3 Steps to Improve Leadership in Your Restaurant

 In 5. Fred Langley, Leadership
By Fred Langley

Lead flow chart

To be a successful operator you must get yourself out of your comfort zone. To achieve your goals you must lead your team instead of doing it all yourself. Becoming a strong leader means understanding that teaching and leading the process will allow your people to thrive.

The first step toward improving leadership is to stop chasing down your managers for information. For example, think about when you call every Monday and ask what the sales are and have to be put on hold while they go check.

There should be no need for them to check or go look for the numbers. Communicate to your managers that these numbers are important to you and to the business. Managers should know them because they are looking at and analyzing these numbers on a proactive basis. Don’t let them get away with being babysitters and key turners; empower them to fulfill their roles as managers and know the information.

The second step toward improving leadership is to recognize that anytime anything goes “wrong” in the business, there needs to be a system or policy in place to prevent it from happening again.

Mistakes will happen, but systems and policies make sure the same mistakes do not happen over and over again. If you run out of food, you need to examine par levels. If you overbook, you need to reevaluate your reservation policy. If you over schedule, you need to re-examine your labor allotment. If a customer lets you know there is no toilet paper, you need to make sure that checklists are being followed.

The third and most important step toward improving leadership is to look at every task that happens in your operation and ask yourself how that would get done if you had 10 restaurants. This is important even if you never plan to have 10 restaurants.

For example, if you are doing the daily deposit yourself, could you do that if you had 10 places? No, you need cash controls in place and to allow your management team to handle the deposit. Could you work on the line in the kitchen, clean the windows, touch every table, inspect every plate and lock the door every night? The reality is you could manage to do these things in one location, but not in 10.

Practice leadership and delegate tasks to your eager staff and work on bringing your operation to the next level.

David Scott Peters, found of TheRestaurantExpert.com has also developed a very handy tool that helps you – as an owner – determine your current leadership style and the traits to develop to improve your leadership abilities. You can find this Restaurant Owner Matrix here.

Fred Langley is the director of operations and restaurant coach for TheRestaurantExpert.com. As a former chef and restaurant owner, Fred found a new passion in helping other restaurant owners find success with systems and now focuses on it full time.

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