Everything You Need to Know About the Basics of Restaurant Management

Tips for Effective Restaurant Management

Restaurant manager talking on the phone
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Effective restaurant management involves several different challenges, such as public relations, inventory, dealing with staff, and customer service. Sometimes a restaurant owner doubles as the manager, but sometimes this is a separate position.

Either way, a strong manager is an essential component of a successful restaurant—he or she is usually the person who handles both the staff and customer issues. Here are 10 things to keep in mind whether you're tackling the job yourself or overseeing someone else who's doing so. 

The Customer Is Always Right 

Always. It's the golden rule of any business. Even if you disagree with a customer’s complaint, how you handle the situation will determine whether the customer comes back. 

Restaurant Job Expectations Should Be Clear to Staff

From the waitstaff to the house kitchen staff, finding the best person for each role will help your restaurant run smoothly. 

Restaurants Need Advertising

Advertising is a big part of restaurant management and it's come a long way from newspaper ads and radio spots. Social networking offers a low-to-no-cost way of promoting your restaurant. 

Watch Cash Flow Closely

Cash flow is the amount of cash coming in versus the amount of cash that's going out of your business, and it should be monitored on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. If you don’t understand this basic concept of restaurant finances, you'll put yourself at great financial risk. 

There Are Many Types of Different Restaurant Promotions

Promotions can range from a nightly happy hour to prix fixe menus to two-for-one dinner specials. Settle on one or more that best suit your clientele. Do you normally welcome a bunch of singles after a hard work week or is your place more popular for romantic get-togethers? 

Catering Can Expand Sales

Restaurants have a built-in catering clientele in their customer bases and they already have all the resources: food, equipment, and staff. You can probably easily expand into catering large and small events

Track Restaurant Sales

A daily business review report allows restaurant managers to build a history of the business. It can help analyze sales trends, payroll costs, customer counts, and to predict future sales. 

A POS System Can Help 

Point-of-sale (POS) systems allow restaurant owners to track sales, cash flow, and food inventory. This can greatly simplify day-to-day restaurant management and help to trim food costs and payroll, as well as track the popularity of menu items. 

Update Your Menu Regularly 

The price of food can change frequently, so the cost of running your business will change as well. It’s important that restaurant menus have prices that keep food costs low and profits high. 

Small Steps Can Save Restaurants Money

Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and low-flow faucets are just two ways that restaurants can save money, not to mention the environment. Look around your establishment for hotspots you're pouring more money into than you have to. 

The Bottom Line 

Managing a restaurant involves many different responsibilities, from hiring and firing to tracking sales and basic accounting. There are lots of tools available to help you manage a restaurant easier, and a good restaurant manager is able to delegate tasks and know when to ask for help.