Survival Tactics for Restaurant Operators

No-fail survival tips from the best in the business

The restaurant industry can be a grueling business but it ranks among the most fun and rewarding.

Truth is, passionate and hard-working operators accept that it’s tough but they can’t imagine any other career. To help keep that passion and creativity burning, here are a few more tactics to add to our Restaurant Operator’s Survival Guide.

Be a News Junkie

Staying on top of hospitality happenings and food trends can help you stay ahead of the curve and avoid possible operational hiccups. For example, reports of lower sales among chains in the first quarter of 2017 might entice you to take a closer look at your own traffic and sales projections for upcoming months.

If you have limited or no time to scour the news, subscribe to newsletters from the National Restaurant Association, publications specializing in foodservice and updates from online sites such as Eater which cover the country’s major food cities. The news is often presented in smaller, easily digestible formats. You’ll see menu trends emerge that might entice specials but also the latest tech advances and ideas to improve operations.

Work Your Brain Trust

Never think you’re the smartest person in the room. The industry is made up of creative people, so make it a part of your routine to ask for input and comments on all facets of the restaurant, from service and food to promotions and overall operations.

Pete Cich, partner at the Duck Dive, Miss B’s Coconut Club, Park 101 and others in Southern California, keeps open lines of communicates with his staff.

“You never want to waste good ideas or forget tasks,” he says, which is why he trains staff to use shared note apps such as Evernote or Google Keep, so that new ideas circulate inside the restaurant.

Also consider starting or joining local gatherings of your contemporaries, even informally. Meeting after work for drinks or hosting a monthly dinner on Monday nights when many restaurant staff are off can be a productive way to discuss challenges and opportunities for everyone.