Starting a restaurant is not easy and involves a lot of planning and preparation. If you have ever wanted to open a restaurant in your region, then there are several factors you must take into consideration. From inventory and customer relationship management, public relations, staffing, digitised menus, and more, restaurant management is complex and requires a strong restaurant manager to oversee operations as well.
Keep reading because, in this post, we will be covering the basics of restaurant management.
Did you know?
Over 17% of dinner meals in restaurants go to waste or get discarded! That's a ton of money lost!
Effective Restaurant Management Tips
Restaurant management is about taking care of your customers and people. There is no secret ingredient to being a successful restaurateur, but the starting point is by having good management practices.
Make Your Staff Feel At Home
Dropout rates are sky high, and it's a harsh reality that employee turnovers happen. The average turnover rate is 75% and it is costly for businesses to train new staff. If you don't want to lose your workforce, the best tip is to make them feel at home. Treat your employees well, give incentives for hard work, and show that you appreciate their efforts. Just be thoughtful as a business owner and this will go a long way towards growing your business.
Also read: Best Small Business Ideas Under 1 Lakh
Your employees are the backbone of your restaurant and without a solid team, you cannot succeed. You can motivate your employees by introducing an 'Employee of the Month program and following an open-book management policy. For those who are working double shifts, give them a free meal and offer monetary rewards for any hours spent working overtime. You can also add in more paid holidays if they're putting in the hours and not taking breaks.
Digitise Your Menu
A traditional paper menu does exist but let's face it; customers carry their smartphones all the time and order online. Having a digitised menu can streamline the process of taking orders, help you do COVID-19 vaccination status checks, and overall, set a good impression among customers.
Use fresh, seasonal ingredients for making your meals and don't hesitate to switch things up from time to time. Changing your menu every season or making a few tweaks will impress your clients. It's also a lot cheaper since seasonal ingredients don't cost as much as imported products. You can learn more about the benefits of a digitised menu firsthand once you start implementing it.
Don't Neglect Marketing
One of the best ways to get the word out about your restaurant is through effective marketing. You can offer the best dishes in the world, but if nobody knows about your business, you won't land clients. Social media is a great channel for taking care of your marketing needs. You can upload YouTube video shorts about your restaurant, make vlogs, or post-Instagram stories about what's going on.
It's easy to maintain a social media presence these days, thanks to platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Our pro tip is to stick to two platforms in the beginning and then explore others. It can get overwhelming marketing everywhere, and frankly, just not feasible unless you are hiring a social media manager solely for that purpose.
Analyse Your Cash Flow
You don't want to be left in the dark when it comes to your finances. Monitor your cash flow, track metrics, and see how much money your business is generating on a weekly, monthly, and daily basis. It is important to get an understanding of your financial risks and avoid falling into debt or going bankrupt. You can take out a loan for a restaurant, but if your business idea is not thriving and you're struggling, that's not a good idea. If you learn how to manage your finances responsibly, the payoff will be worth it long-term.
Lower Your Expenses
Cutting down your costs should be a priority and there are many ways you can save money when running your restaurant. For example, by switching to energy-efficient lightbulbs and using low-flow faucets, you can reduce your operational expenses. Look for free WiFi or hotspots in your region and ways you can carry out food preservation. You can control labour costs by ensuring a high-quality work life for your employees and by boosting job satisfaction rates. Labour-intensive tasks like billing, taking orders, and displaying items that are being prepared or ready can be automated. You can use a smart and effective restaurant management software solution for this.
Train Your Employees Well
"The customer is always right" is an old adage, but in today's times, it depends on context. Sometimes it may not be true. Train your employees well so that they know how to deal with angry customers and those who do not pay for their meals. You don't want a dine-and-dash scenario going on at your restaurant.
Additionally, your employees should be aware of how to make dietary modifications according to customer requirements. For example, if a customer is vegan, teach your employees how to modify the order and make it plant-based. The more prepared your team is, the better. Restaurant management is about taking care of all these needs.
Host Special Offers and Events
Your restaurant can gain a lot of popularity in the neighbourhood if you host a lot of events. You can give discounts to special customers, offer VIP passes, and sends gifts to loyal clients. As a manager, your main concern is to see how much revenue your restaurant is bringing. If your venue is spacious, you can rent out those spaces to host exclusive events. DJ nights, music shows, theatrical performances, and meetups with celebrities are common events people love. If you're worried about not being able to fit in enough people, set a limit for the number of seats. You can inform your customers through email newsletters or your website about these upcoming events so that they don't forget to pre-book.
For guests who have birthdays coming up, you can offer them special services such as private birthday parties or showers.
Don't Ignore Online Reviews
Online reviews determine the success of a food business in India. Do not underestimate their importance.
One bad word and most of the customers would avoid you. If you get a negative review, reach out to that customer and do your best to fix it. You want tons of positive reviews, so that your restaurant shows up at the top of Google's listings. If you already have a good social media presence, make it a point to post at least once a week.
Stay active online, and don't ghost your customers. Reply to every single one of their queries. If you can make your online customers feel special, they will likely visit you and recommend your restaurant to their friends. This will help grow your business and make restaurant management easier.
How to Open a Restaurant and Run It
Starting a restaurant can be broken down into the following steps.
Step 1 - Decide on a Restaurant Concept and Brand Name
Your restaurant concept is your interior styling and overall theme. Decide on the types of services you'll provide and how you want your brand to reflect it. Pick a brand name that resonates with you and that others can relate to.
For example, you can be a traditional restaurant that offers gourmet French cuisine. Or a fast-paced delivery service that whips up the best sizzlers in town. There are many more ideas you can explore like these.
Step 2 - Target Your Demographic
Select your target demographic and clearly define it. Whether you are targeting older adults, teenagers, or middle-aged individuals with your cuisine, it should be clear. Your geographic location should be a factor in your demographic as well.
Step 3 - Curate Your Menu
You should decide on your menu carefully and choose what dishes you will serve. Think about your limits, too and make sure you set realistic customer expectations. If there is any kind of food you cannot offer, mention it on the menu. Pick a good menu design too so that your customers will keep flipping the pages and read cooking information.
Step 4 - Get Funding
Write a restaurant business plan and present it to prospective investors. Begin by estimating the cost of opening a restaurant and daily operational expenses, and set a basic budget for starting up. Don't forget to add in the cost of licensing, equipment, staff salaries, and miscellaneous goods.
You can apply for a traditional commercial loan through a bank, start a Kickstarter campaign online, or get funding directly from investors. You can always refer to our restaurant management guide for more info on this.
Step 5 - Hire Staff
List out all the restaurant positions on your website and open up job vacancies. Do interviews and carefully pick your staff. It is important to mention employee benefits, incentives, and the training programs you offer before you onboard them. Consider how many hours and days your restaurant will be open throughout the week and make sure your staff knows this.
Common restaurant management job positions include roles such as kitchen staff, management team and bar staff.
Step 6 - Open Up
Once all your planning is done and funding is ready, you are now set to start up. Host a soft opening and invite customers to the neighbourhood. You can provide a sample menu and advertise your business online for the grand opening. It's a day worth celebrating!
Also read: How To Start A Dairy Business In India
Restaurant management is no cakewalk but a highly rewarding experience if done right. In other words, efficiently managing your restaurant is as important as making good food and providing your customers a good dining experience. So get ready with your business plan, secure your funding and open that restaurant you’ve been dreaming of for awhile now. These tips will keep you covered and get you moving in the right direction.
Follow Khatabook for the latest updates, news blogs, and articles related to micro, small and medium businesses (MSMEs), business tips, income tax, GST, salary, and accounting