How to Get Your Message Across to Restaurant Managers

By David Scott Peters

www.therestaurantexpert.com

In Last week’s post I covered the pitfalls of not communicating with your management team and offered up a solution to avoid a failure to communicate. The solution is to have weekly managers meetings.

To begin having effective managers meetings, follow this four-step process that prepares everyone for this new activity in the routine.

Step 1

Step one is the planning meeting. This is the step where you look at last week’s priorities and goals and audit where they are. Did they get accomplished, did you hit your goals or were there things that happened that delayed results? Take the time to really look at things with a detailed eye.

Next, create your list of goals for you and your team for the upcoming week. Be specific and clear in the list of what you want done, how you want it done, how well you want it done and more importantly by when. Without deadlines nothing would get done.

Step one applies to every restaurant owner whether you have a partner or not. The only difference is when you have a partner, this step becomes even more important.

Too often in independent restaurants, partners don’t communicate. As a result, they send mixed signals to their employees and managers because they ask them to do two completely opposite things or get the same thing done two completely different ways. Or worse, they do this directly in front the employee resulting in an argument/fight between the partners.

This is the quickest way to get your employees to tune you out and then do whatever they want. The employee knows that they can just point fingers to the other partner and there will be no recourse.

If you have a partner this is the most important step because it puts you both on the same page, allowing you to all communicate the same game plan from the same playbook.

Even if you don’t have a partner, you can create a similar challenge when you continue to change your mind on how you want something done, telling one manager and then getting mad at another because they aren’t doing it the new way, even though they never got the message.

Step 2

Meet with your general manager and communicate the goals for the next week. Gather your general manager’s priorities that need to be addressed and added to the list. This is your opportunity to make sure your general manager is on the same page as you. You are also setting the general manager up for success to conduct an effective and efficient managers meeting.

Step 3

Step three is the agenda. Now that your general manager has your list of goals for the week, he or she will create an agenda for the meeting. The agenda should include such things as a start time and a finish time and topics to be addressed.

Before the meeting, clearly communicate what ALL of the other managers will need to bring to the meeting. If any of the other managers have something they want to add to the agenda, they need to get it to the general manager at least two days before the managers meeting.

Please note that your manager meeting should not be scheduled for anything more than 90 minutes. Anything longer becomes counterproductive.

Step 4

Step four is conducting the actual meeting. One of the biggest questions I get all the time is, “I’m the owner, shouldn’t I conduct the meeting?” The short answer is NO, unless you fulfill the general manager role as well. Your general manager is supposed to execute the plan. He or she is going to be held accountable for these goals, so you need to put them in a leadership role and demonstrate that the general manager is the other managers’ direct supervisor.

When conducting the meeting, the general manager will do about 25 percent to no more than 50 percent of the talking. This is because your managers have come to the meetings knowing what they are responsible for. They will have brought the correct information from cost of goods sold and labor costs to employee issues to project updates. They will present to the group. You want every manager engaged and participating in the meeting.

Be sure to stick to this agenda. If and when a NEW topic comes up, make sure you determine if it should be tabled until the next meeting or if you need to set up a sidebar meeting after the manager meeting. Do not add it on the fly. When you don’t control the topics, start and stop time, managers meetings go forever. Anything longer than 90 minutes creates an environment where your mangers get frustrated because they feel you don’t value their time and quite frankly, they start tuning you out.

Timeline

What day you choose for your manager meeting is up to you. It can be determined based on the day all managers would be in the building anyway, or what day inconveniences the fewest managers.

An example might look like this:

Owners meet on Tuesday allowing the general manager to complete the budget variance reports for the past week so the owners have the numbers.

On Wednesday the owners and general manager meet to get on the same page and set the agenda.

On Thursday the general manager conducts the managers meeting.

Conclusion

If you’re tired of things not getting done, tired of not making the money your restaurant should be making and/or tired of being frustrated on a daily basis with everyone’s performance — owner or manager — then you’ll want to follow the four simple steps in this article. Just remember it’s not only about being organized, it’s also about being consistent. This comes from conducting the managers meeting weekly.

David Scott Peters TheRestaurantExpert (1)David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at www.therestaurantexpert.com/rdspos.

 

Rhodes 101 Stop Convenience Stores Select Mobile Software Solution from NCR

Convenience chain enhances the customer experience by offering a mobile app for paying at the pump  

NCR Corporation, the global leader in consumer transaction technologies, announced  that Rhodes 101 Stops Convenience Stores have deployed NCR’s ConvenienceGo (C-Go) mobile shopping app to make fueling easier.  Rhodes 101 Stops operates 30 convenience stores across Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois and is a subsidiary of PAJCO, Inc.

C-Go is NCR’s mobile shopping app which allows customers to initiate a fuel transaction, select the amount of gas they want and then pay with their smartphones.  The mobile app supports Rhodes 101 Stops’ brand image and colors.  C-Go eliminates the need for customers to carry another loyalty card since the C-Go app updates and stores each shopper’s loyalty information and shares that information with the fuel pump automatically.  Rhodes 101 Stops customers will receive special ‘rollback’ pricing at the pump and the option of an emailed or printed receipt when they use the application.

“With this launch of the mobile NCR solution, we are continuing our commitment to always provide the most innovative and exceptional customer experience,” says Keith Boeller, president of PAJCO, Inc. “Beyond the added convenience, we think our customers will be thrilled to see the price rollback at the pump and the platform allows us to create innovative marketing tactics going forward.”

“Convenience stores operate in arguably the most competitive retail environment,” says Eric Stecker, vice president and general manager, Petroleum and Convenience, NCR Retail. “By introducing the C-Go mobile payment app and features, Rhodes 101 Stops is not only offering a convenient way to pay for gas, but they also create a tighter bond with shoppers, leading to greater loyalty.”

The Rhodes 101 Stops C-Go installation is a collaborative effort between NCR Retail and Retail Data Systems, a NCR Premier Point-of-Sale dealer.  For more information about the benefits of NCR’s C-Go technology, click here.

Source: NCR Corporation

The Solution to Miscommunication in Restaurants

By David Scott Peters

www.therestaurantexpert.com

Communication is key to getting anything done in your restaurant, from cleaning to profitability. The big communication challenge in restaurant management is making sure you get your message across in a manner that everyone understands and can execute what you want done how you want it done.

Now, managers and owners have very different challenges when it comes to communicating these wants.

Owners tend to fail to communicate what they want done and how they want it done. As a result they express their frustration often when their managers seem to not get their job done. Then owners start to believe the only way to get anything done is to do it themselves, resulting in highly paid babysitters as managers — people to watch the restaurant, not manage.

Managers have a completely different frustration. It’s their crazy-making owners who fly into the business creating a new list of things they want done, never explaining how they want it done and creating this list that can never be accomplished as fast as the owner would like. When the manager can’t execute on the owner’s expectations, the manager is told what they are doing wrong every day.

These challenges are completely avoidable, and I have the solution.

The best way to avoid these challenges is to have routine manger meetings.

I know what you’re saying to yourself: “David, I meet with my managers almost daily, and we still have this problem.”

When you say that to me, I’m going to tell you very quickly, the “meetings” you’re having with your managers, those are not a manager meeting. And worse, those “meetings” lead to more problems.

A manager meeting is scheduled on a weekly basis. It’s not a five-minute tirade over what didn’t get done at closing the night before. It’s a weekly, scheduled time, set aside to review goals, expectations and challenges and then brainstorm solutions.

Before you say this challenge doesn’t apply to you and your management team because you have weekly meetings, please ask yourself four questions:

1. Are my managers getting the things accomplished I want done?
2. Am I making the money in my restaurant that I deserve?
3. Am I the only one who does the talking?
4. Do my meetings go on and on and on… often running more than two hours?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, tune in next week for the “how.”

David Scott Peters TheRestaurantExpert (1)David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at www.therestaurantexpert.com/rdspos.

 

Measure Restaurant Sales to Determine Labor Needs

By David Scott Peters

www.therestaurantexpert.com

Creating the schedule in a restaurant is like fitting together the pieces of a puzzle. A proper functioning schedule is vital to your business. But putting all the right people in all the right places is just part of writing a schedule. The other part is knowing what your true needs really are.

Here at TheRestaurantExpert.com, we teach several different kinds of systems that make your independent restaurant operate more efficiently, more profitably and without you.

For labor systems, the key measurement is dollars per labor hour. This number will tell you with certainty when you don’t have enough labor and when you have too much labor scheduled for a certain shift.

But even quantitative measurements can lie. You have to be careful because you could be hitting your labor numbers and still be setting up your restaurant for disaster by having a combination of shifts that are either under staffed or over staffed. That’s when it’s important to combine your quantitative data (such as the numbers) with your qualitative data (the things you see in the restaurant along with your gut).

Ideally you want the right amount people in place for the needs of the business and no more.

To get there, first focus on your quantitative measurement and begin tracking your dollars per labor hour. Dollars per labor hour is sales divided by hours. This tells you how many dollars are coming in the restaurant per hour worked. It’s a road map to scheduling your hours in the right places. You’ll see trends and be able to move hours from less-efficient shifts to over-efficient shifts.

Efficiencies are different for everyone’s restaurant, so track your dollars per labor hour and realize that three weeks is what makes a trend.

And if your gut is telling you something different, pay attention. But don’t forego the numbers just because it doesn’t feel right. Change is hard for everyone, and if your team is used to having a dishwasher on Thursday nights, they’re not going to like it if you tell them they’re not getting one anymore. Observe what Thursday nights are really like and what is really needed. Then compare that to your quantitative results of your dollars per labor hour and make an educated decision, not a guess.

The most important thing is to just get started, gather the information you need to combine your gut instincts with solid numbers.

David Scott Peters TheRestaurantExpert (1)David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at www.therestaurantexpert.com/rdspos.

 

Four Steps to Setting Standards in Your Restaurant

By David Scott Peters

www.therestaurantexpert.com

You play a very important role in your restaurant, a role no one else can play. That’s the role of owner. And as an owner, right or wrong, your management team and line employees MUST follow your standards and you have to follow up to make sure they are being followed.

How do you set the standards and make sure they are being met? How do you ensure the process is working? How do you do all that without running shifts and micromanaging your management team?

Easy! With systems, follow up and a willingness to hold your management team accountable.

Follow these steps:
1) Document your standards
2) Implement and train systems
3) Follow up
4) Hold management accountable

1) Document your standards. Whether it is plate presentation, cleanliness, customer service or anything else that goes on in your restaurant, YOU MUST document your standards. You have to clearly communicate what those standards are. You can’t expect your management team to read your mind. That won’t work. So walk your restaurant and write down everything that drives you nuts when it’s not done to your standards. You can even go so far as to use photos to clearly communicate your expectation, such as with plate presentation or table setting. Work all of your standards into every checklist in your building, from management checklists, front-of-house and back-of-house checklists and all position training materials.

2) Implement and train systems. Print off the “Four Phase Plan to Greater Restaurant Profits” from members.TheRestaurantExpert.com. Start going through and identifying those systems you have in place and those you want to put into place. Put together a training program and/or system for you to remember to follow up and check that your standards are being trained and executed.

3) Follow up. This and the next step are the two most important steps. Even if you document. Even if you train. Even if you are there every day. If you don’t follow up to see that everyone is doing the job to your standards, you’ve gained nothing but a lot of worthless paperwork. Checking to see that your management team and line employees are doing things the way you want them done for every aspect of the business is critical to your restaurant’s success.

4) Hold management accountable. For some strange reason, restaurant owners can easily hold a line employee accountable. If a line employee screws up, they, for the most part, find it easy to write them up and possibly fire them because they are not performing to the owner’s expectations and standards. But when a manager screws up, they are given chance after chance after chance and often nothing more than a heart to heart conversation ever takes place.

NO! This is not right. They should be written up just like anyone else in your organization. In fact, I might say even more so than line employees.

Your management team is supposed to run the operation the same way you would when you are not there. They are the leaders and if they set bad examples, your line employees will lower their performance standards to meet what you allow from management.

Instead, if a manager does not meet expectations and needs to be written up, do so. You will find out very quickly if that manager wants their job or not. If they do, they will probably never be written up ever again. If they don’t, they will either quit quickly or get written up again soon thereafter hoping you will fire them. Either way, you will know pretty quickly and will have set the tone that you are serious about your standards being met.

These are the four steps you need to follow to set the standards – and make sure they’re being met – in your restaurant.

Contact us today to learn how to bring these steps to life in your restaurant. We have coaches and tools that will make it work for you.

David Scott Peters TheRestaurantExpert (1)David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at www.therestaurantexpert.com/rdspos.

 

7 Steps to Keep Profits Coming in the Back Door

By David Scott Peters

www.therestaurantexpert.com

Your back door is where you do a very important segment of your business – it’s where you order and receive your product. And it’s where restaurant bleed cash.

To fix this, I stress the importance of having systems in place to make your life easier and make you a lot more money. Here’s a step-by-step system that will help you do both of those things.

1)       Plan where deliveries are to be accepted. If you have the room, the best place to check deliveries in is in the walk-in cooler.

2)       Work with your purveyors in advance to set up receiving time. Bring your orders in when you have trained staff to check them in (see step four) and during slower times.

3)       Limit your delivery driver’s access to only delivery areas.

4)       Have either management or a trained key employee receive orders.

5)       When checking in your delivery, follow these steps:

  1. Check invoices for accuracy against your PO (hung at the back door) for each item, quantity and prices.
  2. Check products for quality and condition.
  3. Check temperatures of any refrigerated products to make sure they are not out of the safe zone.
  4. Weigh products

i.      Have a large scale in your receiving area. (If you don’t have one… go get one!)

ii.      Check it routinely for accuracy.

iii.      Remove products from packaging and/or ice before weighing and compare to the invoice weight.

iv.      If there are any discrepancies or problems with products that have to be returned, have the driver make note on the invoice or fill out a credit memo immediately, before signing the invoice.

v.      Remember that once you sign an invoice, you are responsible for payment as shown on the invoice.

6)       Have stocking procedures in place as follows:

  1. Get any refrigerated products into walk-in coolers or freezers immediately.
  2. Remove and date any fresh product as may be required by your health code authority.
  3. Remove any excess packaging and break down boxes as soon as possible.
  4. If you are breaking down all of your boxes, keep the label from each so you have the lot number.
  5. Make sure whoever is stocking is trained to use the first in/first out (FIFO) method in stocking.

7)       Have clerical procedures in place as follows:

  1. All invoices are verified and signed before a check is written if you are on COD.
  2. A copy of the invoice goes to the kitchen manager or chef and a copy goes to whoever is in charge of the checkbook.
  3. Immediately update prices in your inventory spreadsheet (or in SMART Systems Pro).

Conclusion

One of my Elite Members shared that implementing these systems for ordering and receiving food reduced the amount of food he has in his three restaurants, motivated his kitchen managers, resulted in cleaner more organized walk-ins and most importantly, it put more than $6,000 back into his bank account.

So what are you waiting for? Follow these simple steps at your back door and start making more money.

David Scott Peters TheRestaurantExpert (1)David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at www.therestaurantexpert.com/rdspos.