10 Essential Traits of Effective Restaurateurs

By: AJ Beltis

7 Minute Read

Mar 19, 2018

10 Essential Traits 1

7 Habits of Highly Effective Restaurateurs

Are you running your restaurant the best way possible?

No matter how well you manage your restaurant, there's always room for improvement. But before you demand change from your staff or expect an unprecedented influx of new customers, all restaurant managers must first realize that change will only come when it starts from within.

As a restaurant manager, you must understand all new initiatives, and improvement must come first and foremost from you. Even if a suggestion comes from an employee, customer, or even a blog post, it's up to you to both implement that change and solidify the practice in your restaurant.

To get you started towards more effective restaurant management, here are 10 characteristics you should adopt to become better at running your r-e-s-t-a-u-r-a-n-t.

R is for Resolute

Let's face it - managing a restaurant involves making a lot of decisions on a daily basis. Sometimes, this can spark disapproval from your workers, and it's tempting to reverse your decision and back down from your idea. Being resolute is essential for restaurant managers. Remain confident in your thought process. If your restaurant data tells you to make a move, listen to logic and follow through with what will be best for your restaurant in the long run.

E is for Exclusive

It's easy to get overwhelmed with all the directions you could take your restaurant. Perhaps, you think an expanded menu or a more universally-appealing restaurant will bring in more customers. Sure, you may see some new faces, but trying to appeal to everyone is never a great idea, and could hurt your business in the long runcDonald's didn't get famous off of pizza, Panda Express isn't a household name because it tried to offer tacos with its Chinese food, and Starbucks didn't go worldwide for trying to sell filet mignon with its caffeinated beverages. Trade-offs are crucial for restaurants to incorporate so that your restaurant can focus on its core offerings and position itself wisely and exclusively in the market. In the restaurant industry, knowing who you aren't is a huge part of knowing who you are.

S is for Statistical

With so much insight available nowadays, it's nearly impossible to be an effective restaurateur without being data-driven. Successful restaurateurs are wise enough to mine the back-end data from their POS system to gain insight in nearly every area of their business, including ordering patterns, customer loyalty, and labor and inventory management.

Owners and managers must have their hands in all aspects of restaurant management. By making these data-driven decisions instead of guessing, assuming, or blindly predicting, restaurateurs set themselves up for a greater chance of success.

T is for Timely

Get with the times! Follow consumer trends, food business news, and restaurant updates. What's the latest in your
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Are you a pizzeria? Chicken Bacon Ranch is making quite a splash. Are you a bar? Reach out to your distributor and see what new liquor is a hot seller.

The world moves in trends, and people move with it. Don't miss out on capitalizing on the latest craze. You don't have to make permanent changes to your menu (yet), but it doesn't hurt to be moving ahead of the curve with regard to menu offerings. Being a restaurateur who's in touch with the times conveys a current, established, and customer-oriented restaurant that's willing to give guests what they've been demanding.

A is for All-In

Are you fully dedicated to your profession?

You can't be half a restaurant manager - either you are or you aren't. If you feel that you can't be what this job needs you to be, you may have to have a serious heart-to-heart with yourself. But if this is what you truly want to do with your life, and if you see the many intangible rewards of running a restaurant, prove it to others and yourself by going all-in with dedication, commitment, and unwavering passion. How can you expect to be an effective restaurant manager if you're not giving it your all?


"How can you expect to be an effective restaurant manager if you're not giving it your all?"

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U is for United

Calling the shots means nothing if your staff doesn't follow through. Stand united with your staff in order to ensure a great relationship that transcends the stereotypical employer/employee dynamic. Talk to them, get to know them, and work towards creating a shared understanding of your vision for your restaurant. That way, when you make decisions, there will be less questioning, complaining, and resistance from those you hired. Your management will be respected and you will have a happier and more productive staff working towards the same end goal.

R is for Reasonable

Believe me, I know firsthand how insane those dreaded Friday nights can be. As good as they are for business, they can be totally draining on both you and your staff. When a mini crisis comes along at a time like this, it's easy to make a rash decision that could come back to haunt you.

Remember - you got to this place in your career for a reason. You have proven you have the ability to make smart choices at a time when that's not the easiest thing to do. Stressful moments will come along, and customers and staff will frustrate you at the worst possible time, but being reasonable and maintaining your composure conveys a level of professionalism on behalf of not only yourself but also your restaurant.

A is for Ambitious

Thinking small leads to safe and expected results. Think big!

Set ambitious goals for your restaurant and for yourself as its manager, giving yourself and your staff something to reach for. Soon, you'll be thinking of new and innovative ways to grow the reputation and better the performance of your restaurant, which you may not have thought of without that ambition.

Shoot for the moon - even if you miss, you could still land on cloud nine."The first days of opening with our first POS system were hell. The credit card machines didn't work so I had to manually enter in all the information. I hate lines. I wanted to cut the line down as much as possible, but my line went out to 7th Avenue and around the block."

N is for Nice

This one speaks for itself. It goes without saying that simple kindness is common courtesy. In business, so much more is at stake. Imagine if you were a customer greeted by an unkind, rude, or disrespectful server or host(ess). Not only are you unlikely to go back, but the performance of that restaurant is likely to be affected as well, since a customer with a bad experience will tell 16 people about it.

Additionally, disrespect towards your employees could result in them leaving. You may think you're the real winner, but don't expect them to come crawling back - they literally have half a million other places they can work at. This results in high employee turnover, low employee satisfaction, and an underperforming restaurant. Make no mistake - being nice is an enormously important characteristic of successful restaurant managers.

T is for Thoughtful

Being thoughtful is the most crucial character trait of effective restaurant managers and is all-inclusive of every aspect of the craft. Thinking about your employees' performance, your customers' satisfaction, your restaurant's growth, the market you compete in, and your place in your community is how you stay in tune with your role as a restaurant manager. Every decision you ever make as a restaurant manager should be stemmed from your drive to establish a better business. Being thoughtful at all times while running your restaurant will separate you from those who lose focus of what they should be doing on a day-by-day basis.

What Traits Would You Add to This List?

There you have it! Ten character traits you can easily adopt in order to become a more effective restaurant manager. Success in this industry ties back to how in-tune you are with the work you are doing. Remember to be attentive, passionate, communicative, and dedicated to your work. These characteristics are what will define your career as a restaurateur.

Your turn: What traits would you add to this list? What are some habits that you have that make you a successful restaurateur?

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