If I had $1 for every restaurant owner who’s asked me, “What should I have my restaurant managers do,” I would be a multi, multi-millionaire. If you’re wondering the same thing, I’m going to answer this question for you. I can’t wait to shine a spotlight on what you should be expecting from your restaurant managers on a daily basis.
So what should you expect from your managers? It’s an important question because to run a successful restaurant, you have to have managers. A lot of restaurant owners tell me they’ve tried bringing people into management only to watch them fail. I want to help you build up your management and prevent them from failing.
Here’s a great outline of the four areas to pay attention to make sure anyone on your team is ready for management. This is what to require from your restaurant management team.
1. Restaurant 101: Hot food hot, cold food cold, and a clean, safe work environment for the guests and employees. Someone ready for management understands the importance of delivering both WOW customer service and an incredible product. I believe restaurant owners and everyone in the hospitality industry is in the business to make memories for others. Hospitality is key and Restaurant 101 is great hospitality. This includes staffing and product consistency.
Your managers should know how to staff properly so every shift is successful. You don’t want too few staff or too many, and you don’t want a shift full of rookies.
Managers have to know how to prepare for the day with prep lists in place every day. Ninety-nine out of 100 times, when your kitchen falls down, it’s in the middle of a rush and you run out of something like diced onions. Someone has to leave the line and cut onions and you fall behind for the rest of the shift/day/night. And now you fall behind forever.
Your managers need checklists to follow to ensure safety and prevent product waste/loss.
Your managers train your team every day, whether it’s a pre-shift or an absolute training system or retraining training. Thorough training is the only way to deliver the same experience every single time. This means everyone knows what their job is, how to do it, how well it should be done, more importantly, by when.
Managers have to manage the flow like the tide coming in and going out. They have to be that extra body from greeting guests as the tide comes in to taking orders, to working the expo, to delivering food, to busing, to dropping tickets and greeting them on their way out. Managers have to understand the flow of the business and manage the floor now.
2. Checklists and cash controls: Create a culture where the details matter, from what things look like down to every penny making it to the bank. This is where checklists are so important to running the restaurant. Managers ensure all checklists are complete by the end of every shift. If they allow people to go home without doing their side work, they have to do their side work for them. Now, it doesn’t take too many times for managers do somebody else’s work until they finally don’t let people go home without doing it. This is an important culture piece: establishing a close to open protocol. Every shift closes 100 percent ready to open, so managers have each other’s back. This way no one walks into the restaurant to open and starts behind because the restaurant wasn’t closed properly.
Managers make sure every penny makes it to the bank, counting drawers, counting out servers if you have server banking and no server can be short. They have to be even or over. Managers double check the master bank and petty cash and that when that deposit goes to the bank, that is exactly how much money should be going to the bank.
3. Budget: they need to execute every day on budget. Managers have to schedule on budget based on how many dollars they have, but also how many hours they have by position next week to go into the week on budget instead of bringing people in and praying sales will meet the expectations. They also have to purchase on budget. Tell them how much money they have to spend and precise limits on how much they can spend without your approval (this is all part of my Restaurant Checkbook Guardian system that allows you to give up ordering without giving up the checkbook and stay on budget). They manage your cash just as much as they manage your costs. They also need to know how to make corrections to get back on budget when things don’t go as projected. Every week isn’t going to be perfect, so if labor was high this week, or your cost of goods sold was high this week, your managers are in charge of developing the plan for how to get back on budget in the next week or so. This is proactive management.
4. People management: restaurant managers must hold team members accountable. When your employees are trained what their job is, how to do it, how well it should be done and by when, and they demonstrate to you they can do it on their own consecutively, you can now hold them “answerable” to their obligations. When you have a strong training system like this, it’s your employees deciding whether they’re going to do their job or not or be answerable for the resulting consequences. Once they’ve proven they understand their job, which takes them out of training, they’re telling you they can be relied upon. Managers have to hold everyone accountable/answerable.
A big part of people management is understanding that every employee learns differently and has different preferences for learning and different motivations for working. When a manager can identify what’s unique about each employee, they can push that specific button to get the most out of an employee and motivate them to do their best.
Your managers also have to make sure everyone feels appreciated. That doesn’t mean everyone is looking to be liked. Most people want to feel like they’re part of something bigger, that they are contributing to the business, that you care, that they’re on the team and they make a difference. This is what an employer of choice does, and your managers are a huge part of ensuring you are an employer of choice. If you want to attract people and keep them longer, your managers have everything to do with your staffing problems or your victories.
Ultimately, if you want your management team to be a proactive team to make sure your restaurant delivers every step of the way every single day, you must make sure your managers are covering these bases.
David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert who teaches restaurant operators how to cut costs and increase profits with his trademark Restaurant Prosperity Formula. He’s taught thousands of restaurants how to use operational systems and create a hospitality-based company culture to skyrocket their profits.