Being a restaurant owner is hard work. The long hours and the many hats you have to wear can really take a toll on you and your business. When you are stressed out and exhausted, you might let things start to slip affecting the quality of your food and service. It can feel like a thankless job at times, but if you have the passion and drive to make your dreams come true then you will find a way to balance it all.
Here are some tips on how to run your restaurant better.
Streamline as much as possible
While you never want your restaurant to feel like a factory, there are some valuable lessons you can learn from the factory floor. Even if you pride yourself on made-to-order fresh dishes, there will be some things in the restaurant that can be streamlined to achieve higher efficiency. Especially if you have a smaller staff size, it is important to develop systems that make daily operations run smoother so there are no inconsistencies in food or service or any behind the scenes managerial oversight. Take some time to really analyze the work flow at your restaurant and see where changes can be made.
Never lose focus of your endgame
You started your restaurant because you had a passion for good food and for an enjoyable dining experience. Unfortunately that endgame can get lost among all the details that go into running a restaurant. If you feel like you are putting out little fires all day long instead of focusing on the quality of the food and service, then you need to take a deep breath and find a way to delegate more so you can focus on what is most important to you as the owner.
Provide good service every time
Nothing is worse for a restaurant than bad reviews. It is extremely important that you provide consistently good food and service every day because if you get bad or mixed reviews, people will be unsure of coming to your restaurant because they don’t know what kind of service they will get. Of course everyone has a bad day or two every once in a while, but it needs to only be a little blip not a constant problem and you need to apologize and make it up to the customers that are affected. If you find that you do have a consistency problem, then you need to get to the root of the problem before you start to lose business because of it.
Don’t forget the little details too
While this may seem counterintuitive to the tip above about never losing focus of your endgame, the little details still do matter. The banking, finances, bookkeeping, and payroll are all important parts of your restaurant’s foundation. While your food and service is what keeps customers coming through your door, these details are what keeps your restaurant functioning so you can deliver that bigger picture. How can you serve your award-winning shrimp gumbo to your customers if your electricity is shut-off? The key is to find a way to handle the details while also still keeping your eye on the quality of food and service in your restaurant.
The customer is always right
Especially when you are a chef-owner, it can be difficult to hear criticisms and complaints from your customers. Don’t let your ego get in the way of how you treat your customers. Listen and acknowledge what they have to say and do your best to give them a more pleasant dining experience. You have no restaurant without those customers coming through your doors so pleasing them should always be your number one priority.
Build a team who shares your same vision and goals
One person cannot make a restaurant great. You need a staff of hardworking and skilled people to help you carry out your vision and goals. It is not always easy to find the right people for the job you need done, but if you persevere and try to cultivate the ones who share your passion and are willing to learn the business, you will build your winning team in no time.
Be willing to spend money to make money
In the restaurant business, you need to be willing to spend money to make money. That doesn’t mean splurging on all expensive things, but it does mean not skimping on quality. You should always get the best food, materials and staff your budget will allow. Your customers will be able to tell if you try to pass off a poorer cut of meat or are trying to make do with just one waitress in a busy dining room. Not only will you lose customers because of the lack of quality in food and service, you will also lose employees who are tired of being treated like workhorses.
Always have an emergency fund
While it is most crucial in the first six months of opening your restaurant when you are still getting all the kinks out, it is good to always have an emergency fund set aside to help when profits are lean or for when you are hit with unexpected repairs or hikes in prices of your ingredients. Every restaurant goes through some low times, the key to survival is to have enough money to keep your doors open until you get your restaurant back on the winning track.
Never stop reaching for the stars
The most important tip, however, is to never stop striving to do better. If being a successful restaurant owner is your dream, then never stop reaching for the stars. Work harder, work smarter and don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things to improve your food and service. Innovations in the kitchen, in the dining room and even in your advertising can help you build a strong brand. Just make sure you don’t switch things up too much that you lose the customers that have stuck by you from the beginning.