Restaurant manager

Restaurant Management: Everything You Need to Know

Conal Yarwood-Frost
1 Dec 2022

No matter who you'd ask, nobody in the restaurant industry would say that restaurant management is an easy job. Balancing the two very different personalities of the front and back of house could be a full-time job in itself. Not only that, restaurant managers need to provide an exemplary customer experience and handle the financial risk of running a hospitality business.

Restaurant management requires a number of different skills to ensure that daily operations go smoothly. There is some skill overlap with other types of hospitality management such as bar management and fast food management. With this being said, restaurant management is an entirely different animal.

Some the best restaurant managers sometimes aren't even the restaurant owner. All they need is confidence and practical know-how to run the day-to-day of the business. Even than the head-chef or the restaurant owner, these plucky individuals usually stand between failure and success.

If you're a restaurant manager looking for tips on improving your practices, you're in luck. In this blog, we've compiled a list of some good restaurant management tips that you can incorporate into your daily operations. With this list, you'll be able to reach restaurant success!

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What does a restaurant manager do? 

The role of a restaurant manager is quite self-explanatory. The job is to ensure that the restaurant they work in or own operates effectively, keeps their customers happy, and works to improve or maintain the restaurant's reputation. Their responsibilities extend across the entire restaurant and they will often be the main link between the front and back of house.

In the restaurant hierarchy, they are often placed behind the restaurant owner and the head chef. This is not the case in cafe management and franchise restaurant management, where they are generally placed ahead of the head chef.

Depending on the size of the restaurant and the amount of staff they interact with, restaurant managers can be very hands-on with their team and their customers. In larger restaurants, it's not unusual for managers to spend most of their time in their offices. In turn, managers of smaller restaurants will be much more involved with practical restaurant operations.

Why are restaurant managers important?

The restaurant business is full of big personalities and specialized work. Between the chefs, the porters, and the wait staff, many restaurants could quickly fall to ruin without an effective restaurant manager. Restaurant managers are the glue that holds the entire team together and ensures everyone has the tools they need to get their job done.

Effective restaurant management is essential to proper business operations. Directing daily operations falls to the head chef or restaurant owners without a skilled worker who knows how to manage a restaurant. Anyone who's worked in the restaurant business can tell you how quickly that can lead to disaster.

Tips for success in the restaurant industry

As we mentioned above, the job of a restaurant manager is not an easy one. Considering the scope of their job and the amount of plates managers need to keep spinning, it can be easy to get burned out. To help avoid that, we've compiled a list of helpful management tips that will help managers streamline their restaurant operations and make them more effective at their job.

Invest in a comprehensive training program

While everyone pays attention to the owner and the head chef, your line staff are the real lifeblood of a restaurant. Without them, no dish would ever reach the customers' plates. The better trained your staff, the better service they'll be able to offer. As part of effective restaurant management, you should be investing in training programs for your staff that improves their skills.

For chefs, this training should target their cooking skills. Discuss what needs to be improved with your head chef and coordinate tasks and training that strengthens the needed skills. Friendly cooking and knife skills competitions could be an engaging way to keep your cooks' minds (and knives) sharp.

In a full service restaurant, your wait staff will be interacting with the general public hundreds of times a day. Training programs that target their serving and social skills will go a long way to helping them improve. Well trained waitstaff should be able to skillfully present plates while also providing an enjoyable customer experience.

Show your staff you care

Employee turnover is a big problem in the hospitality industry. Restaurants can be very stressful places to work and some staff members see hospital jobs as "stepping stones" on their way to something better. 

These factors can make retaining employees very difficult. Luckily, using smart employee management techniques, you can retain your current restaurant staff and ensure you hire employees that you know will stick around.

The main thing you can do is build strong professional relationships with your restaurant staff. This means getting to know every one from the head waiter to staff in entry level positions. Even though you're running the restaurant, you're in the same boat with your employees. Ensure your employees know their job expectations and feel their concerns and suggestions are being heard.

You also need to ensure that your staff feel valued by restaurant management. This means recognising extra effort and helping staff along when they struggle. While one of the job expectations of restaurant work is changing shifts, you should try to adapt to your teams' holiday requests and sick days whenever possible. Flexible scheduling software, often found in restaurant point of sale (POS) systems, can be very helpful with this.

Always remember, a happy team member is a productive team member. Keeping your staff happy will make them take their job more seriously. The more dedicated they are, the better your customer experience will be.

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Implement seasonal menu items

Making the same dishes day-in-day-out is a great way to keep your regular customers happy. With this being said, it does mean that your restaurant could find itself in a rut. The hospitality industry is fast moving and runs on innovation. In this sort of environment, a comfortable rut can quickly become poisonous.

Seasonal menu items can be a great way to bring something new into the restaurant while still serving the same great food. Have a sit down with your head chef and see what you could add to the menu each season. 

You can coordinate with local farms and producers to get fresh ingredients and implement a farm to table pipeline. This will also help you improve public relations by building strong professional relationships with local businesses.

Take control of labor and food costs

Behind insurance, food and labor costs are the biggest regular expenses for your business. The restaurant industry is full of small hidden costs that can quickly add up. As the manager, it's your job to ensure that your restaurant's operating costs are sustainable. In many restaurants, the role of restaurant management is entirely concerned with the financial side of things.

Generally, keeping food costs and labor costs at a sustainable level is down to planning. Take a good look at your cash flow and identify areas where you can either streamline the process or cut the cost outright.

Sit down with your chef and go through your menu pricing item by item. Are there any dishes that aren't selling very well? Are there dishes that could be made more cost effective? Working with your chef to streamline your menu is a great way to cut costs. It may also be worth evaluating your wholesalers to see if you can find cheaper ingredients elsewhere.When cutting food cost, be careful to maintain quality!

Reducing labor cost can often be achieved without having to cut jobs. Ensure that you're scheduling an appropriate amount of staff per shift. Training a new staff member is more expensive than retaining old employees, so maintain good professional relationships with your team.

As we mentioned above, the true key to cutting costs is planning. With this in mind, take time each month to plan the budget down to the last carrot (always give yourself a little wiggle room for unseen expenses.) By sticking to this budget, you'll be able to maximize your profit margins.

Use effective restaurant management tools

Tracking sales and inventory management is a big part of a manager's job. Traditionally, this would be done manually and would take hours that could have been better invested back into the restaurant. For many restaurant managers, the vast majority of their time would have been spent with these tedious admin tasks.

Using digital tools found in a POS system can automate these jobs, saving you time and effort. Systems like the Epos Now Restaurant Solution come with advanced inventory tracks and sales tools that are designed to meet the needs of modern restaurant management.

With an Epos Now system, managers can identify sales trends and see exactly what's coming in and going out. Their POS system will then automate and collate their sales data and create insightful business reports. These reports allow managers to get a bird's eye view of the business and make monitoring cash flow as simple as pressing a button.

Inventory management is a key aspect of restaurant management. A good manager should have a good grasp of every piece of food and beverage in the building. Epos Now systems allow managers to track their inventory levels in real-time as food preparation occurs. This cuts down on food waste and improves cash flow. 

Get involved with restaurant marketing

One of the ways restaurant management can increase sales is by having a solid marketing plan in place. Restaurant marketing is how your customers find out about you and is vital to future sales.

Your social media should be the cornerstone of your marketing strategy. Social media marketing is free (unless you decide to pay for a targetted ad) and is a great way to get your restaurant's basic concept out there.

Most restaurants will maintain a presence on Facebook and Instagram though it is not uncommon for them to also have a Twitter. Facebook and Instagram focus on videos and images so they're great places to show off your food.

While social media is important you shouldn't focus your entire marketing efforts on those platforms. There are plenty of ways you can market your restaurant, including local newspaper paper ads, special promotions, and community outreach.

Your marketing can also be used to make your customers aware of changes at your business. For instance, if you're offering online ordering or there's been a change in the menu price, you can advertise it to your customers using your marketing channels. Advertising your customer satisfaction ratings on review sites can be a good way to entice diners into your business.

However you market your restaurant, it's good to be aware of how other restaurants market themselves. By checking out the competition, restaurant management can see what your competitors are doing wrong and what they're doing right. With these insights, you can build your effective marketing strategy.

Foster a fun environment

As we've mentioned above, keeping your team happy is an important part of restaurant management. While no business is fun all the time, you should be doing your best to provide a good work environment. If your team are excited to come to work each day, they're more likely to provide great service and improve customer satisfaction.

Sit down with your staff and make sure you're all on the same page. Communication is key here and good communicators will find it a lot easier to manage a restaurant. Come up with ways you can improve the working conditions of the restaurant together and ways you can build better relationships.

For instance, if your staff are working long shifts, a free meal to thank them for their commitment goes a long way. You may also offer special pay rates if your staff need to work weekends or overtime.

If you have an active workforce, team activities can be a great way to get to know each other and bond, A word of caution, however; it's important to make these activities optional. Nothing saps morale more than "forced fun" and your staff won't appreciate it if you make them give up their own time for an out-of-hours activity.

The best in restaurant POS

Now that you have some great restaurant management tips in your toolbox, it's time to invest in a power restaurant POS system. Restaurant management can be difficult to get right, and the right POS gives you the tools you need to succeed.

Epos Now has been providing businesses with retail POS and hospitality POS for over a decade. Their POS system helps streamline restaurant management and allows businesses to reach their full potential. Their specialized systems are also available to help with retail management, kitchen management, and store management.

Their systems come with payment processing services, lightening-fast transactions, and a suite of award-winning integrations that make restaurant management a breeze. There's simply no better option for retail and hospitality businesses.

If you're interested in seeing what Epos Now can help your business, get in touch with our team of POS experts below.

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