How To Improve Restaurant Operations: Strategic Approach To Success

Published on:
March 9, 2024
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Whether it’s inventory management, excellent customer service, or overall quality, the list of responsibilities when opening and operating a restaurant is endless.

If you manage a restaurant, you know that it is sometimes difficult to keep your restaurant running efficiently. A survey asked a bunch of industry experts what they thought was the most difficult part about being a restaurant pro and 52% of them replied high operating and food costs. 

If you are trying to figure out how to improve restaurant operations, you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, we’re going to share insights, strategies, and tips from experts in restaurant operations to help you stay on top of the trends and ahead of the competition.

No matter what challenges you’re facing in the restaurant game, you’ll find answers to some of your biggest operation questions: From optimizing your restaurant’s inventory management to ways to improve staff productivity. We’re going to cover everything under the operations umbrella to help you keep your business on top and maximize your profitability.

Let’s start

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What are Restaurant Operations?

Every restaurant has different operations and different rules and regulations. Generally speaking, the term restaurant operations refers to the work involved in running a restaurant, and the overall operations viewpoint can differ between companies.

  • Front-of-house restaurant operations include customer service, table management, and the use of POS systems.
  • Back-of-house operations will include inventory management, culinary methods, and food safety. 
  • Restaurant management includes all of the high-level tasks that keep your business functioning. This includes financial management, material procurement, scheduling, process development, and much more.

What is Restaurant Operation Management?

Operations management in a restaurant refers to the process and arrangement involved in keeping the restaurant rolling along regularly. Operations management includes invoicing, accounting, inventory, payroll, payments, and staffing. The things that go on in the back of the house.

A well-executed operations management strategy ensures that everything comes together harmoniously, so your business runs smoothly.

For example, instead of having to manually count how many corn tortillas you have on hand every time you need to order more, you have a system – often an automated one – in place that accelerates the time it takes to do that task and makes it more accurate.

Streamlining back-of-house operations by automating certain back-office functions can be a game-changer.

How to Improve Restaurant Operations?

Efficient Workflow Management

workflow management is key to any successful restaurant. From the moment an order is placed to the moment it's served an organized process is needed for it to run smoothly.

The kitchen layout must be optimized for easy movement, food items must be prepped and in their correct places, and there should be seating for each day’s staff.

The layout of your kitchen can have a great effect on how efficient your workflow will be.

Place workstations so work is not doubled and there is less unnecessary movement. By doing this you can reduce blocks and speed up how quickly things move. When designing your kitchen think about how efficient it will be in the future. Make a floor plan of your kitchen and take into consideration storage, equipment, and workflow patterns.

In addition, Adequate staffing levels are critical to ensuring smooth operations. By effectively evaluating needs and staff scheduling, you can prevent over and under-staffing situations that can slow down the office.

Efficient assignment of tasks is also important. By assigning roles and responsibilities that match employee’s skills, workflow is maximized while errors are minimized.

In our discussion of how to improve the operations of restaurants, technology plays an important role in the optimization of restaurant activities.

The features related to task and work order management and food safety systems such as Xenia help to smooth the workflow or work order management system and supply the task to optimize restaurant operational activities. It helps to control the restaurant operations, kitchen tickets, and in-house requirements. It also minimizes the need for sending staff all over, hence they save costs to track inventory.

Accurate Inventory Check and Supply Management

The National Restaurant Association states that 75% of the restaurant's inventory shrinkage is due to internal theft, this shows how these problems need to be resolved by a solution to keep the restaurant on the right path. 

Effective inventory control is vital within the restaurant business to manage the supplies and goods in the restaurant the restaurant business needs to effectively manage only what it needs and at the right time that it needs it.

This will ensure the restaurant does not have understock issues where they run out of stocks, or overstock issues As a result all operations run smoothly. The right products need to be delivered to the right location at the right time ensuring no delays in the production process.

One of the main principles of inventory management is to minimize excess waste by finding the right balance of stock that is needed. Incorporating the right inventory management software is a key element of successful inventory management. This software helps track real-time stock levels to allow for real-time decisions on when to reorder and how much to reorder.

In addition, following the First In, First Out (FIFO) approach to inventory rotation can help avoid spoilage and ensure the freshness of the product.

Restaurants face serious food waste issues which can lead to environmental problems and a decrease in profitability. By keeping a close eye on the amount of food on hand, they can cut down on waste.

By identifying problem areas, businesses can find where perfect good food is being thrown out and see further savings.

Exceptional Customer Service 

Another important aspect to consider in how to improve the operations of restaurants is customer service.

A restaurant’s customer service is a reflection of the entire operation. Customer service is more than taking orders and delivering food. It’s about creating a memorable experience that exceeds guests’ expectations and encourages them to return and recommend your establishment in the future. When guests feel valued and cared for genuinely, they’ll return and encourage others to do as well. 

Long waits are not only inconvenient, but they lead to frustration with the dining experience. Implementing strategies to reduce wait times will certainly alleviate the congestion and will result in happier customers.

To improve table turnover staff members should be trained to quickly and efficiently reset tables which will therefore increase table turnover.

In addition, through personalizing the dining experience, there will be increased attention towards the customer's preferences which will make the restaurant feel that we care about them.

This can be done by encouraging our employees to increase engagement with our guests and predict their needs. By taking note of guests' information, managers will be able to make personalized recommendations and by making good use of our guests' information, it will promote personalization through service.

Financial and Data Management

Sound financial management is one of the key pillars of a successful restaurant. Develop a budget and monitor your expenses carefully.

Keep a close eye on your profit margins to make sure they are in line with industry benchmarks, and adjust pricing as needed. Effective financial management will help ensure that your restaurant remains financially stable and profitable.

Data can be a powerful asset in improving your restaurant’s operations. Utilize restaurant management software to collect and analyze data on everything from sales to customer preferences to inventory. This data-driven approach will enable you to make informed decisions, optimize your menu, and enhance overall efficiency.

  • Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and measure them on an ongoing basis. KPIs like table turnover rates, average check size, and customer satisfaction allow for actionable ways to improve.  
  • Continually update and revise your business plan to accurately reflect your marketplace and customer demographics. You may be too small to tap into the demographic data you come across, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t trends you can spot.
  •  Being agile and flexible to change strategies mid-stream can help keep you viable, and long-term.

Benefits of Improving the Operation of Restaurant 

Being able to learn how to improve the operations of a restaurant can bring with it many benefits, all of which feel the impact on your business’s success and longevity.

Here’s a top-level look at a few of the advantages that your restaurant can experience when you concentrate on making operations more efficient.

Increased Sales and Profit Margins - Through streamlining and optimizing various aspects of your restaurant’s operations you can effectively boost sales and profit margins. Whether it be enhancing customer service protocols to a seamless dining experience or implementing better inventory management practices to minimize waste and control costs, improvements in restaurant operations management can directly and positively impact your bottom line.

Greater Employee Morale: Effective and well-optimized restaurant operations not only benefit your customers but also your staff. Poorly managed processes cause frustration and dissatisfaction among employees. Conversely, highly optimized operations will make life easier for your staff, making them more effective and happier in their work. Furthermore, as word spreads about your restaurant’s slick operation and positive work environment, it will become an attractive place to work.

Better Customer Satisfaction: Currently, 7 out of 10 US customers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service.

Customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal of any restaurant. By streamlining restaurant operations and addressing common issues, you can work to enhance customer satisfaction in your restaurant.

A well-run restaurant ensures orders are taken correctly and food is served quickly. It also ensures a pleasant ambiance, consistent good-quality food, and prompt service. When a restaurant provides all of this, customers are bound to be satisfied and keep returning for more. When your customers keep coming back for more, they are likely to recommend your restaurant to their friends and family and generate more business for you through positive word of mouth.

Xenia -Ultimate Restaurant Management Software

6 Best Restaurant Management Software To Complete Back Of House Operations

Remaining relevant in the constantly changing restaurant industry is a key component of how to improve restaurant operations and run a successful business.

That’s where Xenia comes in, offering a suite of solutions that aims to revolutionize the way a traditional restaurant is run.

Customer Engagement Abilities

The program's selling point, among many others, revolves around its strong customer engagement capabilities. Xenia enables restaurants to better engage with customers, delighting them and increasing loyalty.

Xenia fosters a more meaningful restaurant-patron connection by making it easy to manage bookings and giving simple and clear feedback-gathering alternatives. Allowing you simple booking choices and real-time feedback allows the restaurant to adjust its offerings to your preferences and consistently exceed expectations.

Complete Mastery of BOH Activities 

How to improve restaurant operations? An effective way to automate and streamline all types of back-of-house (BOH) activities is compartmentalizing your features, through Xenia’s feature-centric approach. 

This restaurant operations management software also offers functionalities that are designed keeping in mind the broad spectrum of issues that help to increase overall efficiency and accountability in daily restaurant operations.

Some of the program's key features are highlighted below:

  • Easily allows BOH staff to create, assign, and manage jobs, fostering an accountability and excellence culture in your restaurant. 
  • Digital checklists for all of your key tasks.Procedures for handwashing, surface cleaning, and equipment maintenance. 
  • Centralized work schedules and automated warnings reduce the danger of missing crucial restaurant work orders. 
  • Sends real-time feedback and messages to BOH employees when tasks are accomplished. 
  • Designed for a variety of inspections, including HACCP and GFSI food safety compliance checklists, Xenia ensures that BOH operations meet or exceed regulatory criteria. 
  • Goes beyond inspections to develop stringent Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA) processes.
  • The application creates customizable reports that gather vital information and provide data-driven insights. These reports give BOH managers the tools they need to make educated decisions.

Speeding up Services Without Compromising Quality

When customers are dining out, the speed and quality of the customer service provided by the retailers are crucial. Xenia understands the importance of both speed and quality and thus has gone to great lengths to meticulously identify and address some of the most critical operational pain points, and design strategies to effectively streamline and optimize each step of the process.

The result is a dining experience that is not only expedited but also ensures that the quality of the meal remains at the high standard customers have come to expect.

Speeding up service requires several approaches and Xenia recommends a thorough analysis of the restaurant’s operation to understand what is causing the inefficiency.

After understanding the problem, they should then find the best way to resolve the problem by reducing steps, reducing the distance that takes time to go back to the counter, encouraging efficient ways of doing things, streamlining the menu to speed up the preparation of orders, cross-train the staff to become front or back staff, cut-off the optional items from the ordering process because they make people take longer to decide.

Wrapping It UP

According to a 2017 industry survey on restaurant technology, 95% of operators say technology improves overall operational efficiency. Improving methods of restaurant operations helps in the management of workflow by managing the layout of the kitchen, adequately staffing the restaurant, and having the work divided among the staff to reduce confusion in the restaurant. Here is how to improve restaurant operation.

Optimizing inventory control by ensuring that one has the right amount of inventory that is needed on a given day, ensures reducing food wastage formation of favorable supplier practices and finally enhancing the profitability of the restaurant.

Certainly, adopting cutting-edge technology like Xenia to your restaurant would reduce human involvement in monotonous and manual tasks and increase efficiency at a much wider scale.

Xenia has been developed with features that could count productivity and gumption via options like reservation management, post-dining feedback collection, AI-driven SOPs, and an all-comprehensive backend optimization to empower restaurants with immense leverage to drive the business with stability and increasing profitability. 

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