Critical Restaurant Management Tasks that commonly get lost by restaurant owners and managers
ST LOUIS, MO (StLouisRestaurantReview) Owning or managing a restaurant has never been easy with many moving parts to any establishment, long hours, and high customer demands to achieve high customer satisfaction. High customer satisfaction is critical in this high-tech era that we live in. Customers will most likely not tell you about their dissatisfaction but go online and post their complaints, costing you thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Yelp has reported that one negative review can damage a restaurant as much as $20,000 annually.
As a restaurant owner/manager, it is easy to get lost in the daily operations and forget about some of the most critical tasks demanded by every business. We work with multiple restaurant establishments, small and large, and we see the repeated mistake time after time.
The most common errors made by restaurant owners and managers:
- Accounting – Budgeting
- Customer Satisfaction
- Digital Marketing – Local Search Results
- Excessively Large Menus
- Rewarding Customers
While it is common that the large majority of restaurants lack these areas of management, most realize that they do not pay enough attention to these critical areas.
Accounting – Budgeting is the most ignored because old-school thoughts view accounting as complicated and need a professional’s services. Not true! Intuit owns the brand Quickbooks. They are a publicly-traded company that has been developing this program for more than 30+ years. They have integrated this bookkeeping program to work seamlessly with most banks for easy and fast accounting. Any business needs to provide accurate accounting records. Accounting is NOT a theory, but a fundamental part of owning or managing any business. In fact, it is required by general business standards and all government agencies, both state and federal. Years ago, when small businesses needed the services of accountants, it was expensive and time-consuming. That is not the case today, thanks to Quickbooks. They also provide a payroll service that integrates with your Quickbooks.
The biggest benefit to Quickbooks is the auto expense classification that works with your bank. The information is fed from your bank to your Quickbooks account, and then Quickbooks learn the expenses and classifies them over time with small labors of effort from the owner or manager.
Customer Satisfaction is the hardest part of this business. While most restaurant owners and managers have good intentions with the technology world and presence of Google, Facebook, and Yelp, most people are more comfortable going online to express their negative experience rather than sharing it with the restaurant management. Negative reviews are damaging and critical to manage. All restaurants should respond to online reviews and engage those unhappy customers to make them happy customers. Having said that, some people are impossible to make happy, but you have to do what you can do revert negative to possible.
Digital Marketing is critical. It is commonly overlooked because it is either oversimplified or under simplified. The young think they know and understand it, while the older owners and managers are intimidated. We work with restaurant owners that cannot open their own emails. Of course, they are overwhelmed and intimidated. The most common mistake is not hiring a professional’s services that understand all aspects of the digital work. There is nothing more important to any business than its online presence. That statement should not be overlooked.
We recently helped a pizza franchise that has been in business for a few years and is succeeding with high customer reviews, service, and high-quality cuisines, but they did not have their location claimed and verified with Google and did not have a website to drive local traffic. There is nothing more important to a small business that relies on local traffic for sales than their online digital presence.
Excessively Large Menus are too common. The theory is to create a menu that offers something for every demand. NOT POSSIBLE! If you are a niche restaurant, be the best in the niche. Don’t make the common mistake of trying to be all things to all consumers. No restaurant owner or manager can conquer that challenge. Nobody! It is foolish and arrogant to think this is possible.
If your niche cuisines are the best backed by the best service, you will be too busy to worry about expanding a menu that will cost you sales and increase expenses.
Rewarding Customers is the best way to get customers to revisit and post positive online reviews.
Owning and managing a restaurant is not easy. However, most restaurant owners love their job but feel that the ability to make a profit is not worth the personal sacrifice. Having said that, we believe that the opportunities in the future will exceed those available in the past due to less competition and the national press coverage regarding the negative impact on the industry. Consumers will likely be more willing to be more supportive of those establishments that deserve their business. However, less competition will likely be accompanied by less demand. COVID-19 has changed how people live. They stay home, and those that didn’t know how to cook or those that did not enjoy cooking have learned to enjoy the financial benefit of saving money. We don’t know how the industry will look if and when we get through this COVID-19 event. However, after being in business for more than 35 years, we can assure you that every change or problem that surfaces will be new opportunities. It is time to explore and find new opportunities, but first, get these tasks conquered before you worry about expanding or making significant change. Get the business fundamentals solid.
Good restaurant franchises offer good leadership and assistance with managing these tasks with discounts, or advice. After all, what are the royalty fees for. Leadership! If you are paying for advice, but not getting it, explore other options.
Use the National Restaurant Association. They have a significant amount of information that is “critical” information to know.