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The Basics of Restaurant Management

Restaurant managers can achieve their goals by implementing effective strategies and hiring the right staff for their operations. These are the basics of restaurant management.

Managing a restaurant entails many different duties and activities. Effective restaurant management strategies aim to meet customers’ needs while maintaining efficient and sustainable operations.
If you are new to the food industry, there are many things you will need to keep in mind before taking control of the reins of a food operation. These are fast paced environments where mistakes are often costly, so you will need to do your best to avoid being caught off guard by hurdles and challenges. Great management practices usually develop from experience, however you can always speed up the process by learning about the restaurant industry and all that managing a restaurant entails. Let’s look at the basics of restaurant management.


Managing a restaurant during COVID-19. 

What does restaurant management include?

When managing a restaurant, you will need to oversee day-to-day operations as well as look after the establishment’s long-term well being. To do this effectively, managers will need to stay on top of the following activities:

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    Setting and meeting the restaurant’s goals
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    Understanding the business’s finances and planning strategies accordingly
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    Hiring, training, and allocating restaurant staff
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    Following the right approaches to marketing and promotion

Setting and meeting goals

Restaurant owners often task managers with meeting goals such as generating a certain amount of revenue or profit within a specified amount of time. Following this, managers can revise their strategy to meet the intended goal. Alternatively, restaurant managers can set their own goals related to customer service, food quality, marketing, finances, and employee productivity.


Setting the right goals involves a good understanding of company values, as your goals should align with what customers and staff expect from the establishment. For example, if your restaurant prides itself on offering healthy food-options, your future strategy should work towards providing customers with an even greater variety of natural and nutritious menu items.


To learn more about setting goals check this blog post here on why it is important to set goals. 

Understanding restaurant finances

You can’t create a future strategy for your restaurant without a firm understanding of its finances. When you first take control of the establishment, you will need to monitor its cash flow. Determine how much cash is coming in and how much is leaving on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

This will also allow you to identify areas in which costs can be cut and other areas where you may be able to spend more. This process could be as simple as swapping out the restaurant's light bulbs for more energy efficient ones to lower the electricity bill.

Some restaurant managers cut costs by monitoring the performance of their employees and adjusting their schedules so ensure that excess labour isn't present when it isn’t required.

Restaurant managers may need to handle some marketing duties

Hiring and training staff

Hiring the right staff is crucial when you are managing a successful restaurant. You should ensure that each new employee understands the standards and values of your establishment. If nothing else, these hirees should have a positive attitude and an eagerness to learn.


Managers should also be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each staff member so that they can be allocated to the right position. Someone who has experience prepping ingredients in a line-cook position may not fare well in a customer service oriented role. Conversely, someone with serving experience may not be very efficient at food preparation.
Training staff is also critical, as it brings them up to speed with how operations are run. Managers should create a standard procedure for training employees so that each one is on the same page. A good strategy is to ask existing employees to train new hirees and teach them the ropes of the operation, with the manager offering a helping hand in training every now and then.


It can be tempting to assume that employees with previous restaurant experience will pick up things without training; however, this runs the risk of new staff performing activities in a manner that interferes with the duties of existing staff. Restaurants can be stressful environments, and dealing with a conflict between employees can be especially problematic when in time-critical situations.


Managers can avoid such situations by clearly defining the role of each employee and explaining what duties each one is responsible for. Management should also be approachable so that employees feel comfortable going to them for advice regarding problems before they impact operations.


7 Tips For Hiring The Right Staff For Your Restaurant.

Marketing and promotion

Small restaurants rarely have the marketing teams that organizations in other industries possess. This places more responsibility on the manager, as marketing and promotion should never be neglected.


Your marketing efforts should be steered towards building sales and meeting goals. For this reason, creating a good marketing plan is vital. Some common marketing goals include:

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    Increasing sales by a certain date
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    Pulling in more customers at a particular time of day
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    Becoming more widely known in your area

You should also have a good understanding of your restaurant’s target audience. These are people who are most likely to visit your restaurant regularly. It may be helpful to create a buyer persona that helps you visualize the ideal customer. This will enable you to come up with strategies for marketing to them.


Managers should ideally work with marketers to create and execute effective marketing strategies. The results of these plans should be closely monitored for the purpose of fine-tuning their marketing approach. This is an important step, as implementing the wrong type of plan or marketing to the incorrect audience could waste valuable capital.


Profit margins are already slim in the restaurant industry, so managers need to ensure that the limited resources they have are used wisely.


As you can see, the average restaurant manager has many different duties to oversee. The success of your restaurant hinges on how well you are able to manage each task.
Working in the food industry is a unique experience that catches many new managers off guard. However, with enough time and effort, you should be able to get the hang of things. The key is to learn from your mistakes and maintain a positive attitude. Your staff and operations will depend on you, so you need to be reliable in these situations

Want more restaurant management tips?

Check out our blog to learn more. Our restaurant consultants also offer services for restaurant owners and managers.

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About the Author

Massimo’s career has grown up through the restaurant world, starting as a waiter through to high-end restaurant openings within an operational management capacity. This depth of experience has allowed him to understand the business from both a guest’s needs to what a team needs, giving him the benefit of an all-rounded view and approach to problem solving.