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The Ultimate Guide To Restaurant Operations Management

Restaurant Operations


Restaurant operations management is the linchpin of the restaurant business, where every aspect interconnects to ensure the establishment’s success. It involves overseeing the day-to-day tasks necessary to keep a restaurant running efficiently, bridging the gap between the front and back of the house operations, ensuring customer satisfaction, coordinating staff, managing inventory, optimizing kitchen operations, and maintaining food safety standards, among other responsibilities. 

Effective restaurant operations management can significantly impact profitability, reduce overhead costs, and minimize wastage, offering restaurants an opportunity for increased profit margins. In fact, according to the National Restaurant Association, efficient operations can increase profit margins by up to 15%. 

In this article, we explore the various facets of restaurant operations management, how to enhance them, and the benefits of efficient management. We’ll also shed light on the qualities to seek in restaurant operations managers and provide insight into a typical day in this dynamic role.


Table of Contents

  1. What Are Restaurant Operations
  2. How To Improve Restaurant Operations 
  3. The Benefits Of Efficient Restaurant Operations Management
  4. Restaurant Operations Trends You Should Know
  5. Responsibilities Of Restaurant Operations Managers
  6. The Qualities To Look For In Restaurant Operations Managers 
  7. A Typical Day In Restaurant Operations Management
  8. Conclusion
  9. About Supy

1. What Are Restaurant Operations

Restaurant operations management is the glue that holds a restaurant business together. In the food business, every department relies heavily on the other : if you’re missing a single ingredient, then a dish can’t be cooked, a customer won’t be satisfied, and you won’t be making money. 

So restaurant operations management is about overseeing the daily tasks needed to keep your establishment running at optimal level. This means closing the gap between your front and back of house operations, and also ensuring customer satisfaction, coordinating staff, managing the inventory, streamlining kitchen operations, ensuring food safety, and more. 

As you might imagine, running such a show takes time and energy, but when done well, restaurant businesses can benefit from increased profit margins, reduced overhead costs, and reduced wastage, leading to improved profitability.

Effective restaurant operations management can significantly impact profitability, reduce overhead costs, and minimize wastage, offering restaurants an opportunity for increased profit margins. In fact, according to the National Restaurant Association, efficient operations can increase profit margins by up to 15%. 

In this article, we explore the various facets of restaurant operations management, how to enhance them, and the benefits of efficient management. We’ll also shed light on the qualities to seek in restaurant operations managers and provide insight into a typical day in this dynamic role.

Did You Know ?

According to the NRA, efficient restaurant operations can increase profit margins by up to 15%. By optimizing various operational processes, from inventory management to staff training, restaurants can significantly reduce wastage and overhead costs, leading to improved profitability.

2. How To Improve Restaurant Operations

Managing a restaurant is no easy task, and an operations manager or director will need to keep several plates spinning at the same time. Here are the different typical tasks they may need to be on top of : 

Improve Restaurant Operations

Keeping The Restaurant Inventory At Optimal Level 

The food inventory of a restaurant is the business’s heart, and it must operate at optimal levels. Have too much of an ingredient, and you’ll find yourself needing to get rid of your items before they expire and get recorded as food waste. Have too little of an ingredient, and you’ll find yourself missing out on sales. 

Keeping your inventory running at Par Level ensures your business increases revenue, maximizes profits and keeps food waste low. A good way of measuring your level of control over your inventory is to calculate your Inventory Turnover Rate.

There are several ways to keep your inventory under control, which we’ve covered in our article Restaurant Inventory Management : The 8 Tips You Need To Know About. 


Managing Your Food Cost

Controlling your food cost is one of the most important aspect of handling a restaurant, and several mechanisms can be leveraged : 

1. Calculate your actual food cost : this will help you understand where you stand in terms of profits created per recipe. Compare your actual food cost to your theoretical food cost to identify any source that may need optimizing. These include portions, preparation practices and more. 

2. Reduce food waste : keep track of your procurement trend and adapt your ordering volume based on how much you consume of each ingredient. Apply the FIFO method to reduce expiring items. Use restaurant procurement software to help you order to par automatically and whenever needed.


3. Work with the best suppliers : yes, some food suppliers are great to do business with, and some are not. Knowing which restaurant supplier treats you best – which can be found through procurement analytics – can lead to significant savings to you.

4. Engineer your menu with data & intelligence : understanding your customers’ behaviors, preferences, and consumption trends can help you design a menu that optimize your entire profitability, namely by using ingredients that are commonly used in your dishes (and therefore reduces waste).


Once you gain a clear picture of the different potential sources of waste and contributors to cost going up, you can address them. Choosing the right suppliers and providing food preparation techniques are some of the solutions you could apply. This routine is done on a regular basis by the operations team, during weekly or monthly reviews.


Managing Your Team

The job of an operations manager can be overwhelming, given the numerous tasks you need to handle. But that’s precisely why you’re in the equation! Empowering others helps you liberate yourself from the stress of staying on top of a task at all times, which is where your team comes in. 

Your team should be laser focused on tasks with clear limitations in order to avoid walking on each other’s toes. For example, you could plan routines before opening and after closing, and be guided by digital checklists, to ensure that everyone has clear priorities. You could also provide training modules for newcomers to ensure that staff is always up to date on the latest techniques and service standards. Additionally, continuous training sessions cultivate skill development and foster a sense of community among the team.

Restaurant Operations Team

You must also ensure that you have enough staff in the right positions to maintain operational efficiency, but without going over your labor cost budget. To do this right, you need to know the trends of demands in order to anticipate the right number of staff, in both the front of house and in the kitchen, to ensure efficient service without overspending on resources. 

You can look into your sales trends to better understand when your customers order from you the most or come into your establishment the most. Your sales analytics is the perfect place to start. 


Becoming Data Driven

You may have guessed this one already. Yes, the leading restaurant operations managers and directors leave little room to guesswork and base their intuition on data. But becoming data-driven isn’t an easy feat. It takes teaching your team the importance of inputting accurate data, it requires having a restaurant inventory management software designed to make data entry simple and intuitive, and keeping the show running with accurate, reliable, and up to date data. 

For instance, many institutions are still entering restaurant data manually, which is time consuming and prone to human errors. Aside from this unideal start, creating reports takes time, and are often unreliable.

This is why opting for digital solutions that embrace the need to enter and deliver information is key. 

Boost Profits With Supy's Data-Driven Restaurant Inventory Management Software

restaurant procurement

Setting Up A Clear Operation Plan

What’s the number 1 skill to have in restaurant operations management ? Organization. As an operations manager, you need to cover a multitude of tasks such as briefing the team, taking orders, monitoring your inventory, checking on the front of house, running the service, cleaning up, ordering ingredients… every day. That is to say, if you don’t run your schedule with discipline, you may be lost in the chaos that is restaurant operations management.  This is why organizing yourself and aligning with your team is key. It is your responsibility to keep your staff up to date, with a clear set of tasks and goals assigned to each one of them on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Failing to do so may result in going head first into chaos, tension, and inefficiency.

Here’s what you should do : Establish your plan, list the tasks needed to be completed, assign a stakeholder to each task, explain the task clearly, provide resources if you can, then set a time on a regular basis to check up on the task and the person in charge. Keep communication clear, and your door open. 
Restaurant Operations To Do Plan


Marketing The Business

Part of a restaurant operations manager’s responsibility is to get the word out. Several techniques can be employed to market your business, and include social media, paid advertising, promotions, and magazine features.

Try to understand current trends, be aware of seasonality, see what’s trending on social media and try to jump onboard without sacrificing your brand identity. 

Don’t forget that you also have a great, free marketing machine at your disposal : your customers. If customers love coming to your place, they’ll tell their friends about it. You can always set up offers to incentivize them to come, such as discounted lunch menus when coming with a friend. 


Recruiting The Right Team

As a restaurant operations manager or restaurant operations director, you’ll be as good as your team is. Recruiting the right people will save you time and money, which is why hiring right is paramount. You can either collaborate with headhunters for senior roles, or use modern recruitment platforms specialized in hospitality recruitments to find good talent fast. 

Don’t forget to ask your employees for references. They’re familiar with your culture and may know who may fit the work environment. Chances are, their friends may have heard about your establishment through your employee and may have a good idea of what to expect – and therefore avoid a bad surprise upon starting their contract with you. 


In essence, mastering the art of restaurant operations management and understanding its nuances are critical in the ever-competitive food industry. By focusing on each of these facets, restaurants can not only enhance their operations but also create memorable experiences for every diner.

3. Benefits Of Efficient Restaurant Operation Management

Inventory Maintenance: Effective Restaurant Operations Management ensures that inventory levels are optimized, reducing wastage and ensuring that the freshest ingredients are always on hand. This is pivotal in controlling inventory expenses and guaranteeing the consistent quality of dishes.  Food Quality: A cornerstone of any successful eatery, maintaining top-notch food quality is a direct reflection of well run restaurant operations. By emphasizing on quality checks and sourcing the best ingredients, restaurants can offer diners a unparalleled culinary experience. Customer Satisfaction: At the heart of how to improve restaurant operations is the pursuit of unparalleled customer contentment. With adept operations, feedback is promptly addressed, and service standards are consistently high, ensuring that diners leave with a smile. Financial Stability: Efficient restaurant operations directly impact the bottom line. By minimizing wastage, optimizing staff deployment, and ensuring the highest standards, restaurants can see a marked increase in profit margins. Operational Streamlining: From the moment ingredients arrive at the back door to the final presentation of a dish to diners, streamlined operations ensure a seamless flow. This includes perfecting the preparation process, efficient kitchen workflows, and timely service to tables.

4. Roles and Responsibilities Of Operations Managers:

As you may have understood by now, a restaurant operations manager or director is in charge of keeping everything running smoothly. With new consumption trends, it is key to understand which major new operation may suddenly require your involvement and investment, in order to come prepared. 


The Rise Of Cloud Kitchens & Online Ordering

With the online food delivery market in the US alone surging to a staggering $221 billion in 2022, it is safe to say that ordering is a major trend that most restaurants must follow in order to survive. 

With this comes the rise of cloud kitchens, and the need for restaurants to adapt to the online demand by refurbishing their kitchen, or opening an entirely new entity serving online ordering only. 

Either of these business models bring in a whole new set of operational complexities that you must be aware of. 


New Payment Methods

Payment can be a struggle for both customers and your staff : Paying by card requires a staff member to wait for then come with a payment machine. When needing to split the bill, it may take time to do the calculations and may come with human errors, with a part of the bill remaining unpaid and needing to calculate who owes what. 

This entire operation diminishes the dining experience and adds stress onto your staff. This is why you should be aware of new payment technologies that allow costumes to pay immediately at the table by scanning a QR code, and also split their bill automatically, without error. 


Advanced Restaurant Inventory Technology

A lot of weight can be taken off a restaurant operations manager with technology. Moving from pen and paper tasks to digital ones – such as stock counting – saves you and your team time and money. Opting for technology that uses data and analytics can support you in your decision-making process, and avoids you making mistakes. Opting for a restaurant inventory management software with strong user permissions helps you control who can put in orders, who can receive, who can add or tweak recipes, and gives you overall better control over your operations. Being notified and alerted when ingredients are running low and being able to order to par with a simple click helps you save time and brain processing power. 

5. Responsibilities Of Restaurant Operations Managers

Depending on the scale of the operation and the resources available, all or some of the following tasks may fall under restaurant operations management. 

  1. Operations Manager/Director

The Operations Manager or Director holds the reins of Restaurants Operations Management. Their duties include :


  • Strategic Planning: They’re responsible for outlining the long-term vision and short-term goals, ensuring the restaurant’s vision aligns with its daily operations.
  • Team Management: From hiring to training, the Operations Manager ensures the team is motivated, well-trained, and works in harmony.
  • Financial Oversight: Budgeting, forecasting, and monitoring the restaurant’s financial health fall under their purview.
  • KPI Monitoring: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as customer satisfaction, sales growth, and inventory turnover are tracked to gauge the restaurant’s performance and pinpoint areas of improvement.
  • Process Improvement: They’re continually looking for ways on how to improve restaurant operations, ensuring the establishment stays competitive and profitable.
  1. Front-of-House Manager

This role ensures that guests receive an unforgettable service, right from the moment they step in. Their duties include:


  • Guest Experience: Handling reservations, managing wait times, and addressing customer complaints effectively.
  • Staff Supervision: Overseeing the servers, hosts, and bussers, ensuring they provide top-notch service.
  • Sales Initiatives: Introducing promotions or special events to drive sales and enhance the guest experience.
  1. Back-of-House Manager or Chef

The heart of the restaurant, the kitchen, is led by the Chef or Back-of-House Manager. Their responsibilities encompass:


  • Menu Development: Crafting a menu that resonates with the restaurant’s theme and audience.
  • Inventory Management: Ensuring ingredients are fresh, of high quality, and there’s no wastage.
  • Kitchen Staff Supervision: Training the kitchen staff, ensuring they adhere to hygiene standards and produce consistent, high-quality dishes.
  1. Human Resources Manager

Given the high turnover in the F&B industry, an HR Manager plays a crucial role in:


  • Recruitment: Hiring the right talent that aligns with the restaurant’s ethos.
  • Training & Development: Implementing training modules and growth opportunities to retain staff.
  • Conflict Resolution: Addressing any interpersonal issues or conflicts within the team.

In conclusion, mastering the art of Restaurant Operations is not just about serving delicious dishes but ensuring that each role within the operations team works in harmony. Whether it’s strategic planning by the Operations Manager, impeccable service by the Front-of-House team, delectable dishes from the kitchen, or efficient staff management by HR, each role is intertwined, driving the restaurant towards success. As we delve deeper into the intricacies of Restaurant Operations Management and how to improve restaurant operations, remember that each role is a cog in the machine, ensuring the establishment runs seamlessly and profitably.

6. The Qualities To Look For In Restaurant Operations Managers


Restaurant Operations Management is a job that requires a specific skill set in order to excel at it.

Roles and responsibilities of Operations Managers
  1. Being A Self Start : you need to have a vision or a goal that serves as your guiding light. Restaurant owners aren’t always present with you, meaning you need to have a sense of self direction that helps you make decisions on your own. This, in the long run, also builds trust between you and a restaurant owner.

  2. Strong Communication Skills : Given the number of various tasks and stakeholders you’ll need to deal with, being able to adapt quickly and communicate effectively is of utmost importance. 

  3. Very Organized : Don’t be a victim of chaos ! Stay on top of your tasks, use checklists, dedicate specific hours to given tasks during your day, and learn to say No and to delegate. 

  4. Be People Driven : Yes, you must understand hospitality ! Being empathetic, and trying to foresee what customers may need helps you prepare in advance and solve their issue before they know about it ! (ie payment processes 🙂 ). This also applies to your staff and their well being. Try to foresee what they might need, and find a solution for them. 

  5. A Strong Sense Of Integrity : A lot happens behind the scenes, and a lot of decisions need to be taken when no one’s looking. Having a strong sense of integrity is key in order to try to always make the right decision.

7. A Typical Day In Restaurant Operations Management

The job of a restaurant operations director may change from one institution to the other, depending on how “things are done”, and depending on the size of the business. The restaurant operations director of a standalone restaurant won’t operate in the same way as a peer working in a multi-site restaurant. 


However, they will both notice that everyday is different, and any routine may change depending on the season and the business’s priorities. They may be focused on one big goal most of the time and then dedicate the rest of their time on the minor needs of the restaurant. 

Restaurant Operations Manager


When working with multi-unit business though, a restaurant operations director will likely be in charge of handling a P&L and will need to operate within the limits of a budget. They’ll be in charge of communicating, on a regular basis, with the different departments, which include accounting, operations, human resources, and management). At times, they may be trying to deal with a labor cost issue in a restaurant, while managing the marketing of another. 


Ultimately, there are no typical days in restaurant operations management. You get to talk to chefs and management teams on a daily basis, and that’s the part that’s fun and rewarding !

8. Conlusion

Restaurant Operations Management about managing many tasks efficiently, from handling money to training staff. This article has shown how every part of a restaurant, from the kitchen to the cash register, needs careful planning and attention. 


Whether you’re an owner or a manager, understanding and improving these operations is key. Doing so ensures happy customers, motivated staff, and a profitable business. 


With the right tools, strategies, and know-how, any restaurant can shine and succeed. So, whether you’re just starting out or have been in the business for years, always aim to do better and serve better. Your restaurant’s success depends on it.

9. About Supy

In today’s competitive food industry, having an edge can make all the difference, especially with effective restaurant inventory management software.

Enter Supy, a cutting-edge digital solution tailored for restaurants, including robust restaurant inventory management capabilities. Supy streamlines operations, from inventory management to staff scheduling, using advanced algorithms. It integrates seamlessly with your current systems, minimizing disruptions and enhancing inventory oversight.

For restaurant owners keen on maximizing efficiency and boosting customer satisfaction, Supy is a game-changer. Its intuitive interface and actionable insights, including those related to inventory management, make decision-making a breeze. With Supy, you’re not just adopting a tool; you’re investing in your restaurant’s future. Enhance your operations, including inventory management, and stay ahead in the culinary world with Supy.

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