There are more restaurants than ever, making the environment extremely competitive. Pickle ball bars, ping pong bars, farm to table, farm to ladle, (insert new sport) bars, etc.  The best restaurateurs understand that knowing how to manage a restaurant is a highly respected skillset.  And while concept is important, location is important, food is important, management can also make or break the restaurant.  Good management leads to good staff which means long term staying power.  According to almost half of the 3,000+ people polled in a 2013 Restaurant Demand Tracker Study, staff treatment was a large concern when choosing what restaurants they frequent.  Even more than sustainable sourcing & community involvement!

I stumbled into managing a restaurant accidentally, which I suspect is many restaurant managers’ story.  I’m not speaking to those of you who came out of the womb with an innate understanding of how to manage others – and yourself – especially in a restaurant environment.  Or those of you who went off to Cornell to actually study hospitality management.  But for the rest of us, learning to manage others is a lifelong process.

Toast, creator of Toast POS, put together a free eBook with some great tips.  It’s easy reading, so skim through it and take what you need.

how to manage a restaurant

Book link is below & here’s a section I found valuable:

Owning Your Strengths

Managing a restaurant involves more than planning inventory, telling others what to do, and making decisions for the restaurant’s future. It may sound corny, but it takes a certain personality to be a restaurant manager. You can’t expect to see your restaurant succeed just by being a figurehead – you need to take action and capitalize on your strengths.

Here are four characteristics you should adopt if you want to strengthen your management style.

  • Passion:

“I have a passion for restaurants. This is where it all comes together…I love the restaurant industry!” – Donald Burns, The Restaurant Coach. First and foremost, you should always be passionate in this role. If you’ve managed a restaurant for some time now, you know how thankless this job can be. Sometimes, the thing that gets you through that shift is your passion for this role. Seeing guests leave with a smile or overhearing them at the table mention how much they enjoyed their meal can be your biggest reward. Maintaining this passion in all that you do is what will make you stand out from the restaurant managers who are fine with their restaurant being “just okay.”

  • Self-control:

This industry is incredibly fast-paced. It’s easy to lose your head and make a rash decision that could come back to bite you. Remember to be level-headed and have self-control in all of your dealings and decisions. Think everything through, be methodical, and have a reason for all that you do.

  • Willingness to take risks:

This may seem contradictory from the last point, but it’s not. Being a great restaurateur means making your restaurant stand out in a positive way. To accomplish this, plan and take calculated risks to see a payoff. Add that new menu item. Try a new system in your restaurant. Be innovative! If you don’t evolve, neither will your restaurant.

  • Proactiveness:

“We all need help at some point or other; offer it, before someone has to ask for it.” – Chris Hill, Chef and Entrepreneur. It’s so easy to be reactive as a manager. Waiting for a situation to arise and then responding to it seems like the natural course of action. But what if you formulate a response to a problem before it even arises? Wouldn’t it alleviate so much stress if you had a process in place for when your credit card processor goes down, if there’s a conflict with customers, or if your supplier mixes up delivery dates? Being proactive allows you to stay ahead of any problems by being prepared.


For more tips on how to manage a restaurant, download this short, easy to read eBook –

Free Toast eBook: Managing a Restaurant in Today’s Competitive Environment

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