Managing a restaurant means balancing the needs of customers, while ensuring all employees are properly taken care of, so they can do their jobs properly. Truth be told, it’s one of the most challenging jobs in the world. You're the captain of a ship facing a daily storm. You must walk a fine line between being looked up to and respected and being seen as an unreasonable and irrational person.
So how do you drive that restaurant to new heights of performance and profit, while making employees happy and increasing their trust in you? Well, there's no one simple answer. Instead, we have a series of tips for restaurant managers to help them become loved leaders in an industry known for pushing people to their limits. Here are our top tips for restaurant managers, now go forth and lead your team to success!
Tip One: Learn the Different Roles
Nobody likes being told what to do by someone who obviously has no idea what it's like to do the said task themselves. That’s why restaurant managers frequently train new employees in all the different job roles of a restaurant, from washing dishes and prepping plates to seating guests and serving tables. This provides insight into the often-confusing dynamics behind a given issue that an employee has. Also, the employees will show more respect when they see that, yes, the manager really knows what they're feeling and has been there themselves.
As a restaurant manager, don’t let your learning of the various roles end after your training either. Take the time to watch new dishes prepared in the kitchen, find out about new ingredient sourcing and preservation issues from the kitchen staff, and learn from the wait staff about how customers are reacting to them. Learn, learn, learn is the mantra here. Why? Because when you have to make that split-second decision on the floor in the middle of the rush hour, you want to be well informed and well respected because you know what's really going on.
Tip Two: Be Consistent
Aspects of the restaurant world tend to change fast, sometimes with lightning speed. If an employee made a mistake because they followed a rule you made, take the heat for it. You're the leader after all. If you're not consistent, then no one else will be. When it comes to employee discipline, you must also be consistent. If you made an employee take a day off for a specific action, you must enforce the same punitive measures when others do. Why? Because nothing lowers morale than a manager that plays favorites. Nothing makes people ignore the rules more than a leader they can't count on to enforce them the same way across all fields.
You also need to be consistent in both your communication style and expectations. We understand that a particular waiter might be better at dealing with certain situations than other waiters. But, if you constantly expect more from one staff member than another, you're cutting out any chances of improvement. People change over time, skills are learned, and patterns are re-patterned. The best way to ensure changes head in the right direction is to be consistent in the way you communicate your desires and express your expectations. Anything less is like a ship lost in the wind.
Tip Three: Be Proactive
One of the worst mistakes a restaurant manager can make is to try to address problems after they've already occurred. This is called learning the hard way. It might be necessary for your teenager, but it wreaks havoc in a restaurant or food industry environment. Staying ahead of the curve, seeing problems before they happen, and anticipating trends and events ahead of time is what will make you a highly sought after and highly rewarded restaurant manager. Staff and customers are rarely aware of certain needs ahead of time. If you're on top of the game, you'll also be on top of their appreciation list.
Suppose you know a particular special requires specific cutlery that day, like steak knives or crab pickers. Go ahead and make sure they're stocked, clean, and available before the shift starts. Everyone will love you for it. You know reservations are tighter than usual because it's a big day like Valentine’s? Make sure you have something to entertain guests while they wait extra time for a table. Restaurant managers are responsible for both the big picture and the small details. The more proactive you are about both, the better the restaurant experience will be for everyone.
Tip Four: Implement Fair Policies
Fairness is to restaurant work what grease is to automotive mechanics. The lubricant that keeps things running smoothly. It's also one of the best ways to improve staff retention. The number one reason people quit is not money, but the concept of whether they're being treated fairly. Fairness also happens to be at the heart of the customer satisfaction nexus. You can make many mistakes, as long as they're done out of true ignorance, rather than a desire to get over on someone. But the minute the customer feels they're treated unfairly or somehow cheated, no matter how small the actual issue is, you'll face their ire.
One of the points of conflict and contention that plagues the restaurant industry is the issue of tips and how they're distributed. While restaurants have different tip pooling policies and ways of sharing among employees, making sure these policies are followed correctly is often the real issue. That’s why we created the proprietary software behind TipHaus. We have an easy-to-use, yet dynamically complete system that gives restaurant managers and owners deep insights and control over how tips are shared, pooled, and redistributed. At the same time, our unique app gives employees real-time transparent information about tip distribution and provides them with tools that allow them to share and access their funds.
The end result is powerful trust-building technology that also saves your restaurant or food industry business time and money. Contact us today for a free trial of TipHaus!