Many people think a restaurant's success is due solely to the talents of its chef. While having a great kitchen staff is essential, no restaurant could reach its full potential without a skilled manager ensuring efficient operations and an excellent customer experience. Effective restaurant management is the key to a thriving business — and successful managers are constantly searching for new ways to improve.
Wondering what you can do to boost your bottom line? Take a look at our top six restaurant manager tips below.
How to improve restaurant management
1. Invest in a formal training program
One of the best things you can do for your restaurant is ensure every employee has the training and resources they need to do a great job. Investing time in developing a new hire training and orientation program sets expectations and clearly communicates your values, procedures, and policies from the very beginning. Training your team will not only raise the quality of service they deliver to your customers, but can boost employee retention. It also helps to reduce errors, minimizing costs and disruption to your operations.
As a first step, create an employee handbook. Talk through common scenarios so everyone on staff knows exactly what to do — whether it's preparing delivery orders, closing down the kitchen, or handling customer complaints. You can also use training apps to create bite-sized, engaging learning sessions on the go.
After orientation, focus on professional development. Give high-potential employees a clear path to career growth through additional training and development programs that help them rise up the ladder.
2. Develop a strong workplace culture
Restaurants have historically struggled with high employee turnover, and the industry is currently facing a labor shortage. According to 2022 data, the average tenure for a restaurant employee is only 110 days — or just over three months.
There are a number of reasons for high employee turnover, from high-stress environments to low wages. Revamping your restaurant’s pay structure and benefits packages can be a crucial step in improving retention rates. Of course, these bigger changes will take time — so here are some simple strategies to improve the employee experience in the meantime:
Offer family meals. During family meals, employees get the opportunity to gather around a table and enjoy food from your restaurant. This gives them time to get to know one another, connect, and decompress before a shift.
Thoughtfully schedule shifts. When creating weekly work schedules, it’s important to show consideration for employee needs and preferences like requested time off. Doing so can make a big difference in helping employees feel seen and supported.
Celebrate milestones and achievements. Recognition programs, such as employee of the month or spot bonuses, are a good way to showcase staff members who have demonstrated exemplary performance. Beyond improving retention, this can also boost employee engagement and productivity.
3. Create a comprehensive marketing strategy
Every restaurant has a unique story to tell. Make sure to share yours with the community in creative ways, expanding your reach and engaging prospective customers. If you’re just getting started, here are some fundamental pillars of restaurant marketing:
Website and social media. Invest in a strong website that tells your restaurant's story and gives customers the information they're looking for. From there, stay engaged with your audience by sharing updates and reposting customer photos across social media.
Review sites and third-party review apps. To raise awareness, make sure you have a digital presence on review sites — like Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, OpenTable, and TripAdvisor — and third-party apps like DoorDash.
Strategic menu design. Your menu can serve as a powerful marketing tool. By employing menu engineering techniques, you can attract new customers through catchy descriptions and compelling photos.
Holiday promotions and discounts. Offer seasonal promotions or special holiday deals to draw in more business — and be sure to advertise them on social media. For example, if you run a pizza restaurant, National Pi Day could be an excellent opportunity to entice customers with discounted pies.
Signage and flyers. Post signs and flyers in highly visible locations, and include inserts in your to-go orders.
Local sponsorships and events. Contact local sports teams or schools to see if there are upcoming opportunities to showcase your brand.
Anything you can do to make your restaurant stand out and capture the attention of prospective customers will help expand your reach and margins. For more restaurant manager tips and inspiration, download our free Restaurant Holiday Marketing Calendar & Toolkit.
4. Look for fresh revenue streams
Successful restaurant managers are always looking for new ways to grow their business. After all, there are only so many ways to cut ingredient costs and streamline day-to-day workflows. An effective restaurant management strategy uncovers new sources of income and supports long-term growth. Here are some ideas to consider for adding revenue streams:
Catering: Preparing food for larger groups — such as offices, parties, and weddings — gives you access to larger ticket sizes and can be more efficient than creating individual meals.
Delivery and pickup: Partner with a third-party platform like DoorDash to reach new customers through pickup and delivery.
5. Harness innovative technology
The past decade has seen tremendous advancements in restaurant technology platforms designed to streamline cumbersome processes. Manual practices, such as writing orders down on paper for the kitchen or calling in daily orders to your suppliers, have been replaced by all-in-one platforms that simplify effective restaurant management.
Successful restaurant managers now rely on technology to support and streamline ongoing tasks in inventory management, sales reporting, and more. Point of sale (POS) software like Toast and Square has become ubiquitous, as have tools that support back-office functionality — and many of these integrate with DoorDash.
Advanced analytics and reporting with easy-to-use visualization tools, like those available in the DoorDash Merchant Portal, can help restaurant managers stay on top of daily activities.
6. Monitor restaurant and consumer trends
One of the most important restaurant manager tips for success is to keep a close eye on the industry through news sources like Nation's Restaurant News and blogs like Eater and the one you’re currently reading. These publications are always sharing the latest trends and stories about the food and beverage industry, including consumer preferences.
If you’ve been paying close attention, you may know that contactless payments are here to stay. You might have also heard about the rising popularity of customer loyalty programs. Savvy restaurateurs can stay on top of these trends through a variety of news sources as well as active forums, like these ones on Reddit and Facebook.
Effective restaurant management starts now
Restaurant managers are always looking for new ways to cut costs and increase sales. Learning how to manage restaurants and your bottom line is an ongoing process, involving lots of trial and error. But these restaurant manager tips can provide a much-needed jumpstart — and delivery apps and services can help you boost sales even more.
Our restaurant partners can choose from a range of affordable services to open up new opportunities and increase income flexibility. If you’re ready to take restaurant management to the next level, sign up for DoorDash today.