TOP 3 SKILLS OF GREAT RESTAURANT MANAGERS
WALKING IN THE CUSTOMER'S SHOES
Howard Johnson, the legendary founder of the Howard Johnson's restaurant chain, visited one of his restaurants every day. Even after the chain numbered more than one thousand restaurants, Mr. Johnson never spent an entire day in his headquarters office. Asked how he could find the time to visit restaurants daily, he replied, "Because that's where the customer is. I want to see what he sees, meet the servers, eat the same food and sit where he sits. You can't run a restaurant if you don't know your customer."
Great restaurant managers learn to walk in the customer's shoes. Stop managing every day and become your customer. See your restaurant through customer eyes. Meet your employees for the 'first time' every day. Sample your own food with fresh taste buds. Get the feel of your operation by dining with a guest every day. As long as you can continue to empathize with your customers you will be a successful restaurant manager.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
When the Zen Master was asked why he was staring at a single yellow daisy for hours, he replied, "Because that's all there is." Gil Clark, the host of the world famous Gil Clark's Seafood in New York tasted every soup, sauce, entree and dessert before every meal period. He looked at every table setting, inspected every waiter's uniform, sifted through the silverware bins looking for tarnish, strolled through the flower beds, dusted off the front sign, tested the sound system, eyeballed the glassware, rearranged the currency in the cash register and then declared the restaurant "open for business." His constant unrelenting attention to detail made him a success for more than fifty years.
Great restaurant managers see every detail, clear every blemish and correct every mistake...every day. Learn to focus on one thing at a time because...that is all there is.
Pierre Franey, the world famous chef, television personality and New York Times 60 Minute Gourmet columnist was executive chef at the legendary Le Pavillon restaurant. Craig Claiborne wrote of Franey, "I've never known any chef with such an extraordinary ability to improvise and rectify when working in the kitchen..."
Repeat business was the hallmark of Le Pavillon and the reason that, for ten years, it was almost impossible to get a reservation. Franey constantly innovated with every recipe and surprised his steady customers with nuanced flavors every time he prepared even his standard dishes. Customers returned week after week to see what new flavors Pierre would create.
Avoid the tried and true whenever possible. Restaurants thrive on repeat business when customers anticipate a fresh experience. Innovation is as important in restaurants as it is in technology.