Small Restaurant Management: Everything You Need to Know in 8 Steps

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Small restaurant management can be a challenging task, especially for those who are new to the business. Managing a small restaurant requires a lot of time, dedication, and hard work. From managing staff to keeping customers happy, there are many aspects that you need to consider.

In this article, we will look at how to manage a small restaurant in seven simple steps and how to be a restaurant manager. But before that, let’s find out why management is really important in small restaurants!

Why is Management Important in Small Restaurants?

Managing a restaurant is crucial to the success of the business. The management team is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the restaurant and ensuring that everything runs smoothly. Without proper management, a small restaurant business can quickly become disorganised and chaotic.

How Many Waiters Should a Small Restaurant Have?

The number of waiters that a small restaurant should have depends on several factors, including the size of the restaurant, the number of customers, and the type of cuisine. As a general rule, a small restaurant should have one waiter for every 30 customers. For example, if your restaurant has a seating capacity of 60, you should have at least two waiters on duty at all times.

How Many Menu Items Should a Small Restaurant Have?

When it comes to menu items, less is often more. A small restaurant should have a concise menu that offers a selection of dishes that are easy to prepare and can be made quickly. It is better to have a few high-quality dishes than a lot of mediocre ones. Additionally, having a small menu makes it easier to manage inventory and reduces food waste.

The Basics of Small Restaurant Management

Now that we have covered the importance of management in small restaurants, let’s take a closer look at the basics of small restaurant management. Here are seven essential steps to help you manage your small restaurant successfully.

1. Start with a Plan

Start with a Plan

Before you open your small restaurant, you need to have a plan in place. This plan should outline your business goals, target market, menu, pricing, and marketing strategy. Having a plan in place will help you stay focused and ensure that you are on the right track to success.

2. Hire the Right Staff

One of the most critical aspects of managing a restaurant is hiring the right staff. Your staff is the face of your restaurant, and they can make or break your business. When hiring restaurant staff, look for individuals who are experienced, friendly, and have a passion for food and customer service.

3. Train Your Staff

Once you have hired the right staff, it is essential to train them properly. Provide them with the tools and resources they need to succeed, including training manuals, recipes, and customer service techniques. Training your staff will help ensure that they are knowledgeable and capable of providing excellent service to your customers.

4. Manage Inventory

Managing inventory is a critical part of small restaurant management. Keeping track of your inventory will help you identify trends and make informed decisions about ordering and pricing. It is essential to have an inventory management system in place to ensure that you always have the ingredients you need to prepare your menu items.

5. Keep Your Customers Happy

Keep Your Customers Happy

Keeping your customers happy is the key to success in small restaurant management. Make sure that your restaurant is clean, and the atmosphere is welcoming. Listen to your customers’ feedback and take steps to address any issues that arise. Providing excellent customer service will keep your customers coming back for more.

6. Manage Your Finances

Managing your finances is crucial to the success of your small restaurant. Keep track of your expenses and revenue, and make sure that you have a budget in place for each aspect of your business, including inventory, staff salaries, and marketing. Make sure that you are pricing your menu items correctly to ensure profitability.

7. Adapt to Change

The restaurant industry is constantly evolving, and as a small restaurant owner, you need to be able to adapt to change. Keep an eye on industry trends and changes in consumer behaviour, and be willing to make changes to your menu, pricing, or restaurant marketing strategy as needed.

8. Optimise Digital Marketing Channels

Managing a restaurant involves attracting new customers, which can be effectively achieved through a strong social media marketing strategy. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok offer cost-effective ways to engage with potential customers.

Regular posting, at least once a week on each platform, helps maintain a good social presence. Interaction with customers, responding to messages and comments, conveys your brand’s personality and authenticity. For a wider reach, consider using paid social media ads, which are not only budget-friendly but also easy to track, providing valuable insights into your marketing efforts.

How To be a Great Restaurant Manager?

Adapt to Change

Being a great restaurant manager requires a combination of skills, qualities, and practices that contribute to effective leadership, excellent customer service, and successful business operations. Here are some key skills and traits that restaurant managers should possess:

1. Leadership Skills

Being a great restaurant manager demands exceptional leadership skills. Effective team building is crucial as it establishes a positive work environment, fostering cooperation and enthusiasm among staff members. Delegation is another vital aspect, allowing tasks to be efficiently distributed among team members, utilizing their skills effectively.

2. Customer Focus

Restaurant managers must prioritize customer satisfaction. Exceptional customer service involves not only meeting but exceeding customer expectations. Managers should instill in their staff the importance of attentiveness and detail in service, ensuring that every customer interaction is positive. Understanding customer needs and preferences is key, as it enables the restaurant to offer personalized experiences.

3. Communication Skills

Clear communication is the cornerstone of effective restaurant management. Managers must articulate their expectations clearly to staff, ensuring everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. Additionally, communicating with customers in a friendly and approachable manner enhances the overall dining experience.

4. Active Listening

Active listening is equally important. managers should listen attentively to both customers and employees, understanding their concerns and feedback. This not only resolves issues promptly but also demonstrates that the restaurant values the input of both its customers and staff, fostering a sense of trust and satisfaction within the restaurant community.

5. Organization and Planning

A successful restaurant owner or manager is highly organized and skilled at planning. They anticipate busy periods, create schedules that match staffing needs, and effectively allocate resources to meet customer demands. Proper planning helps streamline day-to-day operations and ensures a smooth flow of activities in the restaurant.

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6. Staff Development

A good manager recognizes the importance of investing in their staff’s development. They provide training and coaching to enhance the skills of their employees.

Regular performance evaluations and constructive feedback help individuals grow professionally, improving both their productivity and job satisfaction.

7. Financial Management

A competent manager understands the financial aspect of running a restaurant. They monitor and control costs, including food and beverage inventory, labor costs, and other overheads.

They create budgets, analyze financial reports, and make data-driven decisions to maximize profitability while maintaining quality.

8. Adaptability

The restaurant industry is dynamic and ever-changing. A good manager is flexible and adaptable to new trends, customer preferences, and industry developments.

They are quick to adjust operations, update menus, and embrace innovations that can enhance efficiency and competitiveness.

9. Team Building

Building a cohesive and motivated team is essential for success. A good restaurant manager fosters a positive attitude and work environment, encourages teamwork, and recognizes and rewards employee achievements. They promote a culture of respect, cooperation, and camaraderie among staff members.

10. Attention to Detail

A successful manager pays attention to every aspect of the restaurant’s operations. They have a keen eye for detail and ensure that cleanliness, hygiene, food quality, and presentation meet the highest standards. They also manage inventory effectively, minimizing waste and ensuring timely replenishment.

11. Problem-Solving

Challenges and unexpected issues are bound to arise in the restaurant industry. A skilled manager remains calm under pressure and possesses strong problem-solving skills.

They are proactive in addressing issues, finding solutions, and implementing preventive measures to avoid similar problems in the future.

Small restaurant management can be challenging, but with the right approach, it can be very rewarding. By following these seven essential steps, restaurant owners can ensure that your small restaurant runs smoothly and provides excellent service to your customers.

Remember to start with a plan, hire the right staff, manage inventory, keep your customers happy, manage your finances, and be willing to adapt to change. With these steps in place, you can set your small restaurant up for success.

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