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10 Keys to Good Restaurant Management

  1. Don’t make sweeping changes unless you have no choice.

Smaller, long-term changes are always better for both staff and customers. It gives them time to work out kinks and get used to changes. Having a new menu, new POS systems, and new policies can be confusing for everyone. All it does is invite chaos that usually doesn’t end in smiles and tips.

  1. Help clean up.

Managers who are willing to help staff are always going to be more respected and appreciated. Allowing a busy server to wait on a table and bussing the table yourself, even as a manager, is a great way to demonstrate to your staff that you understand their concerns and are trying to help.

  1. Thank your staff – and don’t expect them to thank you in return.

People like to be appreciated, and when you thank your hard-working staff for all they do, it not only encourages them to want to keep working, it also builds loyalty, both to you and to the restaurant. They are more likely to do a good job when their motivation stems from internal satisfaction rather than money or “just getting the job done.”

  1. Listen.

Staff members may be trying to tell you something that you are unwilling to listen to. If you just toss orders around and expect them to be followed, you’re in for a surprise. Servers probably know what’s happening on the floor better than you do, just like your cooks know what’s happening in the kitchen better than you do. They can tell you if equipment is broken or a procedure is creating more problems than it’s worth.

  1. Ask staff what they need to be successful.

It’s possible that solutions to many of your restaurant problems have already been brainstormed by your staff. They are in a great position to provide suggestions about what can help them do their jobs better, and they’ll be motivated to give helpful, reasonable suggestions if they think you’re willing to work with them on it.

  1. Keep detailed records.

In order to make your restaurant as pleasant and efficient as possible, you’re going to need to know what works and what doesn’t. Keep track of scheduling, mealtime rushes, and food inventories, so you can refer back to your records when you’re making decisions.

  1. Solicit feedback.

Don’t just ask your customers if they liked the meal. Ask them what they’d prefer, ask them what went right and what went wrong. And don’t limit it to customers, either. Ask your staff what’s working in regard to everything about their job … and about your management. You can even make it anonymous. And here’s the key: be prepared to act on the feedback you get, even if it stings a little.

  1. Check on food waste.

You’d frankly be surprised how much food gets wasted during preparation. With food supply costs consistently rising, you need to make sure to stretch your food inventory as much as you can, and eliminating or reducing waste is one of the easiest ways to do so.

  1. Make sure systems are working properly; if not, be prepared to replace them.

This, of course, applies to kitchen equipment, but it also applies to POS systems, cash registers, order-taking policies, websites, phones, and more. If you’ve had an “out of order” sign on your soda machine for a year, you need to either get it fixed or get rid of it. If you’ve had a figurative “out of order” sign on answering the phone, it’s time to get a new system. Reachify can help make phone calls easier to manage, by deflecting many of them to online actions like ordering and directions, and only forwarding the calls you need to take. Let us show you how.

  1. Find a work-life balance.

This is a well-known but under-utilized tip. It’s very, very easy to let your whole life and all your waking hours be taken over by the business. There is so much to do and never enough time to do it, especially if you find yourself covering a shift or dealing with never ending emergencies. Make a plan for when you’re not available, and enforce it. Don’t let employees contact you in your off-hours unless there is literally no one else who can handle whatever happened. Allowing yourself time to rejuvenate and recuperate away from the restaurant not only reduces the stress in your life, but it also helps you be better prepared to deal with the job. This is a must!

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