It’s a problem every business hears:
“We need to communicate better!”
What does that mean, though?
On a smaller scale, it could mean keeping your employees apprised of trends that could affect their shift, so nothing comes as a surprise.
But how do you get that information out there?
- You could send a daily newsletter to employees that they likely won’t read.
- You could write a bunch of handwritten notes and leave them on the counter, hoping they don’t get blown away or swept into the trash.
- You could post on employees' Facebook walls about tomorrow’s inspection (not recommended).
- Or, you could communicate with them through the system they use every day anyway: the restaurant manager log book in the restaurant point of sale system.
Restaurant point of sale systems that have a manager log book allow managers and employees with the right permissions the opportunity to communicate about a wide variety of topics.
Here are 7 creative ways to use your restaurant manager daily log book.
1. Track employee trends.
Has someone been disengaged lately? You can track employee disengagement in your manager logbook. Maybe someone has been punching in late, frequently calling in sick, or asking others to cover their shift.
The manager log book could keep a “file” on all employees, so you can keep track of every time they were late, called out, or called in sick. When they meet a certain threshold (perhaps three shifts late), you could set aside a time to sit down with them and ask how you can help them be on time more often. It could be a simple scheduling issue!
On that same vein, you could also use the manager logbook to recognize great employees.
RELATED POST: 5 Ways to Show Your Restaurant Staff You Appreciate Them
Every day, the GM could make note of an “employee of the day” across the team. At the end of the month, the owner could tally up the votes for everyone on your team, and decide on who the “employee of the month” is based on peer-collected data.
2. Track check issues.
In an ideal world, there would never be any check issues. However, in the rare case that there are, you can track them in the manager log book, especially if they require action from the next shift's manager.
While the POS will keep track of discounts and voids automatically, sometimes it’s nice to attach a story as to why something was discounted, voided, or lost.
Smart manager log books will give you the opportunity to reference a specific check number, so you can close the loop in your customer database.
3. Track guest behavior.
Speaking of tracking customers, you could use the restaurant manager daily log book to track guest behavior. Did a certain regular come in again? Was a guest unhappy, and if so, who was the server on that check? On the flip side, was a guest extremely happy, and if so what can we do to show our appreciation to the customer and the server assigned to that table?
Use the manager log book to log guest behavior as it happens. As a bonus, you could include a clear call to action for the next manager. The example above directs tomorrow' manager to text a gift card to the guest, thanking them for their patronage and enticing them to come again.
4. Track weather patterns.
Every restaurant is affected by the weather, whether you have outdoor seating or not.
The weather could affect your restaurant employee scheduling, as well as the volume of customers that visit your restaurant.
Bars and patios should be especially wary of the weather, as well as oceanside restaurants. If there’s a snowstorm tomorrow, you could urge managers to allow some employees to stay home. If the weather is 90 degrees and your restaurant is in a beach town, you may want to staff up. If it’s raining, you probably don't want to seat your guests at the patio.
5. Track excessive discounts, voids, and comps.
While your restaurant POS system should track discounts and voids automatically, you may want to keep track of trends, especially as they relate to specific employees, for three reasons.
One, voids after closeout is a big opportunity for theft. Managers, alone in the restaurant at the end of the shift, have every opportunity to void out cash transactions that occurred during the day. The books balance out in the POS system and they can take the cash for themselves. Keep a close eye on all voids, especially those made after close, and which manager is approving them.
Two, if there are several comps and voids from a specific server, they may need another training session on how to use their point of sale system. If they keep firing the wrong orders to the kitchen over and over again, it could just be an issue with their understanding of how to work the system.
Three, what food is getting discounted and comped is also important. Maybe that steak has been sent back five times in the last week with customers complaining that it's undercooked, indicating that you should rethink the sous vide method you just started trying out…or retrain your chefs.
6. Track repairs and maintenance.
Did any POS hardware or restaurant equipment need to be replaced in the last shift? Are you running low on something that the next manager could order? Let your fellow managers know in the manager log book.
This is especially helpful if something broke during a shift. You can let the owner know right away that the frialator died by tagging them in a note, and the next shift will also know what to expect.
7. Track big events.
It’s the morning shift, and you’re serving brunch at your patio. You overhear a couple customers talking about the big game tonight: Red Sox vs. Yankees. You know your bar will be packed.
This is a great use case for the manager log book. Just write a note to the manager of the next shift, letting them know to be ready for the event and to stock up the bar.
Other upcoming events you could track are inspections. As the owner, you can let your GMs know when they’ll be inspected. In the case where you don’t get a heads up, the GM can write a note to the owner about the inspection and how they think it went.
Your Manager Logbook Is Only as Smart As You Make It
Using a manager log book is not an exact science. The truth is, you can use it for anything, but the bigger your team, the more organized it'll need to be.
That’s why some restaurant manager daily log books allow you to tag logs by conversation type, and customize those tags depending on how your business operates. The example above uses guest notes, events, weather, repairs/maintenance, and excessive comps/voids as tags, but you could add others. What would you track in your manager log book? Comment below!
Want to learn about using a manager’s logbook with Toast?
If you’re a Toast customer, check out this article to get started using the manager log book, or share your top tips in the comments below.
If not, feel free to request a demo of Toast to learn about the manager log book, as well as the customer database and other features that help improve your restaurant operations and wow your restaurant employees.