21 Restaurant Management Tips for New Owners and Managers

21 Restaurant Management Tips for New Owners and Managers
December 17, 2019 Levi Olmstead

Restaurants can be especially challenging to run, as small businesses go. 

But if running a successful restaurant is your dream, going for it will be worth the risk. As a decision-maker, you’ll need to juggle responsibilities across all branches of your business while managing the day-to-day operations of your team.

What is Restaurant Management?

Restaurant management is the practice of tracking all aspects of a restaurant and tying back what is and is not working for your business’s bottom line.

Restaurant management typically requires an owner to also act as the restaurant manager, managing everything from marketing, to customer service, to staff and inventory decisions. With such a broad array of daily tasks, many restaurant owners and managers will lean on their restaurant POS system to help manage the process.

22 Restaurant Management Tips

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you begin tackling important tasks like creating your business plan and assembling your inventory. 

1. You’ve Gotta Be In It To Win It

Starting any business can be risky and generally requires grueling hours. Your dedication and passion will be what helps you through and reminds you why you do what you do. If you’re truly committed to opening a restaurant and achieving your dreams, you’ve got to commit to doing the work. Followthrough is everything. 

2. Make Your Restaurant’s Presence Known

Don’t forget: you are a big part of your business! It can be helpful to get out on the floor and interact with customers. Take every opportunity to introduce yourself, seek feedback, and show that you care.

3. Stand by Your Restaurant’s Mission

What’s your ultimate goal for your restaurant? What is your restaurant’s mission statement? Do you want to pass the business on to future generations, or maybe expand across the country? Whatever the answer, say it out loud and say it often. Let your goals be known and let them drive you as you move into the future.

4. Research Your Restaurant Niche

There has to be something about your restaurant that will entice customers to choose it over another. Your business should fill a need, answer a question. Once you’ve designated your restaurant’s rightful place in the restaurant world, do some homework. The information you find may lead you to specific audiences you hadn’t considered targets and provide new opportunities for you to demonstrate the value of your business. 

5. Flesh Out Your Business Plan

One crucial aspect of starting your business is creating your business plan. You may think you’ve got all the important information stored right in your brain where you need it, but fully fleshing out your restaurant’s business plan will help others understand your vision and allow them to help you achieve it. You may even find some unforeseen oversights you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

6. Build Out Your Operations Procedures

It may sound tedious, but it’s important to put together your business’ SOP (Standard Operating Procedures). This is a document that lays out how, where, and when things should be done. Building out this plan will minimize gray areas, making it easier to direct employees, hold them accountable, and be certain that everyone is treated the same way. 

7. Make Sure Your Menu Is Profitable

Put some serious consideration into writing your restaurant menu. If possible, you should make sure multiple team members involved in different business functions have input, and that at least one of you is well-versed in pricing. The cost of each menu item should cover all ingredients as well as prep time. 

8. Invest in a POS System

As a business owner, you’ll end up wearing just about every hat. You’ll want to get yourself restaurant management software that can do the same. Any POS, or Point of Sale, software will process sales and track inventory, but a quality POS system should also be able to track KPIs, customer habits, and streamline employee operations. There are several restaurant POS systems on the market designed specifically for restaurant management.


9. Track Your Actual Costs

Actual food cost is a calculation of what an item costs your restaurant based on factors like labor, waste, and employee theft. This calculation will be vital for you to keep in mind when setting menu prices or planning next year’s budget. Many POS or restaurant accounting software systems can help provide a solution to these problem.

10. Minimize Overhead Where Possible

“Overhead costs” are ongoing operational costs outside of labor and materials. Keeping track of these costs will make it possible for you to take steps to reduce them and improve overall efficiency wherever possible. 

11. Lay Out Your Needs

To begin preparing your staffing plan, you’ll first need to put together a comprehensive list of tasks and duties required each workday. This would include obvious items like serving, cleaning, and cooking, as well as back-of-house jobs like invoicing and inventory management.

12. Get to Know Your Restaurant’s Staff

While you may be hiring several new team members at once, it will be important to secure some one-on-one time to discuss their specific duties as well as their behavioral expectations. Taking this time will help you ensure that each new team member truly understands their role as a key part of your new restaurant, and feels they are a valued member of your restaurant staff.


13. Remember You’re Working Together

When enforcing policy and building relationships, it is imperative that your employees feel they have the resources they need to be successful – your attention and guidance can both be considered important resources as they become acclimated. 

14.  Scheduling

Staff schedules are important. More likely than not, the majority of your restaurant staff will be working multiple jobs, balancing multiple schedules, and they all need time off and sick days. To keep employees happy, you’ll need to do things like cross-train employees in different areas and honor assigned time off. Many POS or restaurant management systems have optional or included scheduling components which can make staff scheduling much more straightforward, or you can onboard a restaurant scheduling software into your business. 

15. Celebrate Triumphs

When your employees do a good job, let them know! Don’t shy away from acknowledging, or even rewarding, small successes and accomplishments. It will make a world of difference to your team.

16. Use Specials to Your Advantage

Maximize your profits by making the most of your surplus inventory items. If you’ve purchased too much of an item that will only end up spoiling, you can work it into a fun, limited-time restaurant marketing menu listing.

17. Spend Time on Your Menu Design

Your restaurant’s menu does so much more than tell your customers the prices of the food you sell. A well-designed menu will convey your brand’s personality, your business’ goals, and help drive profits. Be purposeful with your menu engineering choices.


18. Stand By Your Values

As you set the details of your business plan, extract the central values of your restaurant and write them down in a restaurant training manual. You can pull them out when the going gets tough or you’ve got big decisions to make as a reminder of what’s really important. 

19. Connect with Other Businesses

Networking can be a great way to step back from everyday stress, find partnership opportunities, and find like-minded business owners who may want to exchange wisdom or lend a hand. Finding local businesses in the community that don’t serve food act as a great opportunity to expand your restaurant’s footprint with services such as 2ndKitchen’s B2B food pairing services.

20. Build Your Community

You can increase your business’ clout by holding community events. You can with your target audiences by reaching out to them directly. You can host Meet & Greets and other fun events, and offer attendees special deals and promotions such as restaurant loyalty programs.

21. Spread the Word

You might think the quality of your food and services speak well enough for themselves, but every restaurant needs marketing. It’s important to stay within budget, but well-executed marketing and advertising campaigns can be incredibly beneficial to your business. Some clever and cost-effective solutions could be things like YouTube or podcast ads, partner cross-promotion, or experiential pop-up restaurant events.

22. Launch a Website

In 2020, all businesses need to invest in a quality website. It provides a hub for those searching for your restaurant, is another opportunity to market your business and upcoming events, and makes your restaurant feel more legit. Be sure to spend extra time creating a high-quality restaurant website for your new business.

Next Steps for Your Restaurant

Like in most industries experience is often the best teacher, but if you follow these tips you’ll be one step closer to starting a successful new restaurant. 

The follow are additional resources to help you manage your dream restaurant:

Join the 2ndKitchen restaurant network to serve your food in local breweries & bars

Multiply your delivery orders and start earning more revenue with 2ndKitchen – it’s free to get started!