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Unconventional Guide How to Manage Small Restaurant Business

Unconventional Guide How to Manage Small Restaurant Business

No matter if you are just investigating how to manage small restaurant business or writing a business plan for your restaurant here you’ll find tips from working experience. Use them!

Every restaurant owner knows that success of restaurant business is depending on many factors. First of all, the availability of financial resources, knowledge gained from continuous learning and experience, good organization, positive business climate and a passion for this kind of business.

These are precisely the reasons why I have decided to write about important and practical tips for successful organization of business with special emphasis on smaller restaurants that employ 10 to 15 people.

How To Manage Small Restaurant Business

It is always difficult to start any business, and this is especially truthful for a catering business. The specificity of hospitality is in providing happiness to other people. To be able to make others happy your employees need to be happy too. How? Of course, this include good business organization, your positive influence and mutual respect. How to manage small restaurant business?

 how to manage small restaurant business staff management

Restaurant Staff Management

Every restaurant need to have at least one employee, however, in practice the majority of small and medium-sized restaurants employed 10 to 15 employees typically arranged in two working shifts. This would mean that in one shift usually work 5 to 7 people. Depending on the capacity of the restaurant one employee can do one or more different jobs. How can you organize work in a restaurant? Let’s start from the beginning.

The simplest way to organize a work is to make identification of tasks, and after that to authorize certain persons for certain individual actions. For a successful organization of labor is the best to go through one whole working day in restaurant, from opening to its locking.

Identification of Tasks in Restaurant

I made a list of taska that need to be done in a restaurant during the workday:

  • Opening of the restaurant, preparing tables, final cleaning before the opening of the restaurant
  • Procurement of the necessary food and other ingredients
  • Getting drinks from suppliers
  • Preparing meals
  • Dish washing
  • Serving and presenting food and drinks
  • Serving customers
  • Cleaning tables
  • Kitchen cleaning
  • Toilets cleaning
  • Bartending
  • Invoicing
  • Charging
  • Maintain the supplies and inventory for the bar and kitchen
  • Making daily report
  • Cleaning the restaurant at the end of the work shift
  • Disposal and transportation of garbage
  • Closing the restaurant

Once you’re familiar with all the jobs in the restaurant during one working day you can organize your staff in a few general groups: the cooks, helpers in the kitchen, waiters, bartenders, bussers, dishwashers, hosts, cashiers and managers.
Explain the tasks assigned to each group individually. Be detailed when explaining what are their duties and what they need to complete within one working day. Explain the rules that must be followed. Make sure that everyone understand their responsibilities. Make it clear that you’re available to talk if anyone needs any help.

 how to manage small restaurant business chef

Restaurant Staff and Their Duties

Work in a restaurant may be divided into two general groups, the one that is performing in the kitchen and beyond. Together they form a harmonious system which functions as one body and makes your restaurant special and successful. Without perfect energy flow through all segments of the business your restaurant will fail.
But to succeed in this it is particularly important to make good selection of personnel for certain jobs and actions.


Chefs have a leading role in the whole story, because regardless of ambiance and quality of service, your guest will not visit your restaurant again if the food was not good.
But in spite of this fact, the chef should never act as a conductor in the kitchen, he or she must demonstrate their professionalism in preparing meals but also the ability to work in a team. For this job, it is best to choose a candidate with experience. Also a certificate of knowledge about food safety is very desirable.

 how to manage small restaurant business kitchen staff management

If you have one cook in the kitchen, it is clear that he will give tasks for their assistants who are responsible for food preparaation, but if you have two or more chefs in the kitchen then you should mark one of them as a main chef, or make them responsible for different food (chef for main dishes, chef for desserts, etc.).
Communication between the kitchen staff and waiters should be simple. Specialized softwares for restaurants offer a simple solution, so the chefs get a clearly defined order from the waiter with all the special guest’s wishes on the kitchen display, or printed on a printer in the kitchen. This mode reduces potential errors in issuing orders and speeds up a work, that certainly affects the quality of service in your restaurant and set it to the highest level.

Managing Waiters and Bartenders

How many waiter do you really need in a small restaurant? The answer to this question will depend on the number as arrangement of tables and types of services in your restaurant. But in any case it is better to have them more than less.
Suppose that two waiters serving in one shift. In this case, work by the tables is crucial. But that certainly does not mean that if one waiter has his hands full that the other one should not “jump” to his table to serve a customers. Explain to your waiters importance of cooperation and how they should recognize situations when they need to help to each others and how to do that.

To ensure consistent quality of customers service during the period of the crowds it is desirable to have a couple of extra waiters or bartenders. This staff are doing job in a period between two shifts that usually lasts 2 -3 hours a day.
Similar rules may be applied for work in the bar. But here it is necessary firstly to explain the rules of movement of bartenders in the bar in order to avoid unnecessary collision of workers and spilling of drinks.

What should characterize the quality waiter and bartender is certainly agility, gumption, kindness and positive attitude.
Experience is important but not decisive factor in the selection of personnel for these jobs. I’ve witnessed the transformation of completely inexperienced boys into top waiters and bartenders, those valuable, neat and consistent recruits that f became a top restaurant staff who gets best tips.
Learn how to recognize them!


This is usually a job that gets new staff when entering in the restaurant. Many respected chefs had just begun his career as a dishwasher. Although this is not a popular job, dishwashers should not be neglected when it comes to business organization. Their role is very important, they provide that in your restaurant dishes are perfectly clean, and the cleanliness and hygiene is an important prerequisite for restaurant’s good reputation.

 how to manage small restaurant business dishwasher


This is ideal job for high school students. Their job is to clean the tables and to help to other staff – to serve desserts for example. They would not get rich by doing this job but will certainly earn their pocket money for their holidays during the summer. It is very important to have bussers in your restaurant. Bussers will reduce the workload of your head waiter and speed up workflow in your restaurant, and higher speed brings more visitors and therefore more money. Just like the dishwasher, this job is an ideal opportunity for anyone who wants a taste the restaurant business and make a transition to another position in the restaurant.
Boys and girls who work like bussers often share their youth spirit that make nice influence in working atmosphere in the restaurant that your guests would definitely feel too.

 how to manage small restaurant business bussboy

Restaurant Manager

Restaurant managers are often the owners of the restaurant. I do not know whether you’ll be recognized but they except distinctive organizational skills must have and develop following characteristics:

  • Being cultural with good manners
  • Must respect every team member and treat each of them with equal respect
  • Restaurant manager should not be a career who take credits from the results of team
  • He or she need to make decisions that are best for the business and staff
  • Restaurant manager must reward their workers for outstanding achievements
  • Need to build authority with his/her  work rather than sanctions
  • Must encourage creativity of his employees

 how to manage small restaurant business staff management

Since the quality of your workforce often dictates the number of customers you bring in, your management style must be personable but authoritative.

Golden Tips for Successful Restaurant Management

I bring some very important facts and tips how you can take advantage of the potential that you have in your restaurant business.

1. Passion

Find passion in yourself and transfer it into your work. Without passion there is no big success, mediocrity is possible but not long-lasting. You are the owner and therefore the leader and as such you have a major impact on work of your employees.

Will someone work hard and quality every day for the money? No it will not! Only  the passion and lust for satisfied customers will result with quality work. Bring the positive spirit in working atmosphere and share it with your staff. Show support and enthusiasm when the problem occurs. We are all just humans.

 how to manage small restaurant business creativity
2. Competition Encourages Creativity

Competition is something what drives us to be even better in our work.  Because of this perceive competition as a healthy challenge rather than a threat. It makes you do even better,  your food must be better than food that your competition offers. Also competition compels creativity and it is a strong driving force for any business.

Be creative. List on your menu should not be long. Many studies have shown that shorter restaurant menu list makes better-selling. But that does not mean that you should not change it very often. Keep the top-selling dishes on your menu, but change the other menu items to bring some freshness, creativity and innovation in your restaurant offer. Food that is simple and easy to prepare would be the best choice.

3. Consistency and Dedication

Forget about the success of the catering job if you’re not ready / willing to spend a lot of time in the restaurant with your employees. That is the true. You can not leave restaurant. Your workers as well as your guests will appreciate your concern and presence in every segment. This definitely requires physical and mental energy. Every day you can found yourself in very stressful situation that can lead to feeling frustrated and one good day at work may turn into a nightmare easily. So you must be very attentive with your staff and guests.

4. Observe Business From Your Guest’s Point of View

No matter that you’ve got good food and customer service in your restaurant, you did not do any good if you do not have satisfied customers. The whole concept of the restaurant must be focused on the needs of your guests. Imagine as you are one of them and offer exactly what they need.

Remember: Guest is your king, and without your team, you’re nothing.
Focus your energy on good organization and you will have satisfied employees. King will recognize that, and as reward he will gladly visit  your small kingdom again.