It can be difficult to know where to start when you are new to restaurant management. You will be responsible for managing community outreach, mediating staff conflict, crunching inventory numbers and meeting customer expectations. All this while making sure that both front and back of the house runs smoothly. Restaurant managers must have a wide range of skills in order to succeed, from prioritizing to delegation. We are here to help you!
These tips will help you feel more confident in your next step in this fast-paced business.
1. Make sure your employees feel valued
Restaurant turnover is an issue. The average tenure for a restaurant employee is two months. It is generally more expensive to train new members of the team than to keep those you already have. Additionally, it can take up to an hour to interview, follow-up and train them. What are some ways to keep your employees motivated and happy?
Start an “Employees of the Month” program if you don’t have one. To celebrate their accomplishment and encourage others to do the same, make sure that the winner receives a gift card or bonus check. Open-book management can be used to encourage loyalty and transparency among your employees. Open-book management is when employees are made fully aware of the company’s financial information and profit sharing. This can make your staff feel valued and more appreciated by you as a manager.
It’s a good idea to give employees a free meal if they work double shifts or to give them a gift card for the holidays. This will encourage them to do a great job. It is possible to offer incentives to employees who stay with your company for a certain amount of time. For example, you could give them a gift card or eat for three, six, and a year. You can offer monetary incentives, or a priority on your schedule or a free monthly dessert.
2. Refresh your menu with seasonal changes
While having signature dishes is great for keeping customers coming back, it’s also a good idea to change things up. It doesn’t take much to update your menu each season. This allows you to collaborate with local farmers and suppliers that grow different fruits, vegetables, and herbs depending on the season.
Peaches and zucchini make great additions to salads or appetizers in summer. Winter vegetables like carrots and Brussels sprouts can add a lot of flavor to an entree or side-dish. You can save money on transport costs by using seasonal ingredients that are local to your kitchen.
3. Marketing is a complex subject.
Part of running a restaurant is to help customers find you. A solid restaurant marketing strategy is one of the best ways to achieve this. Particularly social media is great for restaurant marketing. It is either free or cheaper than traditional marketing channels like print ads or television commercials. It’s also relatively simple to maintain a strong social presence.
A well-maintained Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn presence is a smart thing. Each platform has a different ideal frequency, but it is recommended that you post at least once per week.
Once you have mastered the art of regular posting, make sure to engage with customers who comment, like, or message your posts via these channels. This is a great way to communicate the brand’s feel, make your fans feel special and be authentic. Paid social media ads can be used to increase brand awareness and reach specific audiences if you have the budget. These ads are also easy to track, which is a win-win situation.
4. Encourage employees to be prepared for the unexpected
The old saying “The customer is always right” is often used in the restaurant industry. It can be difficult to do depending on the customer’s attitude. It’s vital to make sure your diners have a pleasant experience.
Your staff should be able to answer questions about dietary restrictions and menu modifications. You should teach them how to respond to angry customers or those who are out of line. Also, make sure they know how to handle people who arrive at your restaurant 10 minutes before closing time. Managers of restaurants have to deal with it all. The more prepared you are, the better.
5. Host events
You as a manager are directly affected by the revenue generated by your restaurant. Are you looking for innovative ways to boost your bottom line? If you have a semi-private or private dining space that can accommodate eight people or more, let your higher-ups know. If you are struggling to achieve your sales goals, events can quickly fill your calendar. You can host events only during the hours you are normally closed or slow if you are concerned about meeting the needs of both regular customers and events.
You’re just starting and need to generate some initial interest by offering introductory deals.
- Customers who rent your space for a weeknight will receive a discount
- Book a party within the first 3 months of your event program’s launching. Get 10% off
- If a client refers to you within the next three months, send a gift card or a bottle of champagne.
You can add a page to your website that contains the most recent event information and photos from previous events in your space. This page can also be used to show that your space is suitable for many types of events, such as rehearsal dinners, birthday parties and corporate events. To encourage diners to hold events in your space, you could slip a piece of paper with event information into check presenters.
6. Track sales and inventory more easily
Restaurant managers often have to do some number crunching as part of their day. You must track sales from events and dining reservations, as well as keep track of food and bar inventory, customer counts and payroll costs. A point-of-sale system (POS) can help you organize this information. You can manage your online orders, change menus and forecast future sales trends all from one place, depending on which type of system you choose. Cloud-based POS systems allow you to work anywhere, not just at your computer.
We understand what you are thinking. Manual inventory can be tedious and time-consuming. Technology has made it possible to automate inventory management, which can save you time and increase margins.
7. Enjoy fun promotions
A happy hour is a great opportunity to increase sales if you live in a state where it’s legal. People who want to relax and meet up with friends or coworkers for a quick drink before going home are best served at happy hours. These happy hours are usually held on weekdays from 4-7 p.m. To entice customers, come up with some easy-to-make appetizers and drinks that can be discounted. You can even create complete happy hour menus.
To increase awareness of your brand, you can also partner with deal sites (such as Groupon). This will bring more customers to your restaurant and encourage them to tell their friends. Special promotions have been a success for many restaurants.
- Sporting events
- Themes specific to each city
- Pop-culture references (a Stranger Things-themed cocktail for its latest season? Yes, please.)
8. Online reviews are important to be aware of
You should keep an eye on your restaurant’s reputation as a manager. Did you know that online reviews and word-of-mouth are two of the most important factors in deciding whether a restaurant is right for them? Your online presence can be greatly improved by knowing how to gain and leverage positive reviews, while also making a positive impression on customers.
Check your Yelp and TripAdvisor pages, and then go through the reviews of your customers. You can make word of mouth positive or negative. Keep an eye on it daily and check reviews (and respond when necessary) to get a better understanding of how your brand is perceived.
9. You can save money wherever you can
Restaurant managers are responsible for monitoring cash flow. You can show that you are doing a good job by helping your company save money. For example, you can:
- You can suggest switching to more efficient light bulbs, provided it doesn’t compromise the dining room atmosphere.
- To save water, replace your faucets with low flow faucets.
- Your back-of-house staff should be aware that the dishwasher should only be run when it is full. If they are running out of dishes, this is a different issue.
Consider your menu as an area that can cut down on costs. Is there anything that isn’t selling? Take them out and click “refresh” to refresh your offerings.
10. Find a mentor
It is not an easy task to run a restaurant. Partnering with someone with experience in restaurant management is a great way to help you navigate the process. They’ll be able to share their knowledge with you, from how to handle angry customers to the best ways to train your staff to keep them happy. The internet is your best option if you don’t know anyone you can talk to on a regular basis about how to train your staff. You can ask other restaurant managers for their help by joining Facebook groups and forums.
11. Have fun at work!
Experts stress the importance of building relationships with your team and making sure they feel valued. While no workplace is perfect, it is important to have fun. However, employees who are dreading every shift may not be productive. Perform casual pulse checks and listen to your team’s opinions about their job experience.
There is no perfect manager, and you can’t be ready for every unexpected problem that may arise at your restaurant. There are some strategies and traits that you can use to make sure your employees and company benefit.