You became a manager to build an effective team and connect with your guests. You envision leading your staff as they create amazing experiences for everyone who walks into your restaurant. But you didn’t sign up for all the tedious back-office work.
Behind the scenes, managers spend countless hours managing tip distribution, creating weekly schedules in spreadsheets, and doing the dreaded payroll twice a month. But the back-office tasks don’t stop there. These days, you also have to read and respond to customer reviews across multiple platforms, research ways to fund restoration projects, and wade through reports so you can monitor labor performance and daily sales. .
Managing those responsibilities and spending time on the floor can feel like an impossible circus act. You juggle 10 to 15 balls at a time. Some are glass and will shatter on impact. Others are plastic and can withstand a drop. More often than you probably care to admit, administrative tasks become glass balls, and your staff and guests become plastic balls. And you find yourself trading time on the floor for the urgent, never-ending computer work at the office.
Although this may be your current default modus operandi, it is not required. With cloud-based tools that streamline your office work, you can get out of the office and run your restaurant from the ground up.
The many benefits of being on the floor
Effective managers lead with a people mindset, and you can’t do that from an office. As managers, our foundation was built in the dining room as servers, bartenders, or hosts (even though we started in the kitchen.) And that’s where we’ll have the greatest impact as leaders for our team. and our guests. Here’s what you’re empowered to do when you’re next to your staff and in front of your guests.
Create a positive employee experience
To oversee a team that interacts with hundreds of people every day, managers need to spend time listening to and supporting their staff. If a member of your team doesn’t feel heard or is just having a bad day, those feelings can be projected onto your guests and will negatively impact your restaurant.
The reverse is also true. Happy and supported employees will provide a better experience for your guests. This often means that a manager must be both a psychiatrist and a motivational speaker, listening to staff when they want to talk about their difficulties, then encouraging them so that it does not affect their work.
Build a loyal team that will stick with you
In addition to being an emotional support, a manager should also be the best person to rely on in the context of change. As a restaurant manager for over 20 years, I’ve always made a point of being ready to roll up my sleeves and get my staff out of whatever backlog they’ve been stuck in, whether it’s helping guests seating guests, pouring drinks for bartenders, or attending to guests when my servers have been slammed.
Although it took a significant investment of time and effort, the result was worth it. When your staff knows you have your back, they will be there for you during your most trying days. On top of that, you’ll also proactively minimize costly staff turnover. These principles follow the law of reciprocity, which has the potential to make or break your restaurant.
Improve your customer experience even further
Often the only times a manager will speak with customers is when there is a complaint or when all of their tasks are completed. But putting your guests first has a double effect. First, it shows them that you value their experience enough to make sure everything goes smoothly. And second, it gives you valuable insight into what’s working and what needs to be changed to improve that experience.
Let technology do the back-office work
Over the past few years, restaurants have focused on equipping their staff with the tools they need to do their job better. Servers have handhelds so they can take orders and payments right at the tables. Hosts use online reservations and waitlists to maximize table space. Even cooks can process orders faster with integrated kitchen display systems (KDS).
Managers can no longer keep running behind time, trying to complete their back-office work in a nine-square-foot office. It’s time to give them the tools they need to do their jobs too. They need intuitive technology that allows them to be relevant within the four walls of their restaurant. We’ve launched the Manager’s Toolkit, a series of guides that show you how to take advantage of today’s technology so you can get your office work done in a fraction of the time and get back to work.
As General Manager of Von Elrod’s Beer Hall & Kitchen, I’ve found my closing time to be much faster with SpotOn’s Reporting. All of my staff went 80% paperless, so we didn’t spend all that time tipping at the end of the night. It was already done, and I was able to reduce my closing time from 2 hours to 30 minutes.
Similarly, celebrity chef Michael Mina’s The Bungalow Kitchen was able to save up to seven hours on weekly operations: “Dolce by SpotOn gives us planned labor percentages,” says Bungalow’s general manager, Lino Suaza . “We used to figure it out with pencil and paper, but now we just do a schedule and the metrics auto-populate on a daily basis. That saves us almost two and a half hours on most working days. .
Leveraging these tools not only allows managers to automate their predictable back-office work, but it allows them to always be available to their staff and guests. Add it all up and you can easily save hours a day, precious hours that can allow you to do what you love about running a restaurant.