Managing a restaurant correctly is key to ensuring its success. Following these helpful tips can help you to overcome issues and increase profitability at your restaurant.
1. Consistency is key
No two days in a restaurant are the same. New, unfamiliar situations can arise almost out of the blue. The worst thing a manager can do in that kind of situation is take an inconsistent approach to how they respond to and resolve issues.
Consistency needs to be maintained over the following:
When it's Friday night, you're short-staffed, over-booked and one of you suppliers has not arrived, the only thing your staff will have to rely on is you and your calm headed leadership. Being consistent will help them to remain focused and handle high stress scenarios.
2. Proactive people prosper
In business, change comes fast. You need to work proactively to stay ahead of the curve, instead of being reactive. A great manager works in the future, not in the current moment, for managing decisions such as:
- Spotting consumer trends
- Updating technology
- Marketing campaigns
- Staffing needs
- Menu changes and updates
If you’re not proactive, you won’t manage the restaurant, it’ll manage you.
3. Be a great all rounder
As a manager, the more actual experience you have in working the business the better you will be in problem-solving when something goes wrong. Not only this, but staff members respect a manager who knows the business from the ground up.
Be a manager who isn’t afraid to get your hands dirty, who knows how the kitchen operates, what the cooks are dealing with, the stresses of the servers. Talk to your employees about what they do and why they use the methods they use. You’ll gain respect (and knowledge) from your employees and have a better foundation for making decisions that affect them and the customers they are serving.
4. Improve the customer experience
More and more people are eating out instead of cooking at home, turning mealtimes into social events and chance to see friends instead.
There are obviously practical reasons why people would prefer to eat out (e.g. don’t want to cook at home because of convenience issues). But it is much more than just convenience.
Eating out isn’t just food. According to the National Restaurant Association, 56% of surveyed adults said they’d rather spend money on an experience than simply go to the supermarket for the weekly grocery shop. Far from just managing the preparation and delivery of food, a restaurant's role has grown to include managing the customer experience.
It’s easy to get caught up in the obvious - good food and efficiency - but if you fail to address the overall experience your diners are having, you miss the big picture. Managing customer experience involves a mix of ambiance, cleanliness (toilets especially!), friendly staff, fair prices, unique food, and even no-fuss no-wait seating. If people are willing to pay to eat out because they are looking for experiences, a grumpy server or 40-minute wait at the door won’t impress.
5. Take word-of-mouth seriously
The most popular way people choose a restaurant is by word-of-mouth from friends (78%). The second most popular? Social media. These are essentially the same - they originate not from your message (what you control) but what other people say about you.
Online reviews matter. Have a social media presence matters (as long as you can manage it well). Making a unique and memorable experience that gets people to talk about your restaurant matters. Offering something which few other restaurants are offering matters (think discounts). Monitoring what is said about your restaurant on social media matters.
And remember, word-of-mouth can go both ways. It can be positive, or it can be negative.
6. Invest in advertising
A restaurant can’t grow through word-of-mouth alone.
You will still need advertising. You need signs, you need social media ads, you need online ads— advertising is especially important in a competitive market or when you are a new restaurant.
As a manager, the trick is to establish a meaningful budget and stick with it (this means don't go over, but also don't go under, your budget). Obvious? Obviously! But a smart advertising budget is built on gathering data that fits the needs of your restaurant. You have to be gathering necessary data. That includes:
- Demographics (Who eats at your restaurant? Advertise where they are. Social media ads can work well and have fantastic audience targeting capabilities).
- Discounts/promotions (Including peak times and seasons)
- Food trends
That kind of data is useful for many of the decisions you make about your restaurant, but it’s vital if you want to avoid throwing money away on thoughtless advertising.
7. Look after your staff
According to a recent survey, 46% of restaurant managers and owners said that hiring, training, and then retaining staff is their number one challenge.
Not the obvious issues like sales, inventory or keeping up with trends. Staffing.
Make staff retention a priority. Constantly replacing staff is a huge expense; in an industry that already has tight profit margins you simply cannot afford to be training new starters every week. Experienced staff members are more efficient, and great staff members are invaluable to a business. Customers regularly choose between two similar restaurants based purely on the quality of service they receive.
8. Look after yourself
After all of the usual managerial tips, this last one is the most forgotten: take care of yourself.
Let’s be realistic: restaurant work is hard work. A restaurant manager isn’t sitting at a desk all day. She’s out there on the floor, in the thick of it, doing long hours, standing on her feet, ensuring that every aspect of the business is running smoothly.
It’s tiring. And physical weariness can lead to emotional and mental weariness.
Take care of your health, and stay fit. In the long run, your staff and restaurant will thank you for it.
9. Look for a mentor
Many of the best tips and advice you receive will come from someone who actually has experience in the industry. Our final tip is to find someone who’s already been there, done that and got the t-shirt. If you can’t find one in person, find forums where managers are asking and sharing.
Using the Stevie can take a whole lot of pressure off restaurant managers. We can help eliminate the stress associated with many things - brand awareness, reputation and footfall, whilst inevitably increasing revenue.
Our revolutionary app makes it easy for diners to pick a great place to eat out, and drives traffic to restaurants like yours. We have now launched nationally, there couldn't be a better time to join. Give us a call today on 0207 183 3205 and see what we can do for your business!