How to Be a Restaurant Owner

3 Important Aspects of Running a Successful Restaurant

how to be a great restaurant owner
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When you own a restaurant, your job description is endless. You're a server, busser, chef, accountant, host, sales rep, buyer, bookkeeper, groundskeeper—even a dishwasher if the person you just hired doesn’t show up for her Friday night shift. But while restaurant owners are responsible for many and all areas of operation, you should focus on three of them every day. 

Managing Your Restaurant Staff

Even a small restaurant can have a diverse staff with many different types of personalities and they all have to work 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 with your restaurant staff is not always 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 keep day-to-day life at your restaurant running more smoothly.

An employee manual can be very helpful for new staff learning the ropes of your restaurant. It should cover areas such as job descriptions, restaurant policies, dress code, and code of conduct. 

Restaurants owners tend to be hardworking people but sometimes that hard work ethic can become a hindrance if you try to do everything yourself. Learning to delegate less important tasks will save you a lot of time that you can then devote to other areas of management.

A million tasks must be done around a restaurant at any given time, from cleaning out the bar fridges to changing the menu boards outside. Sometimes, as an owner, you adopt an attitude of, "It's just quicker to do it myself." This might be true, but it can turn into a major time suck and your time is money.  

Managing Your Restaurant Finances

Depending on how savvy you are with numbers, managing your restaurant finances can be a big, intimidating job. Some restaurants employ bookkeepers or accountants to keep their books. In other restaurants, the owner does everything. Here's a good rule of thumb: If you aren’t comfortable doing your own personal taxes, you should not attempt to manage your restaurant finances by yourself.

Hiring a bookkeeper, even one who comes in just once or twice a week, can help reduce your workload and ensure that your restaurant is in the black. And even if numbers aren’t your strong point, you should always know what’s going on with your books. Ask for a daily or weekly review from your bookkeeper. Know what checks are being written and to whom.

Your kitchen staff should not have carte blanche with your checkbook just because they do the ordering for the weekly delivery. You have a budget to stick to and you must make sure that your staff knows how much they can spend as well.

You can hopefully spot problems early on before they spiral out of control if you keep track of your restaurant's finances. You can also make sure that no one is stealing from you. It isn’t a pleasant thought, especially if you have a good working staff, but unfortunately, it does happen.

Managing Your Restaurant's Public Relations

This area of managing a restaurant is often last on an owner's list of things to do but it's just as important as managing your staff or your finances. Public relations is more than advertising. It's dealing with customers, both happy and unhappy. It's keeping up with social media to reach new customers. It's creating fresh specials and menus that will keep customers coming back.

Promoting your restaurant as the best value for customers is important. Value doesn’t necessarily mean it's the cheapest but rather that your customers feel like their meal at your establishment was money well spent. 

As a restaurant owner, keeping an eye on your staff, your finances, and your restaurant's reputation are the most important aspects of running a successful business.