@bbghitte as been busy since weekend because of the opening of Kusina ni Camila, a restaurant by the beach in one of the known places in the north here in the Philippines, Ilocos Sur. When she told us about it, I remembered my past experiences when I was still working in the food industry. I admit that I really miss working in the operations as it gives a different kind of adrenaline. I gave her a few tips on how to manage a restaurant but I felt that it wasn't enough so I have decided to list down some that is currently on my mind. This can also be benificial for you if in case you would also want to start a small restaurant in the future. If it is a franchised restaurant, you need not to worry as the company will train their franchisees so that they have knowledge on the flow of the restaurant. Yes you heard that right, franchisers also trains their franchisees. It isn't only about investing your money into the business because you as a franchisee should also know how your business operates. The process is very tedious from training to business permits but after that it is very worth it especially when you see your restaurant is booming with a lot of guests.
Before soft opening, assuming all of your employees including you have been trained, check first everything from funds, schedule, manpower, equipments and food and non-food items.
Funds - before starting a shift, you have to have enough change fund or loose bills to give to your cashier.
Schedule and manpower - since you still don't know the flow of guests because it is still your first day, first week or first month, it is better to have enough plantilla or staff. You are still adjusting and everything may be negative during your first few months. Sometimes ROI (return of investment) takes longer than usual that is why you need to know how to balance everything from food cost, labor cost even paper cost. But think about those costs when your restaurant has already adjusted.
Be sure to have the proper scheduling of staffs. Opening, mid and closing. You can't let all of your opening and mid staffs to take a break if there is no one to replace them. Opening staffs should report to work an hour or 2 before operations for set-up and other pre-opening procedures. Mid staffs should be before and after peak hour. Closing staffs usually can finish their work just around the time the restaurant closes because they have already started pre-closing their area. Usually restaurants still accept customers 10 minutes before closing time and for some staffs, they have already started with pre-closing 30 minutes before closing time. So don't get mad if food servers are already packing up early because they also want to finish on time. I am sure that you know that not all overtimes are paid whether in the corporate or food industry. If you would suggest to move the time of the closing shifts about an hour after closing time, yes possible but like I said that the flow of guests isn't always the same. Imagine the restaurant closed at 9PM but their last guest entered the restaurant at 730PM and left at 8PM. Of course the restaurant will close at 9PM. But what time should the employees go home? 9PM or 10PM? The law says 8hours of shift but I'm telling you that the company or the manager on duty will require all of the closing staffs to file for undertime. Though this is actually a good strategy for the company but not for the employees.
Equipments. If the restaurant is new then most probably all of the equipments are new. Still you have to make sure that everything works so you'll have a smooth operation.
Food and non-food items - 86 is the code for "out of stock" and 98 is the code for "push items". But of course you are not going to say that to your guests since they are not aware what those numbers mean. Make sure you know what items are not available so that when a guest orders, you can inform them right away. Also take note of your packaging items for take out.
Basically, those are the things that can guide you in your day to day operations. In order to also have a smooth operation, as an owner or manager or supervisor or team leader, you need to communicate with your people. Brief them about foods that aren't available or the foods that need to move. Ask them for concerns or suggestions. Their feedbacks are valuable to a successful operation. If possible, briefings should be done per shift though mid shifts are often times hard to brief because peak hour is about to start.
Lastly, it feels so good to start a shift praying as a team after briefing ends. I have experienced that in 2 different restaurants. The first company, the prayer was led by our training officer. I only lasted 4 days with that company because I got a call from the restaurant that I really want. It was actually hard to choose between the 2 because the one that I have started with has a really good compensation package while the other doesn't. I have aced the exams in that restaurant that is why the training officer was saddened when I told them that I wouldn't be able to continue working with them. The one that I chose didn't have that good offer but I had no regrets since I have really wanted to work in that company.
And then with the second company that I have worked with, prayer is lead by anyone. During my first day with them, the team leader asked me to say the prayer since I am their new manager. I was so shy that I refused to pray. LOL. I was still adjusting to them and I still don't know what to say. I think it was after the 3rd day when I started to say a prayer. I just copied what the others had prayed days before. LOL. But it was really heartwarming for me. In all my years working in the food industry, it was only then when I have ask for God's guidance in our operations. It was only then when I have prayed for the safety of my workmates who are already in duty and who will be coming to work. I can say that a short sincere prayer is really a good way to start a shift.
P.S. my lead image was taken last year. It was the last time I went to the mall and ate at a restaurant.