If you step out of your restaurant for a day, nothing will function. Staff will slack off, guests won’t return, and problems will spiral into catastrophes.
At least, this is what many restaurant owners fear. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
To keep your restaurant functioning without you, all you have to do is put solid structures in place that keep everything running smoothly. This means hiring a strong team, establishing clear processes that they understand, and ensuring accountability.
If you want to feel comfortable taking time away, you need to trust your leadership team and your restaurant technology — which can help you communicate effectively, deal with any issues, and make decisions remotely.
We dug around for strategies to help you step away and manage your restaurant from anywhere — without worrying about a dip in quality and guest satisfaction.
Below, we cover:
- How to hire the right people so you don’t have to always be “on”
- Tips for staying in the loop and managing remotely
- How to use restaurant technology to communicate, access reports, and manage key functions from anywhere
By the end, you’ll have the confidence and tools to empower your team to succeed when you’re not around. This will allow you to take time off or even expand the business into new areas, all without compromising the success you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Why Is It So Hard to Step Away?
For many restaurant owners, their business is an extension of themselves. It’s a living, breathing entity built on a foundation of tireless dedication, tenacity, and unwavering passion. The connection you forge with your team, your patrons, and your business is profound.
After being at the helm continuously, the thought of the restaurant operating without you may seem as unthinkable as leaving your child unsupervised.
There are genuine reasons to be concerned about stepping away. Standards of hygiene and food safety could slip, service quality might drop, or miscommunication between staff may kick off ripple effects that harm food preparation and your restaurant’s reputation. You might feel a fear of missing out, since you’ve always been at the center of the restaurant’s successes and failures.
You have always been the point of contact for suppliers, delivery drivers, customers, staff, and managers when they have a tricky issue to solve. How will they resolve these everyday problems without you there?
The truth is: a well-managed restaurant will continue operating successfully even if the owner isn’t there. You just have to put in the groundwork to set your team up for success, both by training staff and holding them accountable and using technology to your advantage.
Let’s explore some practical strategies to give you the confidence and the tools to manage your restaurant remotely.
How to Manage Your Restaurant from Anywhere
Use One Tool to Stay in Control
Restaurant management is a juggling act. Keeping track of deliveries, invoices, and inventory. Making sure the restaurant is clean and set up for service every day. Ensuring the chef is happy and not throwing a tantrum. Dealing with customer complaints and sometimes strained supplier relationships.
You probably use a number of tools to keep all of this in check, from a POS system that processes orders and payments, to inventory and kitchen management tools, to staff scheduling and payroll software.
But when you’re not physically present, you’ll want to have easy access to all of these tools. If your management tools are in one place, you can more easily identify potential issues and deal with them — even at a distance — before they turn into problems that have to be dealt with in person.
Here are some examples of problems that can crop up:
- An employee calls in sick last minute.
- A supplier lets you down and can’t deliver a key ingredient.
- A load of inventory goes missing.
Sorting these problems out is all about communication and having the right information. With all your restaurant data in one tool — from staff and supplier contact details, to up-to-date ingredient prices, to inventory levels — you can access the data from anywhere and make decisions remotely. This helps you support your managers who are trying to solve the issues on the ground.
- Check schedules and access staff contact details to find cover for a shift.
- Change menus to cover the missing ingredient.
- Look at digital inventory counts and supplier data to identify the problem.
It’s much easier to manage things remotely when you have one tool where everything is organized and where all your data is stored. A one-stop solution for restaurant management that runs in the cloud allows you to access key insights and action decisions wherever you are.
Stay on Top of Key Metrics from Anywhere
When you’re managing remotely, it’s vital to have a powerful reporting engine that gives you the insights you need. Logging into multiple platforms to collate sales data won’t work.
A fully integrated system provides you with a ton of actionable data, such as:
- Sales Data — Drawing from multiple delivery platforms, your website, app, and in-store sales, this helps you identify bottlenecks and opportunities to increase order numbers and make better staffing decisions.
- Inventory Data — Monitor your current stock levels, food costs, waste, and more to stay in control and identify opportunities to save money.
- Staff Data — Get an overview of staff costs, schedules, and payroll to stay on top of your most valuable assets.
- Store-Level Data — Insights on the metrics that matter, across multiple restaurant locations. For example, average order value, average delivery times, and sales by hour, day, or week, and by order type and channel.
An all-in-one POS system like HungerRush 360 has powerful reporting and analytics tools that collate data from all your sales channels, your inventory system, your customers, and your staff. All of this is available on your POS system, as well as on your mobile device wherever you are, so both you and your managers can monitor and communicate about performance even when you’re not physically present.
Hire Exceptional Leaders
A great restaurant manager must be willing to take on responsibility, work long hours, and motivate a team. They must be trustworthy and capable, because they’ll be filling your shoes when you step away.
Hiring is hard, especially for such a critical position. But here are some tips to help you hire someone you can rely on:
- Attitude Trumps Experience — Find the right person and then train them with the skills they need. Look for someone who listens, takes instruction, and has common sense and initiative.
- Promote from Within — Build a strong culture with a proper onboarding process and continued training and support to cultivate a steady supply of future restaurant managers.
- Lay Out a Roadmap for Success — Managers will be more motivated if they have a vision of future advancement. Outline what their career progression will look like if they are willing to work hard and learn.
Set Clear Procedures and Policies
Staff must know their responsibilities and have boundaries in terms of behavior, conduct, and uniform. This instills a culture of accountability, which is vital for any business. But it’s even more important when you want to step away.
Ideally, you will have a procedure or policy to cover every conceivable situation. These lay out the actions staff members need to take in whatever situation arises. Ensure everyone is properly trained on your procedures and knows where to find the information when they need it.
Here are some examples of standard operating procedures:
- Emergency Procedures — Fire safety guidelines and an evacuation plan for emergencies.
- Disciplinary Procedures — A set of rules and a system of warnings ending in dismissal for repeated breaches.
- Food Safety Compliance — Food handling and storage guidelines to minimize the risk of foodborne illness.
- Cleaning and Maintenance Procedures — Guide for cleaning and maintaining restaurant equipment safely.
Having rules and guidelines set in stone makes it much easier for a manager to maintain high standards. And it gives a clear expectation when training new recruits to build the same habits and routines.
Get Accountability with Digital Checklists
With clear-cut checklists that must be completed every shift, team members are more motivated to complete tasks. This also ensures they have everything they need to do their job, which reduces the chance of them having to contact you with questions.
Checklists can cover a multitude of tasks, from more obvious daily routines to some you might not have thought of.
Here are some common examples:
- Opening Checklists — A clear set of tasks that must be completed by the staff opening the restaurant, e.g., set up tables, prep bar, turn on POS.
- Closing Checklists — Everything that must be done before locking up the restaurant to be ready for the morning, e.g., clean surfaces, set alarms, take out all bins, turn off lights.
- Cleaning Checklists — A complete list of cleaning tasks for each department, e.g., clean customer toilets, mop floors, wipe down tables.
- Daily Kitchen Prep Lists — List the basic daily kitchen prep tasks to get ready for service, e.g., slice lettuce, portion mashed potatoes, grill chicken.
- Bar Prep Lists — Tell you everything the bar needs to get ready for service, e.g., slice lemons and limes, restock fridges, fill ice bin.
- Delivery Order Checklist — Tasks to perform when accepting deliveries from suppliers, e.g., record temperatures, check for damage, check for missing items.
With a digital compliance tool where staff can complete checklists via an iPad or smartphone, you can add a competitive edge. Plus, you get an overview of what’s being done when you’re not there.
Start with a Trial Run
You’ve probably taken the odd weekend away here and there, but stepping away for a week or more might seem daunting. A great way to test your systems and give your team a chance to show you what they can do is to try a longer period away.
Step away, but be on call and monitor what happens by comparing performance data to look for any changes. Keep regular contact with your manager, and use this experience to improve your procedures and retrain staff. Next time, you can be more confident about taking a break and being less available.
Stay in the Loop with an All-in-One Tech Platform
Using a one-stop restaurant management platform allows you to get an overview of key metrics, stamp out embers before they become fires, and communicate and collaborate with your trusted managers, all with one tool.
It also gives you the ability to manage all aspects of your restaurant remotely — and the option to switch off and enjoy a vacation or get on with running other parts of the business, while still being able to check on key aspects of the business when you want to.
Ready to try it?Use HungerRush 360 to manage your restaurant from anywhere.
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