Manager Floor Presence is a necessary evil of the restaurant world. In a best case scenario, the floor would be handled seamlessly by your hourly employees and everything would run perfectly smoothly. That scenario would provide your management team the time to focus on everything else that is required of to keep the restaurant running: ordering of necessary items; keeping menus accurate; hiring and training of employees; keeping all documentation up to date; etc. Unfortunately, that is not how a restaurant operates. There are things that constantly need the attention of your team, including a manager on the floor.
Here are just a few questions that need to be continuously answered to ensure the restaurant is operating properly
Sights and Sounds
- Is the lighting at an appropriate level for the time of day, clientele and weather that affects the brightness of your restaurant?
- Is the sound of music at the appropriate level for the number of guests and amount of conversational noise?
- Is the correct playlist for time of day on?
- Is the kitchen being too loud?
- Are your employees talking too loud?
- Are three crying babies affecting the ambiance?
- Did a light bulb go out in the hallway?
- Are your televisions playing sound; are they too dim or bright?
- Are your employees doing their jobs?
- Are your employees checking on your guests in the right amount of time?
- Are they having an issues with the POS?
- Do they have all the equipment they need to operate successfully?
- Do they need a manager to approve a discount or refund?
- Are they having a great dining experience?
- Do I need to touch the table to meet this person with many restaurant connections?
- Do I need to touch the table because it is an avid yelper?
- Do I need to touch the table because it is a guest in our restaurant and everyone needs to feel welcomed?
- Are items coming out accurately and in a timely manner?
- If a dish was sent out in error, how quickly can we remedy the situation?
- Are they clean?
- Are they stocked?
- Are they safe and clearly marked?
- Are they clear of debris?
These are just some of things that need to be monitored by your managers!
There is nothing worse than having a guest waiting for something as they get to watch their server run around looking for a manager. It speaks poorly of your restaurant even if you are giving your best effort. Sometimes a best effort requires you to go do wine inventory or any other billions of tasks that pull your managers away from the floor. Even with the most well-trained staff in the world, the presence of a manager or someone “in charge” has a calming effect on your guests and staff.
Everyone who has worked in a restaurant knows of a manager who would disappear for hours at a time without any word or direction. They also know of the manager who never leaves and is a shadow to your employees only looking for errors in their ways. There needs to be a balance between these two because as a manager you need to be correcting your employees to grow as a team and you also need time off the floor to do behind the scene managerial work. The key here is proper communication and routine check-ins with your staff and guests to feel what is actually happening in your restaurant.
A key and underutilized/disrespected tool to change this is a set manager schedule. Everyone believes that once they become the manager, he or she can juggle everything at once. The truth is, as a restaurant manager you are constantly being pulled in opposite directions. As soon as you sit down to start, one task such as ordering more printer paper, someone’s steak is overdone and there is someone on the phone trying to book a party of 15 for later that night and then you never end up ordering the paper. With a small management team, these tasks are even tougher to keep organized. That is why having more than one manager is necessary during most operating hours of a restaurant (in a pinch, promote an employee for an hour to run things as your eyes and ears, payment could be an end of shift drink or an extra bonus).
Having dedicated hours ON YOUR SCHEDULE that can not be changed or impeded should allow you time to perform your needed daily tasks. Setting up at least one dedicated hour of “can not be disturbed” not only works for tired mothers, it works for restaurant managers as well. This was popularized as WhiteSpace which you can learn more about HERE
Working with “Your Restaurant Helper” will help guide your teams to success as you find the best ways to grow a strong restaurant culture that will work together to figure things out together.