The Biggest Issues Restaurant Managers Face

The Biggest Issues Restaurant Managers Face

Restaurant managers face many issues, but most often they are fixable.

Restaurant managers have their hands full and often experience common problems as other restaurant leaders.

While no two days are the same, and they have an incredible job  working with the public every day,  it can be challenging to simultaneously meet the needs of the restaurant, the customers, and the employees.

The best managers know how to lead, train their team, motivate staff, handle the back and the front of the house, and meet the needs of the customer all while increasing sales. (tweet this)

In this article, we look at the biggest issues restaurant managers face. You can overcome them all with a little planning and preparation.

Employee Turnover

Overwhelmingly, restaurant managers face the issue of employee turnover. It can in fact be one of the most frustrating aspects of the food service business.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the restaurant employee turnover rate is more than 70%.

What does that mean to your restaurant manager? It means that seven out of 10 employees will leave your restaurant this year.

This makes it exceptionally hard to provide the best customer service to your diners. A continual movement of staff in and out of your restaurant, whether it’s front or back of house, can cause your managers a lot of issues.

Your managers may feel like they’re continually training new people. As a result, your overall customer service can suffer.

It’s to your restaurant’s benefit to provide the best benefits and working environment possible so you can retain your best team members.

Inventory Management

Managing all of your inventory can also be one of the biggest issues your managers face.

Are your systems up-to-date, or are you using outdated paper and spreadsheet systems?

The first thing you can do to reduce the burden on your managers is implement a computer POS (point of sale system). This can help your managers organize the inventory, your suppliers, all orders, payments, and more.

The other side of inventory management that is difficult for your leadership team is managing theft.

You might have encountered problems with team members stealing inventory to take home. Or, you might encounter employee theft when they provide bigger than normal portions to other employees, friends, or even co-workers or provide their employee discount to others.

The best way to combat this type of theft is again with a POS system and more in-tune management practices.

Employee Training

Along with employee turnover comes the issue of staff training.

In today’s digital environment, it’s never been more important to provide the highest level of customer service. To do this, your employees must have excellent and ongoing training.

Training staff can be quite challenging due to a constant influx of new team members and a busy restaurant. It can be hard to set aside time just for training.

In addition, your staff may learn in multiple ways, so it can be difficult to provide the right training to everyone.

The best customer service training begins during your onboarding process and continues in an ongoing fashion throughout the year. Consider mentors for new team members. Choose your most knowledgeable staff members to take on this roll.

It’s vital to your restaurant’s success that your team members are thoroughly versed in your menu, restaurant culture, customer service, and what’s expected of them. (tweet this)


Many issues managers face can be remedied through communication and training.

Unpredictable Environment

It can be challenging to deal with the unpredictability of the restaurant and food service world.

Your manager may not know how many people will show up for breakfast, lunch, or dinner on any given day.

To complicate matters, it is hard to know what menu items people will order.

Both of these things make it hard to know how to staff for each shift and how many inventory items to have on hand.

If you have too many staff working a shift, your operating costs go up unnecessarily. If you have too few staff members working, you can’t possibly meet the needs of your diners.

In addition, employees and their high turnover cause another layer of unpredictability in the restaurant arena.

Encourage your restaurant managers to keep track of each day so when the next year rolls around, they are better equipped to handle each shift.

The Customer Experience

This is another one of the biggest issues restaurant managers face.

The restaurant industry thrives on a service-first mentality. If your food is great, but your customer service stinks, your diners are going to think twice before returning to your restaurant.

Great dining establishments thrive on positive online reviews and word of mouth. When you get a negative review, it can be a deal-breaker for your restaurant.

These reviews often pop up first in online search results, “warning” potential new customers off.

Bad online reviews are often the result of really bad customer service, so it’s more important then ever to train your team.

This includes not only your wait staff, but your host/hostess, bussers, chefs, and cooks. Every member of your team should be thoroughly trained on customer service and willing to make it a priority every day.

In the instance you do get a negative online review, it’s imperative that you respond to it empathetically. Remember, you’re not only responding to the customer who left the bad review, but you are responding to the thousands of other potential customers reading your review.

As a side note, it’s always good practice to respond to positive reviews as well. Your brand is at stake, so make sure a responsible person is responding to all of your reviews.

Final Thoughts

The biggest issues your restaurant managers face are common across the food service industry.

Talk to others. Learn what has worked for them when resolving these issues.

Always work to improve your restaurant brand by providing top notch service along with the best food, ambiance, and team members.

Your restaurant will get better and better as you work to conquer these common issues. It starts with your manager, so as a final note, do be sure your manager is trained and up to the challenge.

At Restaurant Engine, not only do we create great, responsive websites, but you can count on us to create a website that drives business to your restaurant and edges you above the competition by using mobile-friendly design with a terrific user experience. Ready to take the plunge and create a website with an online menu, blog and beautiful photos? Get your free website consultation today!

Images: Louis Hansel and Louis Hansel on Unsplash

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