7 Restaurant Management Tips: Where Do You Focus?
One of the most fast-paced working environments anyone could work in is a restaurant. Fast-paced means to keep things running quickly but also smoothly. Efficiency should be a top priority. How does a restaurant operator streamline their day-to-day operations? Here are some restaurant management tips for creating and maintaining a maximum level of efficiency in your restaurant.
1: Invest in Technology
It’s easy to think that doing things the old school way is just as effective as embracing and implementing technology, but the truth is – technology can make or break your operations. With so many different moving parts and pieces of technology that a restaurant can invest in, it might be hard to figure out what you even need. Check out this blog that outlines 8 Types of Restaurant Technology and Hardware You Need. You could use everything from employee scheduling software, a POS system, guest management platforms to kitchen display systems, and more! Taking the time to investigate and determine which technology is best for your operations might take some time, but in the end, it is well worth it. The benefits of having technology in your restaurant can range from improved overall operational efficiencies in both FOH and BOH, reducing cost for restaurant operations and labor, to creating standard operating procedures and driving revenue. Investing in restaurant technology isn’t something you can simply ignore.
2: Customer Satisfaction
What keeps your restaurant doors open? Happy diners. How can you ensure great customer experience and a high level of customer satisfaction for your diners? What kind of restaurant promotions are you running? Making customer satisfaction a focus. One way to get a pulse on the level of satisfaction your guests have is to provide a survey. Many restaurants leave these on the table while the diners are having dessert. You can even offer incentives, like a discount for them to complete the survey. You can also post the survey on your website or social media accounts. Once you have plenty of responses and some good data, don’t forget the most important part – sift through the answers and find the commonalities in it. You’ll probably find some areas for improvement and some areas in which your customers are happy! Take those areas for improvement and put together a plan to make them better. Focus on making the guest experience the best it can be. For the really positive areas, be sure to share the info with your employees and shout the good news from the rooftop. One thing to remember, the customer is always right.
3: Integrate Your Technology
The notion of a well-connected restaurant isn’t out of reach; it’s the modern era after all. Having technology is one thing. Integrating it from FOH to BOH takes your restaurant operations to a whole different level. Nowadays, you can implement a POS system that integrates with your guest management system and your kitchen display and everything in between. These types of restaurant technology integrations only strengthen your operational efficiency and provide for a clear picture of the total guest experience. When you can take a bird’s eye view of one diner’s entire journey through your restaurant – the data and findings you will see can help to guide your decision making and make for a killer, consistent guest experience.
4: Focus on Data
Data is a buzzword in all industries right now. Why? Because data can provide you with the insights, you need to make important operational decisions about EVERYTHING in your restaurant. With your POS system, you can track data as it relates to sales, cash flow, and inventory. You can even identify your most popular items on your menu. With an employee scheduling solution, you can decide if you need more or less staff scheduled for different shifts based on sales reports and data. From your guest management system, you can identify key metrics that drive your FOH as table turns, guest statistics, as well as real-time and historical data on your reservations and waitlists. A great guest management system collects party information and can help drive a more personalized dining experience based on that data. With a KDS, the data you can analyze is mind-blowing! Think ticket time analysis, speed of service data, cook times, rush and priority checks, and data that show why they are in a rush or priority mode, bin metrics, and current demand counters…the data goes on and on.
5: Think Mobile
It’s no secret that most people have a smartphone attached at their hip, and they use it in all aspects of their life – including when they’re hungry. They use if for finding a restaurant, viewing wait times, booking reservations, viewing menus, and more! Is your restaurant embracing mobile? If not, this is one area that can not only drive more diners but can help create an efficient and streamlined guest experience for your diners even before they grace your doors. You don’t have to build your own mobile app either; there are guest management platforms that have done the work for you. Check out the ConnectSmart®Host (Formerly DineTime), which integrates with the ConnectSmart®Host restaurant reservation system.
6: Marketing Matters
There are many options out there when it comes to dining out. Even the best of the best still have to market themselves and keep their brand at the forefront of diner’s minds. There are lots of creative ways to drive traffic. Do you have a restaurant Instagram or Facebook page? Social media is an easy way to promote your restaurant, special menu items, promotions, and more! And the best part, it’s free to create a page. Loyalty programs offer a great way to drive traffic too. Once someone becomes a member of your program, you can send them coupons and promotional info based on their contact info you’ve collected. Another great way to spread the word about your restaurant is to attend local food fairs or events. Most communities and cities host events that allow restaurants to participate. Leverage opportunities like this to provide food samples or hand out coupons – give diners a taste of what’s so great about your establishment. There are many useful restaurant marketing tips, so give people a reason to check out your business.
7: Don’t Forget About Your Employees
This is a big area to focus on regardless of your field, but especially in restaurant management! It’s no secret that the hospitality industry has a high employee turnover rate. How can you minimize this? Well, your employees are the face of your restaurant. Their morale should be at the top of your list of things to focus on. Studies have even suggested that people that are happy at work perform at a higher level! When they are happy and doing a good job – things will run smoothly. One of the easiest things you can do is to acknowledge them. If you have someone that goes above and beyond – make sure they know you appreciate it. During team meetings, give kudos to those that deserve it in front of their peers. This type of interaction tends to drive some healthy completion too. Before you know it, you’ll have several great employees that are vying to be the best. Offer up some leadership opportunities. If you have an expert, promote them to a position that allows them to shine and help their colleagues. In the end, just make sure your employees are happy and motivated. If they are, this will translate when they are interacting with your guests, and guests will have great customer service, in addition to your great food!
If you shift your restaurant management focus on these areas, there are a few things that are for sure. One is that as the head of operations or manager of the restaurant, you’ll be less needed, and that’s a great thing! You won’t have to focus on the small, time-consuming tasks daily; you’ll be focusing on the bigger picture – how to be more profitable. And secondly, your diners will keep coming back time after time for that consistent guest experience!
If you’d like to learn more about creating a well-connected restaurant with technology, visit QSR’s Products Page. For over 20 years, QSR Automations’ has helped develop smarter restaurants with their best-in-class solutions.
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About the Author
Amber Mullaney led all things marketing for QSR. A proud Texan native, she graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Public Relations and spent her career in the healthcare industry before making the switch to QSR and beyond, saying she loves a good challenge. Amber has a long list of things she loves, including tacos (especially tacos), sweet tea, Texas, the outdoors, and traveling with her husband and two daughters.