Lessons learned from managing a small restaurant business


Anyone who’s ever tried to run something that’s even as small as a chicken coop knows that without constant effort and work input you’re not going to be eating chicken nuggets for too long.

Neglect to clean up the bird droppings, and to air the coop every day, and after a couple of days, you might as well prepare a hazmat suit to don before going in to see what’s happened while you were away. Chances are – you’re going to see dead chickens, copious amounts of excrement and just a general sense of chaos among the surviving birds.

The same applies to managing a small business – especially if it’s fairly work-intensive and requires constant overseeing and attention. 

In this article, we’re going to talk about important things to take into consideration when running a small restaurant business. We are going to share with you some important lessons about running such a business coming from the folks who’ve been there and done that.

Right then folks, without further ado, here’s the deal.

Lessons Learned From Managing a Restaurant


1) Teamwork for the Win

While the notion of teamwork is overused in today’s work environment, it can be darn useful when applied to certain workplaces – such as small restaurant businesses, for example.

Indeed, if you have to come up with a creative piece of writing, too many cooks will inevitably spoil the broth.

On the other hand, when it comes to a work-intensive and a zippy environment like a restaurant, a scenario where the cook makes the broth, another person carries it around and serves it, while the third person makes phone calls about the supplies for the broth, chances are – you’re going to have a successful business model.

2) You Develop a Strong Chin

Not everyone who comes to dine at your restaurant will be a Tibetan guru of inner peace and meditation.

More often than not, you’ll have to deal with more than one person who hasn’t had the best day (or the best life), so they’re going to want to vent some of their frustrations on the unsuspecting waiter or even the manager. You know those soccer moms whose soupe à l’oignon wasn’t exactly 36,7° Celcius, so she now demands to see the manager? The stuff of nightmares. That’s worse than having three sanitary inspections arriving at your place in a row.

(Weeell, not really, nothing can beat the sanitary inspections, but you get the point.) 

Anyway, if you get to learn anything from working in a restaurant is not to take everything to heart. If you stick around a couple of months or more – you will have developed a strong chin soon enough, indeed.

3) Creativity Makes You Stand Out


Running a restaurant doesn’t just mean serving a bunch of hot dogs and an occasional chef’s special which is two hot dogs with some ketchup on top. (Surely no restaurant business has this bad of a menu. If you do, you may be in the wrong industry.)

While you should always keep your chefs and menus to a high standard when it comes to what sort of stuff you serve your customers, you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with new menu items, either. Heck, even if a dish you or your cook came up with doesn’t prove a success, you can always discard it and try with a new one. There’s no harm in trying and a new culinary breakthrough can be just around the corner.

4) Everything Costs More Than What You Initially Planned for


One of the greatest pitfalls of many an aspiring small restaurant business owners would be unrealistic expectations related to the budget.

You go in thinking you can invest a little bit of money and then get huge returns, but guess what – that fruit ‘n’ vegetable supplier you’re working with fell off a cliff in his Robin Reliant, and now you’re 10 kg of tomatoes short for your staple salad.

What do you do? Get some more from somewhere else, because you can’t risk your reputation on the restaurant market by failing your guests. So, just like that – your costs have increased through no fault of your own.

On the other hand, some business owners also manage to fail to calculate how much money they’ll need for just laying out the kitchen area. Remember, the seemingly unimportant secondary systems such as the fire duct system, for example, can be incredibly important. This is both for your and your employees’ safety AND the licenses you can get from various health and safety inspections on account of having a sound safety system in place.

All things considered, learning from the mistakes of the business owners before you and picking up their brains about the various details of running a restaurant is essential in ensuring you won’t make the same mistakes as them. What’s more, you can even improve on some of their ideas and, in time, come up with some fresh ideas and suggestions of your own.




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