Running a restaurant is a dream that many share, but running it successfully is a reality not many can do, especially when you’re new to the roles. We’re here to tell you five things to do when managing a restaurant (though some of these tips can be applied to managerial roles in other sectors and industries!)
The first thing we’d suggest is not to cram the menu. A lot of managers still try to dictate what options their diners get, and there is normally a little too much for choosing. Talk with your chefs, collaborate, look at the trends and collectively decide on key meals you’d like to feature. Remember that though you are in charge of the restaurant, the chefs are in charge of making the food at the highest quality; having to produce 13 different starters in the same evening will reduce both their focus and the quality.
We’d recommend to try and limit your dishes to 7/8 per section. Not only will this help the chefs truly perfect the cuisine you have to offer, but it’ll put the customers at ease. When there are too many options, it can be difficult to choose and really stick to one meal, sometimes resulting in an “I’ll have what she’s having” comment to the waiter. Have a quiet menu and let the food speak for you. If you really want to offer more give the option to customise some of the meals to cater better for your customers and let them have a more unique experience; if that fits your restaurants vibe.
Train your staff! Though you’re running the show, the chefs, waiters, hosts and bartenders are the ones that will interact with your customers, meaning that they have that moment of interaction to determine whether or not these people will return. Ensure that they know the ethos and way your restaurant works and train them to make anyone that walks through the door feel welcome and well looked after. Train them to see it not just as a restaurant, but an experience.
Become a leader, not a boss; this comes under staff training, encouragement and also micromanagement. It is good to care a lot, but the second your staff feel micromanaged they will feel less trusted and that won’t help the environment of the restaurant as you and your employees moods will reflect on the business. A successful restaurant is the result of a hard working manager and their team. When you micromanage or bark demands, it can make your staff feel underappreciated; if there’s a problem for example, instead of saying “this is wrong, this is why and this is because of this person”, approach it with “how can we make this better?” Teams don’t stop as soon as they reach management level, encourage growth and become a team player.
Being on social media to promote the restaurant is good, but actually being social is even better. Your customers are the core of your business, if it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t have the funds to manage your restaurant in the first place! Make a habit of checking comments and reviews daily and make sure to take the correct approach so that regardless of how negative or positive comments are, the customers still feel cared for. If you come across a bad review, no matter how defensive you feel, remember that customer retention and care is key; reply appropriately, hey, they may even have a good point or suggestion. But being social doesn’t just stop there – if you have regulars, try and make the effort to get your staff on board with remembering their names and faces, possibly giving them the occasional free coffee or one of the last deserts before closing. Give your customers a reason to come back. Remember that though restaurants are business, they aren’t corporate, robotic businesses. It’s nice to be social!
Lastly, keep learning and never stop. Trends and preferences are forever changing, veganism, sustainability, zero waste…they’re all very topical right now and will not be going away for quite some time so it’s best to learn about these things and see what you can do to make people aware that you are interested, trying, and not afraid to be transparent about how you’re learning as a business. Culinary trends change so frequently, if you stick to the same ways, you may not always get the same good results. Encourage your staff to learn, talk to consumers and work together to bring something new to the food and beverage industry! Learn new ways of management when things don’t seem to work anymore, after all we all want to grow.
If you want to learn more about the last point, we have a blog about bringing sustainability to your restaurant here.