Life as a restaurant manager isn't always as seamless as the movies depict, but it can be much smoother with a few, solid management tips.

Restaurant Management Tips: Making the Most of Your Valuable Time

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Time-saving restaurant management tips that keep managers focused on the dining experience are key to a well-oiled restaurant machine.

Of all the challenges facing a typical restaurant manager, perhaps the best restaurant management tips come in the form of time-saving suggestions. Busy managers, dedicated to keeping their facility and team on point, face the never-ending challenge of how best to use their limited time. How can they stay on top of a frequently chaotic work environment in which equipment breaks down; wait staff call in sick or show up late; inventory deliveries don’t always arrive on time; and customers demand special treatment at the peak of the dinner rush?

The good news is, with some planning and an informed use of support services, a restaurant manager can better use their time and get more done on behalf of both their facilities and the customers they serve. Here are key restaurant management tips aimed at getting the most out of your precious time.

Focus on Creating Action Plans

In movies, restaurant managers are often portrayed as miraculously handling everything on the fly. Things don’t work like that in real life. One key time-saving strategy is devoting one or two hours to planning out the week ahead, setting up staffing schedules, reviewing changes to the menu and making any alterations in food preparation or service based on issues arising in the past week.

Define Your Expectations

You should clearly delineate to everyone on the team what’s expected of them in terms of their daily responsibilities, and also emphasize the need to pitch in and help co-workers when things become overwhelming. When employees understand what’s expected of them, they can demonstrate whether they’re up to the task. If the results are favorable, it can save the manager considerable time with respect to personnel issues.

Outsource Key Restaurant Support Services

There’s no need for a restaurant manager to worry over every detail of running their business. Choosing the uniforms, for example, can be outsourced to an organization that understands the importance of maintaining a crisp, professional look—both for wait staff and kitchen workers. Clean, appealing hospitality uniforms communicate that every worker is part of a high-functioning team and that guests can confidently expect a world-class dining experience.

Another area to outsource is the cleaning and stocking of restrooms. Restaurant managers can save significant time and worry by hiring a service that routinely stocks restrooms with essential supplies and provides daily cleaning maintenance of the highest standard. This can help you focus on creating outstanding dishes instead of worrying about a customer’s potentially negative restroom experience.

Integrate More Tech Into Management Processes

Cutting-edge digital technology is rapidly assuming a greater presence in restaurants—from mobile apps that promote customer interaction and tablet-sized kiosk ordering devices on tables to digital-based third-party food delivery systems. Restaurant managers can advocate for greater use of technology to create more efficient internal processes and enhance customer-facing operations. Such a strategy is now “an essential part of meeting the emerging demands of increasingly tech-savvy and tech-demanding restaurant customers.”

Delegate Kitchen Responsibilities Wherever Possible

Like high-achieving managers in other industries, restaurant managers often believe they’re the “only ones” who can do everything right. Bluntly speaking, it’s an erroneous (and vastly time-consuming) assumption to make. Increasingly, managers are coming up with systems that depend on delegation to servers and other reliable personnel for duties like hosting, receiving deliveries, addressing last-minute shift changes, and so on.

Squadle, a software and hardware company that creates products for the restaurant industry, suggests compiling a list of “slow” tasks and assign them to employees during periods of less activity in the restaurant. This approach gives team members “something to do during off-peak hours and [ensures] that managers don’t waste time taking care of these activities when they could be focusing on more strategic tasks.”

By using these time-saving suggestions, restaurant managers can better utilize their time and dedicate it to what matters most. Those who overcome time-management struggles will get more done, please more customers and derive more personal fulfillment from their challenging jobs.

Lee Polevoi
Lee Polevoi

Lee Polevoi is an award-winning business writer who specializes in the challenges and opportunities facing small businesses in the U.S.A former senior writer at Vistage International (a global membership organization of CEOs), Lee regularly contributes articles, white papers and blog posts to a variety of small business websites, including Paychex, Intuit Small Business, ADP, Hewlett Packard's™ The Pulse of IT, Catapult Groups, Avalara TrustFile and many others.