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4 Steps to Run Your Restaurant More Efficiently

run restaurant efficientlyRunning a restaurant is a difficult endeavor, and it requires effective restaurant management to help your restaurant thrive. Diners expect quick and excellent service from staff that strive to ensure they have a pleasurable meal; the best way to provide that is through an efficiently-managed restaurant. This requires a myriad of things to run properly and smoothly, including your management, wait and cook staff, and even the layout of your restaurant can have an impact. Without each of these things operating cohesively, your restaurant as a whole could suffer. We’ve put together four steps to strengthen each of these areas and improve performance.

Optimize the Layout

Both the front and back of the house need to have a layout that’s optimized for the flow of orders coming in and going out, no matter how busy your restaurant is at a given time. This may require facing some hard questions and committing to change; after all, just because you’ve had the same layout for a long time doesn’t mean that it’s the best layout to meet your needs.

Is the kitchen large enough to produce the amount of food needed at the busiest service times, and can the cook staff for each shift move through it safely? Can orders be put in easily, discovered by cook staff and moved down the line promptly, and picked up quickly and easily? Orders piling up at any stage means diners have to wait longer for their meals, which leads to disappointment and dissatisfaction, especially if that pile-up leads to confusion and food is sent to the wrong table.

Can wait staff reach their tables easily, especially while carrying trays of food, and can they easily see their guests in case someone needs to flag them down? Alternately, is there too much space, and you’re undermining the number of people you could be serving at a time? You need to strike a careful balance that ensures the best possible service.

Employ Efficient Workers

The equation is simple: efficient employees mean an efficient restaurant. This can be difficult, especially if you run a restaurant with your family, or when your staff becomes like a family to you. Employees that are too slow make too many mistakes, act lazy, or have the habit of handing out too many freebies aren’t good for the health of your restaurant. Be sure you hire staff who are driven and energetic, and who are willing to work hard. When it comes to the staff you already have, a warning or training may be necessary to improve their performance. Be prepared for the potentially difficult process of letting go the people who hold your restaurant back.

>> Learn more about the restaurant business builders course

Develop a Method to Effectively Train Employees

When you hire a new employee, or if an employee moves to a new position, you need to have the right processes in place to ensure they learn the specifics of their new duties quickly and efficiently. Instructions need to be clear, and you need to give them enough lead time with the person training them so that they’re truly ready when it’s time to do it on their own. Training that happens too quickly will lead to potentially costly mistakes, while lackadaisical training will fail to provide all the right knowledge or give new employees the wrong impression of what’s required of them.

Remember, if you’re changing your layout and the processes associated with it, your current employees will need to be retrained to cover the right seating or cooking areas, utilize the right tools, and submit or prepare orders properly.

Always Hold Management Accountable

Your managers are employees too, which means they need to be fully trained to understand their roles and the needs of your restaurant. The manager is your representative in each department, and they’re in the position to help your restaurant grow. That means that, ultimately, they’re responsible for how the employees under them are functioning, and need to ensure each employee gets the training they need, to correct any problems employees have, and to resolve other issues so that diners will go home satisfied.

When you have effective restaurant management processes in place, you can ensure your restaurant is running effectively and efficiently. Optimize your layout to ensure staff can move quickly and safely. Be sure you’re hiring employees that are improving the status quo, and provide them ways to educate them on new or changing duties and the items on your menu. Keep management on the same page and keep them accountable for the staff working under them. This, in turn, allows you to focus on providing the best dining experience and food as possible, which further ensures that you’re running a restaurant that people will want to visit again and again.

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The Oregon Small Business Development Center Portland Community College has  helped thousands of businesses over the past 30 years. We combine one-on-one  advising with programs taught by business experts, giving our clients the  resources they need to grow their businesses. We’ve celebrated many successes  with our clients. We'd love to celebrate your success. 

Topics: Growing a Business, Restaurants