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Tips On Successful Restaurant Management

Updated on August 7, 2012
Tips for successful restaurant management
Tips for successful restaurant management | Source

Tips For Successful Restaurant Management

Managing a restaurant is hard work. In my nearly 20 years in the industry I have worked in every position imaginable from dish washing to general manager. In that time I have made uncountable errors and have learned from each one. I have since transitioned into restaurant consulting, a career where I can use all of the talents and skills I have honed over the years. Below you will find tips on some of the key areas I have found that often need to be addressed.

Consistency Is Key For Restaurant Management

Consistency is the most important tip I have for restaurant managers. Consistency will make your job so much easier. Having a plan or system in place and then sticking to it will build trust and respect for you as the team leader. Inconsistencies in policy and operation will lead to discontent among the staff. Everyone needs to know what is expected from them and what they can expect from you. When they come to you with a problem or a question they may already know the answer and merely need you to confirm it.

Systems and Restaurant Management

Having systems in place is a crucial element of successful restaurant management. Systems outline the operation of the restaurant and can range from how food is ordered to how the dining room is set up and the schedules are made. A good system is easy to follow and repeatable by any reasonably competent employee. With good systems in place the restaurant will function much smoother and it is easier to slip new people into vacant positions. If you rely too heavily on the knowledge or efforts of one person to produce results you will be left in need when they are no longer available. Good systems will also help with training, foster a positive work environment and ensure consistent operations.

What To Avoid In Restaurant Management

A restaurant, no matter the size, is a large job and way too much for one person. As a manager you will need help in the form of assistant managers, chefs, sous chefs and staff. Create a thorough job description for each one and create a system for them to work within. Once you have created the systems and then hired the right people to fill the necessary positions, allow them to do the job they were hired for. For general mangers this means letting your dining room and kitchen managers do their work. If you manage them too closely you will get lost in the details of each job and potentially lose a good employee. Remember, as the manager it is your responsibility to make sure that your employees have all the tools they need to operate, not do the work yourself.

Managing A Restaurant Schedule

Managing the restaurant schedule is one of the toughest tasks of successful operation. Restaurant managers may be required to coordinate anywhere from 10 to 200 or more individuals with the function of the establishment. My best advice in this regard is to stay active, be consistent and keep records.

  • Back of the house - scheduling the kitchen is easiest part. In general, cooks are full time employees that need and want to be at work. Problems you will find with this half of the schedule include needing time off and not getting enough hours. It is good to have a core staff the includes salaried managers and lead positions, then fill in the gaps with seasonal or part time help. The key is team building, get the crew to have a good time at work doing a good job and the kitchen will function smoothly. IIt is worth the effort to seek out and hire the right staff.
  • Front of the house - Scheduling the servers can be a little trickier. For the most part front of the house staff are part time employees. The front of the house is a great place for people to find temporary and part time work because it is flexible, pays well and does not take up a lot of time. My best advice is to keep a large staff; it is far better to have too many when it's slow then too few when it's busy. Stay active with hiring, look ahead and plan for busy/slow seasons and maintain a training schedule.
  • Training - Training the staff helps to maintain consistency through systems and standards. Regular group training, incorporated into the schedule, will encounter less resistance, foster team effort and ensure consistency of service. Training is good for the front and back of the house and the two should train together. Often times during the group sessions new ideas come out that can help the restaurant improve operations.
  • Keep Records - Keeping good employee records is a bonus to restaurant managers for a number of reasons. Records help provide an objective view of an employee; a record of positive and negative employee actions is a useful tool, not to mention there are some legal requirements to consider as well. A good employee record is also useful to managers reviewing requests for raises or punitive action for policy infringements.


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    • Marsei profile image

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      I thought this was informative and useful to anyone starting a new restaurant. I've been in a lot of different small businesses and consistency in service is vital. I thought this contained much good information. Voted up.


    • unvrso profile image

      Jose Juan Gutierrez 5 years ago from Mexico City

      Very informative hub! My mother once established a little restaurant; however, for lacking management control that little business went to bankrupt. Voted up! and useful!