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Streamlining restaurant operations for success

A restaurant is more than the food and drinks you serve — it also involves a variety of processes, including purchasing food, managing inventory, scheduling employees, and cleaning up after customers. Each of these moving parts must work together for your business to be successful.

Does your restaurant have room for improvement? You’re not alone; most establishments can benefit from enhanced restaurant operations management. By streamlining key processes, you can reduce waste, cut costs, and build a more profitable restaurant business.

Why are effective restaurant operations important for business?

Effective restaurant operations management aims to optimize all the processes that go into running your business. For most restaurants, this includes:

  • Food and supply purchasing
  • Menu planning and menu item pricing
  • Food inventory management
  • Controlling food cost
  • Food preparation
  • Food service
  • Food safety
  • Cleanup
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Customer service

Each of these areas must function seamlessly on its own and as part of the whole. Many restaurant tasks are interconnected — if one process isn’t properly optimized, it can affect other parts of the operation. You might also experience forgotten tasks or operational gaps that frustrate employees and damage the customer experience.

For example, imagine your inventory management strategy isn’t aligned with order volume data. On slow days, you’ll likely end up with spoiled ingredients and a high percentage of food waste. During busy periods, kitchen staff may not have adequate inventory levels to meet demand. This forces restaurant management to remove dishes from the menu, creating a challenge for servers and a drop in customer satisfaction.

That’s where restaurant operations management comes in — when you streamline each aspect of the business, your restaurant can operate efficiently and effectively. You’ll also reduce costs, cut back on food waste, and empower staff to deliver the best possible guest experience.

Of course, it’s not practical for restaurant owners to personally oversee every function of the business. To save time and ensure consistent quality, successful restaurant operators develop an operations manual that includes standard operating procedures (SOPs) and a restaurant operations checklist. Your restaurant manager can use the manual for staff training, and employees can refer to it to understand exactly what’s expected of them. Creating a kitchen cleaning checklist can organize daily upkeep tasks. That way, the business runs smoothly and you’re free to focus on high-level management tasks.

How restaurants can optimize restaurant management

As you start improving restaurant operations management, focus on three key areas: labor, inventory management, and finances. In most businesses, streamlining these functions provides the biggest impact. If you run a large establishment or multiple locations, consider bringing in a restaurant operations manager to supervise the process. 

Streamline staffing and labor

Your employees are the backbone of your restaurant; staff members are responsible for interacting with guests, preparing food, maintaining the space, and delivering impeccable customer service. To ensure workers can do their jobs effectively, create a solid staff schedule. Make sure to allot plenty of employees for each shift — when you have enough people to run the restaurant, it’s easier to prevent overwork and burnout.

If you want to take your operations management a step further, focus on the high staff turnover rates that are common in the restaurant industry. Build a healthy workplace culture that boosts retention and reduces hiring costs with strategies such as:

  • Creating a fair and transparent time-off request process
  • Ensuring the leadership team and kitchen crew are supportive of staff members
  • Investing in thorough restaurant staff training
  • Posting SOPs to boost consistency in daily operations
  • Providing opportunities for advancement within the business

It’s hard to underestimate the benefits of quality labor management on operational efficiency. When staff members are appreciated and treated fairly, they’re more likely to follow best practices for restaurant operations management and provide better customer service.

Improve inventory management

Inventory management is a critical component of restaurant operations management. After all, most of your restaurant’s inventory comes with an expiration date — if you don’t use it within a specific time period, it becomes unusable.

To start optimizing this process, adjust your ordering strategy to match shifts in customer demand. Then, implement a first-in, first-out (FIFO) strategy to ensure each food item is used before it spoils. These two steps can go a long way toward reducing food waste and improving profit margins.

If you’re currently managing inventory manually, it might be time to switch to a digital solution. Modern inventory management software often comes with AI-driven insights that analyze past sales data to predict demand and suggest quantities. This feature helps management make informed decisions while saving money and maintaining high food quality.

Organize financial management procedures

Running a restaurant can be expensive, but with proper financial management, you can avoid excess waste and maximize profits. Controlling your finances begins with a budget — this essential tool helps you stick to your spending goals, keep tabs on cash flow, and monitor daily costs.

If you’re struggling to reconcile numbers, an integrated POS system can create a central source of knowledge of all sales and expense data. You might also consider outsourcing bookkeeping to an accounting firm with experience in restaurant operations management; they can offer valuable tips for cutting costs and reducing financial waste.

Leveraging technology in your establishment

Thanks to new and emerging technologies, the hospitality industry is more advanced than ever. That’s good news if you’re a restaurant owner — it means you can eliminate clunky manual processes and use technology to improve restaurant operations management. Digital inventory management systems, AI-driven staff scheduling software, and holistic POS systems can boost operational efficiency and help your restaurant run smoothly.

Technology is particularly effective when it comes to streamlining the delivery component of operations management. Not sure where to start? Grubhub can help; our cutting-edge integrations help you optimize processes, including menu updates, payment processing, and delivery tracking. And because Grubhub integrates seamlessly with a variety of popular POS systems, you can create a more streamlined order management system across your entire restaurant. To find out how we can help you build a more effective delivery system, try Grubhub today.

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