Keeping a restaurant profitable is a demanding business. Your customers have plenty of other dining options in most cities. Your employees may be temporary and have limited interest in the restaurant industry. Fortunately, there are a few simple daily and weekly habits that will bring in predictable revenue.
1 Know your numbers
Picture this: your server asks you for permission to provide a complimentary glass of wine to a customer to make up for an earlier error. Should you agree to this request?
If you do not know your financial numbers – costs and profits – you can only go with gut instinct. To put this tip into action, set aside a minimum of 1 hour per month to review your restaurant’s financial performance.
2 Reach out to regular customers
Regular customers who dine every week or month are worth their weight in gold. A typical customer might spend 50 Euros on their meal. If they become a monthly customer, your restaurant will earn over 500 Euros from them over the year. That added profit potential means it is worth your time to connect with regular customers.
To apply this tip, do one of the following each week·
- Visit the table to welcome back customers on their second visit. Simply showing you have noticed and appreciate a returning customer goes a long way to making them a long term customer.
- Offer a surprise coupon for regular customers. From time to time, offer a coupon for 10%, a free dessert or another offer to entice regular customers to keep coming back.
3 Monitor health and safety practices throughout your restaurant
Keeping a restaurant clean and organized is difficult! However, poor cleanliness and hygiene are one of the fastest ways to lose customers. You might even face trouble from the government if unsanitary conditions continue. To sustain cleanliness throughout your restaurant, you must carry out personal inspections. Pretend you are a government health inspector and look everywhere for problems!
Tip: In June 2019, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) issued enforcement orders against eleven food businesses. The authorities found significant problems such as cockroaches, a mouse, flies, lack of hot water in a sink, and an employee with an open cut on their finger. Print this press release and discuss it with your employees to emphasize the importance of health and safety protection.
4 Use a hiring checklist every time
You know that employee turnover is high in the restaurant industry. STAT. On the other hand, a bad hiring decision can hurt your company’s reputation badly. That’s why we recommend developing a hiring checklist that you use every single time.
According to the Checklist Manifesto, checklists are used by pilots and surgeons to avoid problems. Use your hiring checklist to make sure you never make the same mistake twice. To get your checklist started, ask yourself the following questions:
- What mistakes have you made (or seen others make) most often in hiring restaurant employees?
- What past steps of the hiring process (e.g., verifying past references) do you tend to forget?
- Who else do you need to involve in the hiring process to make a good selection? For example, involving the chef in your hiring process for new kitchen staff will help you avoid hiring mistakes and build goodwill for the chef at the same time.
Tip: Keep your hiring checklist to a maximum of 1o points to start with. Any longer than that and you are likely to avoid using it.
5 Provide online training for employees
What do you do after hiring new employees? You might be so busy with regular operations that you forgot to offer training to your new hires. Without a training program, your new employees will struggle to work effectively. Fortunately, you can offer training without personally sitting down with every new hire.
How? Sign up for RAI Academy and offer training to your employees. For a more consistent experience, you can add your branding and logos to the app to make it a seamless experience for your employees. The training is self-paced, so your employees can sign in and complete the course at their convenience.
By the way, you do not need to create the training courses yourself. HiUp has partnered with leading training providers who can provide structured, easy to understand training. For example, you can get courses that cover First Aid training.
Every business, large or small, has risks.
That’s true whether your job puts you in a busy kitchen with a lot of foot traffic or keeps you serving tables for most of the day. Luckily, you can put systems in place to reduce your exposure.
Your employee training program is the perfect place to start. Employee training is your chance to build risk management into the very fiber of your business. It gives your staff the tools they need to protect themselves, your customers, and ultimately, your business.
The right training program helps you reduce the chance of employee injuries, customer injuries, and customer disputes.
There has been a huge rise in the number of Hotels and Restaurants compliant with Health and Safety and GDPR regulations.
Technology such as the new RAI Academy in conjunction with HiUp & Olive Safety has now made it possible to bring your staff training online in just 3 clicks for a fraction of the traditional cost and staff downtime.
6 Resolve customer complaints with a long-term perspective
“I demand to speak to your manager!”
That’s a phrase no restaurant manager looks forward to overhearing. As you start to hear about the problem, you may feel torn between backing up your employee and trying to make the customer happy. When facing these questions, use a long term view to guide your response.
Ask yourself, “how can I address this complaint so that the restaurant is better in the future?”
For instance, you may set aside a monthly budget of 100 Euros to respond to customer complaints. That approach will help to convert complaining customers into regulars. At the same time, you also need to systematically
7 Coach staff on sales and service habits every week
In addition to completing training courses, your employees need ongoing coaching from you. For the best results, use coaching in response to positive and negative behaviors. Here are some examples of coaching techniques to use with a new hire.
- Behavior: Employee arrives at the restaurant 15 minutes before their shift starts to get ready.
- Coaching Comment: Thank you for arriving early and getting ready. It helps the restaurant run smoothly.
- Behavior: Employee yells at a customer in response to a complaint.
- Coaching Comment: We do not yell at customers because that rarely solves the situation. Instead, I challenge you to ask follow up questions to better understand the customer’s concerns
Resource: For additional insight on coaching techniques, we recommend “The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever “ by Michael Bungay Stanier. Using coaching techniques, rather than simply issuing orders, helps your employees to develop skills and rely less on your constant direction.
Your Next Step To Become A More Effective Restaurant Manager
Putting all of these tips into action right away might feel overwhelming. Start by offering online training to your restaurant employees. That’s one less problem for you to worry about and a way to improve employee performance at the same time.