Running multiple restaurants involves creating a simplified management process, delegating responsibilities to managers or restaurant partners and building a team to handle the demands of daily operations. Knowing how to run a restaurant doesn’t guarantee success in managing multiple units because owners can’t spend enough time at each restaurant to ensure that things run smoothly.

Simplify Managing Each Unit

Success depends on working on the restaurant concept and not in the restaurant. Owners who prefer greeting customers or preparing food must first devote time to organizing a standard process that addresses most restaurant business duties and hiring the right people to undertake these jobs. Simplified management strategies include the following ideas:

  • Subscribe to a multiple-unit POS system that handles the demands of running multiple restaurants smoothly.
  • Try to use common ingredients and menus in all restaurant locations so that managers can use standardized inventory and costing systems.
  • Special menu items can be produced in one facility and distributed to other units. For example, one kitchen might make all the desserts, create master sauces or bake all the bread.
  • Take advantage of local sourcing and warehouse-type stores for buying inventory by using one truck or van to make regular or daily trips and deliveries to each restaurant.
  • Use electronic communications to speed decisions and collaborate among restaurants.

Create systems that handle every aspect of restaurant management. Unified systems can handle hiring, inventory control, training, establishing employee conduct, dealing with customer complaints, filing reports and assigning responsibilities for food preparation, service, restaurant safety and cleaning and maintenance.

Delegate Responsibility

Systems run businesses effectively, but restaurant owners must hire the right people to run them and train workers in their duties. Communications have become simplified due to mobile phones and Internet connections, but technology only provides the tools. Owners must facilitate hiring people and communicating effectively. Strategies for success include fostering better communications between owners and managers, customers and managers and workers and supervisors.

  • Web cams enable people to see each other and demonstrate how to handle maintenance tasks or complex culinary procedures.
  • Regular or weekly staff meetings give people opportunities to air grievances, solve problems and make suggestions.
  • Owners should regularly visit each location to interact with employees and customers.
  • Adapt to different cultures or socioeconomic levels by learning about local customs and business practices.
  • Create a uniform code of conduct, and organize guidelines for hiring and firing that managers understand thoroughly.

Complicated work assignments often lead to problems, so try breaking complicated procedures into manageable parts or assigning complicated tasks for all the restaurants to a specialized team. Owners of multiple restaurants often devote more time to their primary locations, but giving managers and workers time and attention is critical for success. Managing restaurants remotely leads to an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality, so focus on maintaining regular communications.

Hiring the right managers, specializing in complex areas and creating a standard operational plan for all restaurant units not only helps restaurateurs handle multiple restaurants but also increases profits. Taking time to create a transparent management system and training managers to hire, fire and manage operations improve customer service, create paper trails for easy auditing and simplify communications. Owners can free time to interact with customers, identify new business opportunities and support community initiatives when they don’t spend all their time on management duties.