Running a restaurant is hard work. Food and beverage is one of the toughest industries to be in and the stress and competition can easily take their toll on you and your restaurant staff. Running a successful restaurant requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work to keep the day-to-day operations running smoothly and the food is often the least of your concerns. With the right strategies and a bit of effort, you can elevate your restaurant operations and set the table for success. Here are a few tips that may help you take your restaurant operations to the next level.
Invest in Facility Management
Many restaurants lose sales because they fail to maintain their facilities properly. This is especially true for larger establishments that have a lot of square footage to cover.
Major kitchen assets such as refrigerators, freezers, ovens, and even ventilation systems need to be cleaned and maintained regularly to ensure everything is functioning efficiently and safely. A faulty refrigerator could mean thousands of dollars in lost groceries and a broken HVAC system may force you to turn away customers in the middle of peak service hours.
The best way to manage your restaurant assets is to implement a digital asset management strategy. Facility management software can help you identify which assets are being utilized the most and help you plan preventative maintenance to keep them in good working order.
Restaurant reservations are a big part of the business, and you need to make it easier for customers to make reservations by giving them several convenient options.
In addition to providing traditional phone and email booking options, you can also set up an online reservation system on your website that allows customers to make reservations directly from their smartphone. This makes it quick and easy for customers to browse available seating times and make instant reservations. You can also use the online reservation system to collect customer contact information and send them email newsletters to promote special offers and events at your restaurant.
If you do not want to invest in complicated forms on your website, certain platforms and apps will list your restaurant and help you to handle online reservations for a small service fee.
Streamline Orders & Payments
Online ordering and mobile payments have become essential conveniences for many customers in recent years. Just because you run a physical restaurant does not mean that you cannot take advantage of these technologies.
One way to expedite orders in your restaurant is to allow users to place their orders directly—either from their smartphone by scanning a QR code or by using a tablet with a digital ordering system. Of course, you should always have physical menus and wait staff to handle less tech-savvy customers, but offering digital options is a great way to speed up ordering and prevent your wait staff from getting orders wrong.
In addition, you must also make it easy for customers to pay by accepting a variety of payment options. Many restaurants integrate their ordering and payment systems so diners can pay at their table using their credit cards or e-wallet apps. This reduces time spent waiting for the bill and frees up your tables for other diners.
Focus on Standard Operating Procedures
SOPs are very important in the restaurant business as they help establish consistent processes and guidelines for your front and back of the house employees to follow. These can include anything from safe food handling standards to how long wait staff should spend at each table. Standard operating procedures ensure that all staff members know exactly what is expected of them during each shift and how they should handle different situations that may arise.
Proper training is also an integral part of effective SOPs, and you should take the time to educate any new employees in your restaurant before they are allowed to start work. A comprehensive set of SOPs should be readily available in both the front and back of house in the event that a staff member needs clarification or further instruction.
Reduce Employee Turnover
Employee turnover can be a big problem in the restaurant industry because new staff members typically need a lot of training before they can do their jobs effectively. To help address this issue, you should develop a mentorship program that is designed to help new employees get on board quickly.
But, you can avoid this problem completely by retaining your existing employees. The best way to do this is to ensure that they are satisfied with their jobs. You can improve job satisfaction by providing better compensation and opportunities for advancement. Recognize that food service is a high-pressure environment and do your best to make your employees feel appreciated and supported. Try to schedule longer rest breaks and provide opportunities for your team to relax and unwind together after a long day.
Technology is helping to make some of the hardest parts of running a restaurant easier. Through digital asset management and online booking and payments, you can make your restaurant run like a well-oiled machine. However, do not forget to incorporate a little of the human touch and spend time building a team of employees that will keep your front and back of house working smoothly even on the busiest and most chaotic of days.