheet must include the name of the ingredient and the quantity being disposed of. The items that expire while in the store must also be documented.
Use the past inventory to make future orders
Through the previous catalog, you can quickly quantify which shift needs what quantity. Which makes it easy when you are taking orders for those specific shift days. You are also able to make cutbacks if the wastage keeps happening. You also get to see what you need to order more of next time. This practice ends up saving you a coin or two and prompts you how to use your stock better.
9. Proper financial management
The number one reason we get into business is to make money and earn a living. Then second comes to offer service and lastly to make a difference in the community. And financial management it the cheery on top of the cake. If you do not take care of your finances, you are doomed. So much so, you should consider taking any step possible to ensure they are well managed even if it means employing a financier to do the needful. Even so, the points below will guide you into achieving your money matters better.
Manage the day-to-day expenses
To better manage the daily expenditure, you must have a streamlined inventory track record and an accurate everyday sales reconciliation. These two documents will help you know which days sell the best and which have less income. Combination of the two, therefore, gives you insight on the day-by-day expenditure.
Oversee marketing costs
Marketing costs entail the funds used in the advertising of your business. Such that if you use printed media for advertisements, the value must be well handled. To better quantify if the cost is worthwhile, the sales before and after the prints are compared. And if the after is higher, more cash can be designated to that area, but if they are the same or lower, the funding is directed elsewhere. Social media, however, is a little or no cost venture that only requires small fees for the design of the posts and the promotional costs. Regardless, each penny that goes into the marketing must be accounted for.
Cutting back on expenditures
As a restaurant manager or owner, you must do anything within your power to ensure the business is successful by applying proper management skills. And most importantly, make sure the company is bringing in profits in sales. So after footing has been established and the market has been running efficiently, cutbacks could be a great way to maximize your purchases on the same budget.
Cutbacks do not mean the quality of your service goes down; they are intended to make you more efficient and spend less. Changing the brand of the napkins you use to cheaper ones is one great way to cut back on costs. Small unnoticeable changes could mean saving, as little as it is. Changing to cheaper suppliers is another way to save up.
Sorting out extra fees
Finances of your business go beyond the stock and licenses acquiring, it also includes the payment of your employees who help you in the restaurant. Their payroll must be included in the financial structure, and their salaries must well compensate them for the work they do for you. You must also include the insurance fees for both your staff members and the business. Having these fees is a requirement by law. Another vital fee you also have to make sure is well paid are your taxes.
Setting aside emergency funds
Lastly, you must have cash put aside in case of an emergency. In case a staff member gets burnt or falls and gets hurt during their shift, they have to be rushed to the hospital. And this funding will be of significant usage here without interfering with the sales money. Additionally, if you run out of packaging bags or napkins, you may send for them in a supermarket before your supplier brings in your order. Remember that all these expenditures must still be recorded for accountability and the receipts kept for bookkeeping.
Thank you for reading with us today about the definitive guide to restaurant management! Be sure to check out similar articles to assist you in having the most efficient business you can have like “4 Tips on Selling Merchandise in a Restaurant” or “How to Schedule Employees at a Restaurant or Cafe“.
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