Targeting Efficiency with Smarter Restaurant Operations

Restaurants are dynamic businesses with many moving parts. Effectively managing the operations of these businesses takes a special balance of skill, planning, and tools. Staying on top of your COGS, improving customer satisfaction, and improving your margins is as much about streamlining operations as anything else. Check out these 5 ways to improve your restaurant operations and improve your efficiency.

1.       Know Your Inventory – Every restaurant owner or manager knows if you don’t actively manage your inventory it’s impossible to stay effectively minimize your COGS. Inventory management is crucial to understanding where your money is really going and to developing optimized purchasing patterns. But it’s easy to talk about good inventory practices, and another thing to implement them. Depending on the size of your restaurant, inventory management can be a massive undertaking. So set your staff up for success with tools that make the job easier and more efficient. The old notepad inventory list invites opportunities for errors. A standardized inventory sheet, or better yet, a tablet application, can help your team streamline the inventory process. Utilize an inventory management system that can help you take counts efficiently and utilize the data quickly and easily in inventory reports. Automate as many tasks as you can to free up your staff for other jobs.

2.       Automate Purchasing – Managing vendors and juggling purchase orders can become a full-time job. Stay on top of your purchasing with automated B2B invoicing and purchase order entry. Again, it’s all about automating whatever you can. These management tools can make sure you stay connected with your vendors and can help you track purchases, automatically schedule orders based on inventory, and track cost adjustments to make sure you are really getting your contracted price. 

3.       Streamline Scheduling – One of the biggest challenges in any restaurant is managing labor. It is crucial to effectively handle scheduling and labor management issues to improve employee morale and retention, not to mention limiting labor costs. Scheduling can be a challenging task, especially when you are dealing with part-time or seasonal labor. If creating and adjusting a weekly schedule has become a burden on your managers, it’s time to look into scheduling tools that can help you improve the process. With labor management software, you can manage employee availability and automate schedule creation based on sales forecasting. You can also utilize mobile apps to help employees communicate add/drop requests and other scheduling needs.

4.       Stay on Top of the Numbers – Know where your numbers are at any given time. Reporting and analytics tools are developing into huge assets for the restaurant industry. Pinpoint the reason for your COGS increase or identify your exact waste amount. Manage your P&L and understand real-time sales with these increasingly robust tools. Restaurant back office software has come a long way in recent years and can show you unprecedented insights into your operations. For regional managers and corporate executives, this can be a huge improvement to the past methods of data collection and management. Make sure your tools can give you reports from anywhere at any time and make use of automated report delivery tools to check your restaurant’s stats every morning from home.

5.       Work Smarter, Not Harder – Many restaurants start as small labors of love and grow from there. That growth doesn’t always go hand in hand with process growth.  What worked for your local restaurant group may not translate as well to a national chain. Many restaurant owners find themselves at some point struggling with outdated processes that are overtaxing staff and management. This could be attempting to manage inventory on Excel spreadsheets, handwriting schedules weekly, or manually entering data into the system. If this is you, it’s time to look into management tools that can streamline your workflow. Change is hard, but optimizing productivity is worth the effort. 

Operations don’t have to be a burden in your restaurant. Understand the best ways to automate tasks for the most efficient processes so you can focus on what you love about your restaurant and let the operations headaches go.


Restaurant Magic Software has been providing advanced software solutions to the restaurant and hospitality industry for over 20 years. The robust Data Central Management Suite, the flagship product, is a powerful and flexible application that takes advantage of the latest technology trends to offer premier processing and analytics. With advanced forecasting, predictive scheduling and mobile technologies, Data Central has something for every problem. To learn more about Restaurant Magic Software and its products, call us at 1(800) 933-4711 or visit the website at RestaurantMagic.com.