Restaurant management is more than just making sure customers get seated. It is about making sure business is booming during the good times and steady when hard times hit. It is about making sure that a business has a staff that is also committed to its success. It is also about making money.
Competition: Check out restaurants serving similar dishes and some that do not. If they appear to be busier than most other restaurants, observe what makes them special. Taste the food and observe the staff.
Consider lowering prices: Never undersell, but if menu prices seem to be driving customers away, the new lower prices may drag them back in.
Freshen up the menu: Diners have favorites, but restaurants that want to stay in business need to revisit the menu every once in a while. Highlight a less expensive, but exciting, dish and gauge public reaction. If the meal goes over well, it is cheaper to prepare and may sell more than an old standby.
Staff control: Another thing restaurant management needs to make sure of is that the staff is attentive to customer needs and well versed in menu options. Nothing is a turnoff to diners more than a sour-faced wait staff.
Time management: When the number of customers decreases, so should the number of individuals working. Those extra hours they spend at work cost money, especially when half the staff has nothing to do. Rather than keeping staff hours the same, adjust them according to the busy times.
Direct marketing: Mail flyers or pass them out within the neighborhood. With special pricing, customers that would not normally pay full price may opt for something new when they receive discount flyers.
Portion control: Pay attention to the amount of food going out and what is being thrown away. If plates look like they have more left on them than what consumers eat, this is an indication that plates are being overfilled. Food that goes in the trash bins is money wasted.
Specials: Consider adding lower-priced specials to the menu. Take dinner items and make them available a la carte. Give diners the option to mix and match main courses and sides. Throw together deals that include a free dessert or unlimited iced tea and soda during the meal.
Two-for-one deals work to increase clientele, as do family friendly budget options like kids eating free on a certain day of the week.
Happy hour: Add a couple of televisions and advertise for happy hour. Drinks often bring in big business and diners often order snacks to go with those meals. Better yet, a lunch buffet during happy hour also encourages diners to pay the extra fee for less expensive options.
Supplies: Consider changing suppliers if you find one that is cheaper. It may also be used as leverage against current suppliers who want to hold on to their own business.
Inventory: Restaurant management should know which meals are selling. This can help to streamline the menu to play up favorites. It helps avoid spending money on food that will spoil before anyone orders the dish for which it was purchased.
Keep eyes and ears open. Customers give a lot of information away when they think no one is looking or listening.