Restaurant management

10 secrets of restaurant management

Did you know that 60% of restaurants fail in their first year, while 80% risk death without having passed their five years?

The two main reasons for failures are poorly organized locations and processes. While location is a fairly obvious and easily fixable problem, management issues cause too many headaches for restaurant owners and managers.

Is there a secret ingredient to professional restaurant management?

If you apply the little-known or sometimes underestimated tips below, you’ll have a stellar restaurant team that can lead your business to higher revenue and success.

Top 10 secrets about running a restaurant

Polish customer service

In fact, poor service is the reason about 83% of customers skip restaurants.

Here’s what you might need to do to improve customer service and polish it to perfection:

  • Develop a strategy to prioritize a customer-centric approach
  • Inspire engagement with incentive marketing and limited time offers
  • Approach the holidays with more care
  • Personalize the visitor experience
  • Train service personnel and practice possible scenarios with “mystery dinners”
  • Give a “wow” treatment

Regarding the latter, the Starbucks barista, for example, learned sign language to better assist her deaf client. Isn’t that a “wow” service?

Properly train your employees

If all you do is ask your employees to “always be nice to customers”, that’s not enough, to say the least. You may need to consider better ways to train your restaurant staff.

Plus, take advantage of the background training program to both train your team and drive culinary innovation. When planning employee training sessions, follow the Three Rs principle:

  • Regularity— provide opportunities for upgrading skills at least once a month.
  • Reasoning— explain why they need to continually improve their skills.
  • Reward—reward workers for their achievements and talents (avoid favoritism).

Remember that communication is key

This applies to both your team and your customers. And verbal and non-verbal communication.

Top 5 secrets for communicating with employees:

  • Go digital and chat with them
  • Show that you care about him, ask about his wants and needs, answer his questions and concerns
  • Praise in public but criticize in private
  • Encourage feedback, collect it and react to it
  • Treat employees like customers

Top 5 secrets for communicating with customers:

  • Address regular visitors by name
  • Personalize the communication (for example, a personalized handwritten note is a killer trick to win the hearts of your customers forever)
  • Use body language (eye contact, handshake, sincere smile, etc.)
  • Build loyalty by sharing personal stories
  • Make them feel like they’re getting your full attention

Be aware of laws and regulations

You need to be aware of inspection types and licenses, food preparation, building and zoning regulations, and other important rules so you don’t repeat the fate of the Nokni pop-up. Oakland and face the closure of your establishment for illegality. It’s not the worst result, as you can guess.

Do you know everything about labor law, the consequences of having undocumented people in restaurants or the tax credit for employee retention?

Regularly scan legal topics in the restaurant industry, consult with attorneys, if necessary, and keep pace with changes in state and local laws. For example, alcohol certification recently became mandatory in California.

Take advantage of strong advertising to build brand awareness

A powerful and creative advertising campaign can boost a restaurant’s reputation and generate profits. You can follow the example of Buffalo Wild Wings and benefit from television and radio advertisements.

Advertisements must be integrated on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. In this case, productive social media management can be your first step to developing a stronger restaurant voice and increasing brand awareness.

To note: the rule of thumb for any restaurant business is to be Instagram-oriented. Your Instagram profile content should stand out, while diners should be enticed to take photos, share them, comment and recommend the place. This is how you can enable word of mouth advertising. Conquering customers is possible with “instagrammable” blue-green, purple or coral shades and vibrant colors (orange, yellow, red).

Think long term and plan more carefully

Planning is not child’s play, as you cannot foresee unexpected situations (as was the case with COVID-19 which changed the restaurant industry). It pays to update your crisis plan and always have a plan B in reserve.

This may be the most appropriate time to rework your business plan and think from a long-term planning perspective to boost restaurant performance like Rave or Red Robin did.

Main staff planning

In order not to beat around the bush, make the best use of the following planning tactics to increase profitability:

  • Consider employee preferences
  • Let everyone work high shifts
  • Make sure you have workers on call
  • Prepare schedules in advance and allow early access to them
  • Enjoy the benefits of automation and create schedules online

Stay open to learn from your team

Whether it’s a pre-shift meeting, a staff lunch ritual, or just a running minute in the work routine, always listen to what your team members have to say.

They can dazzle you with striking suggestions on improvements you never thought of. Recognize their individual strengths, interact with them during team building sessions, and listen more carefully to create a strong team of people who will be willing to share their ideas with you.

Focus on problem solving, not blame

Cleanliness is one of the biggest issues and concerns as 95% of consumers want to see increased commitment to cleaning after the pandemic outbreak.

Of course, you can blame it on your staff, in case you receive a complaint about lack of disinfectants or dirty toilets, for example, but it is the responsibility of the manager to ensure a cleaner and safer place to the guests.

Some restaurant managers often like to play the so-called “blame game” and are obsessed with finding fault. When a problem arises, don’t waste time looking for a scapegoat, rather solve it as soon as possible.

Innovate as much as you can

Innovations and AI-based technologies, in particular, can help reduce costs, fight inflation, improve back office efficiency and attract more customers.

Since robotics and automation have already gained a solid footing in the hospitality industry and QR codes may no longer surprise anyone, it might be beneficial to try something out of the ordinary.

If you offer delivery services, you can benefit from a restaurant ordering system. Customers can place and manage orders from the mobile app, website, as well as Facebook and Instagram. It also allows you to set up a targeted advertising strategy on social networks.

You can also learn from competitors who have already successfully applied innovation strategies in their establishments to improve restaurant efficiency:

  • Robotics (Wings and Rings)
  • Instagram Boards (Boston Chops Downtown)
  • Code-protected boxes for recharging phones (Parlor Pizza)
  • Conveyor belts (chubby cattle)
  • Private igloos, domes and catering modules (Gianni’s Café, The Three Horseshoes)
  • Other technology products can also expand your toolbox.


Expectations of restaurateurs and restaurant managers are higher than ever.

Let your catering establishment thrive with happy guests, as soon as you “cook up” the best management strategy from the tips above.