When you own a restaurant, your job description is endless. You're a server, busser, chef, accountant, host, sales rep, buyer, bookkeeper, groundskeeper, and maybe even the dishwasher if the person you just hired doesn’t show up for the Friday night shift. But while restaurant owners are responsible for the entire operation, there are just three you should focus on every day.
Managing Your Staff
A restaurant staff consists of a diverse group of people working together under one roof and in one kitchen. Managing the front of the house and the back of the house, smoothing out conflicts, and dealing with all the other issues that arise is not easy.
Learn to communicate your expectations clearly to your staff and set ground rules and disciplinary actions. It's not fun, but sometimes it's necessary and it will help your restaurant run more smoothly.
An employee manual can be helpful for new staff just learning the ropes. It should include detailed job descriptions, restaurant policies, dress code, and the code of conduct.
Training your staff properly means you don't have to get bogged down in the details. Learning to delegate saves you time for real management issues.
Managing Your Finances
Here's a good rule of thumb: If you aren’t comfortable doing your own personal tax returns, you should not attempt to manage your restaurant finances on your own. Hire a bookkeeper or accountant to keep the books straight.
A part-time bookkeeper can reduce your workload and ensure that your restaurant is in the black.
But even if numbers aren’t your strong point, you should always know what’s going on with the books. Ask for a daily or weekly review from your bookkeeper. Know what checks are being written, for how much, and to whom.
If your staff does the ordering, make sure they have a budget and stick to it. You need to be able to spot problems before they spiral out of control.
Managing Public Relations
Public relations is not just about advertising. It's dealing with customers and listening to them, both the happy ones and the unhappy ones.
It's keeping up with social media to reach new customers and alert regulars when you have something new to promote.
It's creating fresh specials and new menus that will keep customers coming back on a regular basis.
Promoting your restaurant as the best value for its customers is important. Value doesn’t mean it's the cheapest but rather that your customers feel that a meal at your establishment is always money well spent.