5 Mistakes Restaurant Managers Can Easily Fix

common restaurant management mistakes

Posted: Mar. 29, 2019

Achieving perfection as a restaurant manager is impossible; every day presents new challenges. But over time, a great manager makes steady improvements. One way is by addressing performance flaws and fixing them. Today, we discuss five common mistakes restaurant managers make that are easy to fix.

First Mistake: Responding Angrily to a Negative Online Review

You’ve probably heard stories of restaurant owners losing control and letting a negative Yelp reviewer just have it, like this NYC deli owner calling one customer an idiot in Italian. If your restaurant ever received a bad review, you might even relate to these kinds of responses. The restaurant is like your baby, and a stranger just stomped all over your baby!

This is a reminder to never, ever respond angrily to a negative online review for four reasons:

  1. Unlike verbal communication, online responses live on indefinitely and are embarrassing.
  2. You’ve wasted a chance to rise above the situation and counter-balance the bad review with a measured, thoughtful explanation other people can read.
  3. Potential customers will be turned off by abrasive, offensive language.
  4. With a thoughtful reply from you, the reviewer could edit and change the bad review.

In the event your restaurant gets an unfair, rude, or terrible review (hopefully this doesn’t happen!), here are the best practices for responding to bad Yelp restaurant reviews.

  1. Wait 24 hours to cool off.
  2. Read the entire review so you don’t miss a detail.
  3. Begin with Dear {reviewer’s first name].
  4. In the first sentence, apologize for their poor time in the restaurant.
  5. Write a sentence or two that addresses each problem area and how you are fixing it.
  6. Invite the reviewer back to the restaurant and give your name so you can meet in person.
  7. Close with a thank you.

Your reply should not include any of the following:

  1. Insults
  2. Long-winded explanations
  3. Sarcasm
  4. Defensive tone

It’s important that you are not angry when responding, and if you’re stuck, focus on writing for a potential customer and write to win customers in your favor.

Lavu Pro Tip: Stay away from petty reviewers that are there to start fights. For example, look at No. 1 listed here. The reviewer left a one star because the restaurant wouldn’t deliver food. In fact, the restaurant’s bio on Yelp states it does not deliver food, so the review was unfair and malevolent. The restaurant’s reply is funny, but it’s also missing a chance to grab potential customers. The better response would have been to restate their no-take-out policy, and stress how much they value serving customers in house and how important presentation is to them. The next time someone comes across the exchange, he or she will forget about the bad review and see a restaurant that sincerely cares about its customers.

Second Mistake: Not Organizing Your Purchase Order System

Do you have a pile of pink and yellow invoices on your desk? Do you ever mix up vendors and products and prices? Having a disorganized PO system means that you might be over-ordering or over-paying for ingredients. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix to this. You can manually organize your purchase orders and start using a purchase order interface that keeps PO details in order for you. You can also actively save money with a system like this because it searches for better prices for the same or similar ingredients, and shows you when there are special discounted rates on applicable ingredients. The best part: It’s not time-consuming, leaving you with more time to manage everything else.  

Third Mistake: Ignoring the Vegetarians

It’s 2019—there is no excuse for restaurants to ignore vegetarians (unless you run a hot dog stand, then customers have to find something else). Plant-based dining was a leading trend in 2018, and the success of any trend is obvious if the trend becomes normalized. Vegetarianism is one of those trends.

Meat-eaters are consuming more vegetables and fruits, even going so far as to deliberately not eat meat some days of the week. Offer filling and complex vegetarian dishes to start appealing to a growing customer base. If you’re not sure where to start or what vegetarians are looking for from a restaurant, you can find the answers here.

Fourth Mistake: Using a Legacy System

One of the easiest ways to improve restaurant operations and increase profits is by investing in a restaurant POS system. Toss out the legacy system. We know it was expensive, but it’s holding you back. Paper orders are sloppy and at risk of human error. With a modern POS, the BOH can be notified of new orders in seconds, the FOH knows when an item is about to be 86’d, and for you as a manager, there are numerous other benefits to having a proper point of sale:

With a POS, your restaurant has a backbone that lets business thrive.

Fifth Mistake: Ignoring Trends

Having a brand and specific style takes careful consideration, yet refusing any change is a mistake. There are new technologies that propel business or health trends (like plant-based proteins) that are important to know about. Even if you don’t plan on making any changes, keeping up with restaurant trends lets you know what competitors are doing, and one day, you might find a trend that inspires you! Get started today with 2019’s top 20 food and drink buzzwords.

 

Posted: Mar. 29, 2019 | Written By: Emma Alois

Management

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It’s a fact: The quality of your restaurant’s POS system can mean the difference between profit and loss. Having the right POS solutions positively affects the functionality of every aspect of your business. From maintaining optimum customer care standards, to your ability to manage your inventory, effective POS can help your restaurant succeed beyond your wildest expectations.

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