On the Outside of Your Restaurant Looking In
Many aspiring owners of restaurants and bars do not fully understand the role they should play in the business. They are convinced that working in the business is all that is needed to create a profitable business.
One of the problems of being a restaurant owner is you could end up constantly running the restaurant and if the owner spends all her time running the restaurant, she often overlooks or does not pay adequate time and attention to those things necessary to manage other equally important aspects of the business.
The more a restaurant depends on the owner’s day in, day out involvement in the minutia of the restaurant operations, the greater the risk of failure. When the owner is unable to detach herself from the daily activities of running the restaurant, she is usually unable to do those things necessary to move the business forward.
Every restaurant has three major areas that must function well to achieve its potential for success.
The problem is that often the only one around to set up, organize or do the things that are required is the business owner. And the owner is already working 15 hours a day, 6 days a week running the restaurant. Most restaurant owners are to some degree buried in the nitty gritty of operations, doing whatever it takes to make it through the day.
So what happens to the systems that we need in operations and the financial information to know where we stand and the planning for our next promotion? Unfortunately, it often does not get done, or at least those areas do not get the attention they need and deserve for the business to thrive.
Although developing a system, which often includes an operations manual, is not a simple or quick task, it is next to impossible to create and maintain a successful restaurant without one. Owners who take the time and the effort to involve their staff and consciously determine how they want their restaurant to operate can enjoy some huge advantages over those who do not.
An implemented system will:
- Get you up and running and into profit more quickly after opening: Getting a system of checklists, forms and procedures developed quickly reduces the usual chaos and confusion during the startup of any restaurant.
- Help you attract and keep quality staff: Good people want to work for businesses that are organized and serious about what they do. This means a systematic way to recruit, interview and select staff and supporting new workers with job descriptions, training manuals and a staff handbook.
- Provide focus and direction: A system communicates to your staff the performance and the results you expect and it provides your team with the information and training they need to be successful.
- Create consistency: A system makes it possible for your staff to repeat a performance that creates a consistent experience for your customers. Consistency is the key to creating a great reputation and repeat business.
- Enable your restaurant to function without you being there: It will allow you to separate yourself from the day-to-day details and allow you to look at the bigger picture.
- Support you in getting funding for growth: Imagine a single-unit restaurant business building another restaurant without having a system in place in the original one first. Not only are their more challenges in the new restaurant but now the owner is no longer there to manage the original one.
- Add Value to your business: Businesses that are owner-dependent are worth less than businesses that can function well regardless of an owner’s involvement. Prospective buyers always want to know, what is going to happen when the owner’s gone?
There is an added advantage to documenting your system and operating procedures. During the process you will have the opportunity to evaluate every activity that takes place in your business. You will learn that many activities are happening not by design but because that is the way it has always been done. Many restaurant owners find opportunities to reduce errors, eliminate duplication of effort, reduce costs, save time and increase productivity while they develop their system.