What Your Restaurant Managers Teach Me

By David Scott Peters

www.therestaurantexpert.com

Over the last decade we have worked with countless restaurant managers. So many have been just incredible, perfectly suited for their important roles in your restaurant.

Below are three of them from the past few years that possess a trait I admire and that exemplifies a lesson we all need to learn.

Change is good. – Jay Rushford, Operations Manager, Uncle Bub’s BBQ, Westmont, IL

Jay is the type of guy that is level and has a positive mental outlook on everything. His challenge was to take a restaurant with incredible sales and match those sales with equally impressive profits. Faced with a team resistant to change, this was not an easy task. Jay never once questioned that change was a good thing. Instead he became what my father used to call a “change agent.” He was the restaurant’s biggest advocate for change, a guy who never jammed it down people’s throats, a guy who took the time to train his people on the systems so that they could understand why change was coming and why it was not only good for the restaurant, but good for them, too.

No challenge is too big. – Chris Ford, General Manager, AJ’s Seafood Grille, Ridgeland, MS

Chris was headed for an advanced degree in physical therapy when he found himself in a restaurant where the managers before him just created chaos and frustration for the owners, employees and customers. But Chris saw this as a challenge, an opportunity to grow and a chance for him to see if he really loved the restaurant biz. Somehow, seeing incredible potential in him, I convinced him to give the job a shot and take the general manager position. Since then, he has never looked back. Not only did he see the challenge and kick its ass, he went on to open a new location and has yet to find a challenge too big. With challenge comes growth.

We are ALL on the same team. – Jamie Steinbrecher, Chef, The Okeechobee Steakhouse, West Palm Beach, FL

Jamie is one of those unusual finds in the industry: a chef who creates incredible dishes and understands the business side. He is a truly talented chef and a confident leader, managing his team with honest communication and patience. One of the things that most impresses me about Jamie is his willingness to include the front-of-house management team. He does not look at the kitchen from an “us vs. them” perspective, but rather as one whole team. One of the greatest examples of this is the relationship he has built with the general manager. Together they move the business in a positive direction on a daily basis.

I consider myself extremely lucky to work with so many incredible managers in the business, so many that I cannot mention them all here. I hope that you draw some inspiration from these incredible people and identify the skill sets you need to possess as a manager to be successful and what you should be looking for in your team as an owner.

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.

 

How to Develop a Management Plan in Your Restaurant – Part 2

By David Scott Peters

www.therestaurantexpert.com

In my last blog post I explained what a management plan is and the benefits of developing one in your restaurant.  For this blog post I want to give you the tools you need to create your restaurant’s management plan.

What’s next?

First you have to evaluate your restaurant.

Your management plan is divided into sections that correspond with many of the most important areas of your operation. Each section includes a personal evaluation of your restaurant’s current approach to running a profitable and easy-to-operate business. Use the following questions to create your own evaluations for each of the key areas of your restaurant.

Financial Plan

Using a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being strongly AGREE and 5 being strongly DISAGREE, rate your restaurant on the following:

  1. Based on my restaurant’s current efficiencies, good or bad, I know my breakeven point ­­­____
  2. My restaurant is on an accrual accounting system ­­­____
  3. I supply my accountant, or whoever prepares my books, my ending inventories within five days of the end of every month ­­­____
  4. My profit and loss statement is currently set up in such a way that cost of goods sold and labor are broken out into easy to read sections before all other expenses ­­­____
  5. My restaurant uses weekly and monthly cash flow projections to help run the restaurant efficiently and pay its bills ­­­____
  6. My restaurant has a detailed monthly budget that everyone in the management team understands and is expected to achieve ­­­____
  7. My restaurant knows its dollars per square foot and or dollars per seat ­­­____

Cost of Goods Sold

Using the same scale above, rate your restaurant on the following:

  1. My restaurant uses a budget variance report so management can clearly see how they are managing our controllable expenses ­­­____
  2. My restaurant does a monthly food and liquor inventory ­­­____
  3. For even better controls, my restaurant does a weekly and/or a daily food and liquor inventory ­­­____
  4. My restaurant calculates its cost of goods sold by category at least monthly ­­­____
  5. My restaurant manages its inventory turns to minimize the amount of product sitting on our shelves at any given time and keep our cash in the bank ­­­____
  6. My restaurant keeps an eye on our change in inventory to see if we are ordering properly ­­­____
  7. All of our recipes have a completed recipe costing card filled out and updated on at least a quarterly basis ­­­____
  8. Utilizing our POS system, we know our restaurant’s ideal food and pour cost, and we measure our performance against these numbers ­­­____
  9. In my restaurant we use tools such as a key item report and waste sheet to control our food costs ­­­____
  10. My restaurant uses a purchase allotment system to make sure we are ordering correctly ­­­____

Food Systems

Using the scale above, rate your restaurant on the following:

  1. My restaurant uses par levels for products it purchases ­­­____
  2. My restaurant utilizes a purchase order form to ensure ordering, receiving and costs are done accurately ­­­____
  3. My restaurant only allows management or line employees who have been sufficiently trained on receiving procedures to check in orders ­­­____
  4. My restaurant uses a daily prep list to ensure we prep the appropriate food levels to run successfully each day based on the business we expect ­­­____

Labor Systems

Using the scale above, rate your restaurant on the following:

  1. My restaurant uses a master schedule for all departments so that any manager can write an accurate schedule even if it’s not their own department ­­­____
  2. Every manager knows how many FTEs are needed by department and hire accordingly ­­­____
  3. Schedules are written based on forecasted sales for the week by day and shift ­­­____
  4. Before schedules are done for the next week, management is given projected sales, how much money they can spend and how many employees they need to fill their shifts ­­­____
  5. My restaurant tracks labor cost daily ­­­____
  6. My restaurant trains all managers to write a schedule the same way all of the time ­­­____

Running the Restaurant

Using the scale above, rate your restaurant on the following:

  1. My restaurant uses AM and PM manager checklists on a daily basis ­­­____
  2. My restaurant has a pre-shift meeting 15 minutes before every shift for both front of house and back of house staff ­­­____
  3. My restaurant uses a manager’s log on a daily basis to communicate ­­­____
  4. My restaurant has clearly defined house policies ­­­____
  5. My restaurant trains all managers to follow a step-by-step systems for checking-out ALL line positions ­­­____
  6. All of my managers have been trained in the proper use of the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form ­­­____
  7. My restaurant has a HACCP Plan in place ­­­____
  8. My restaurant has a tip reporting system in place to comply with the yearly filing of our 8027 Tip Report to the IRS ­­­____
  9. My restaurant complies with the OSHA posting requirements ­­­____

Finally

To develop your management plan, after you evaluate each section, start putting your plan on paper in the form of both short-term and long-term goals.

When you are finished with this exercise, you will have put together your complete management plan for success.

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.

 

9 Things to Offer to Attract Good Restaurant Employees

By David Scott Peters

www.therestaurantexpert.com

One of the key lessons I’ve learned over my years in the restaurant business is that not everyone works for you just for money. Money is a factor, but people are looking for much more.

So how do you provide the “much more?”

Many years ago now, restaurant coach Fred Langley best articulated what you have to strive for if you want to attract and keep the very best people on your team. He said you have to become the “Employer of Choice.” So what does that mean?

Without going into the whole explanation behind clinical psychologist Frederick Herzberg’s, “Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory,” let’s cover the key factors beyond money that he says motivate people to work and work hard:

  1. Supervision – Make sure you have a management team that coaches employees to success, understands what makes each employee unique and is able to push their buttons to get the best of your people.
  2. Fair compensation – While you don’t have to be at the top of your market’s pay scale, you certainly cannot be at the bottom.
  3. Good working conditions – Make sure you have a clean restaurant, that you have all the right equipment and tools for your employees to do their jobs, and make safety a priority.
  4. Interpersonal relationships – Avoid at all costs having a management team that thinks all of their people are stupid and treats them like crap. Remember, this is a people business and it all starts with your internal customers.
  5. Recognition – Look for people doing things right in your restaurant and give them kudos when you see it. It’s easy to find people doing something wrong. When you focus on the good things, you create a positive work environment where people want to continue to please you vs. just waiting for the scolding.
  6. Responsibility – Sometimes you have great employees who have been with you for many years who NEVER want to be a part of the management team. Yet, they are willing to do more. Look to teach and assign them tasks that make the company better and get more done. Allow them to be a more valued asset on the team and they will be motivated to do more.
  7. Achievement – With responsibility there are often measurable results. When your team sees how what they do has a direct positive impact on the business, they get a real sense of achievement, which makes them want more.
  8. Advancement – Remember money is not the only thing people are looking for when they join your management team. Many want to know that there is a clear path to promotion and advancement in your company. Whether it’s moving up the management ladder, moving into the next better paying line position or gaining the skills that make them more valuable in their career, there needs to be a clear path to advancement that’s based on doing a good job, not who you are sucking up to.
  9. Work itself – I remember my first jobs in the restaurant business were washing dishes, and I hated it. It felt thankless to me, and I was probably not mature enough to want to work that hard as a young teen. Moving up in my career, I’ve always kept that in the back of my mind when managing employees. You need to make sure the job, no matter what level in your organization, is rewarding.

High employee turnover is expensive and disruptive to any business. With training and systems in place, you start with employees who know what their job is and what is expected of them. But to keep them long term, you have to be an “employer of choice.” If you properly address the majority of these factors, you’ll be one!

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.