How Business Systems Will Unlock the Full Potential of your Restaurant

Steven Morris

Critical business systems are often overlooked when restaurant concepts are created and nurtured. During the early stages of a new restaurant, the founder and a small group of team members are highly motivated, closely supervised, and the excitement of creating a new concept can be all the motivation the team needs to create desired results. Effective business systems are essential and have been proven to unlock massive enterprise value, attract and retain great people, and establish a platform that enables future growth.

Why are business systems so often overlooked when restaurant business founders create their concepts?

Firstly, founders are initially and justifiably focused on creating a compelling menu and restaurant environment that attracts and brings back customers. They are present every day preparing, cooking, training, and serving customers. They place every food order, watch every menu item getting prepared and served, essentially monitoring every aspect of the restaurant’s daily life. Developing practices and systems that enable the restaurant to operate when they aren’t there just isn’t a priority.

Secondly, business and operating systems are often perceived as “back office” systems. They are not considered to be exciting and restaurant founders and chefs often do not have the experience developing and working with these systems.

So, what are the benefits of implementing sound and thoughtfully crafted business systems?

How can they jumpstart long lasting success and provide a strong foundation for future growth?

  • Systems make it possible for your restaurant can evolve into a valuable business asset able to function without the founder and be potentially sold or passed down to heirs.
  • Systems facilitate expansion and scalability into multiple locations or markets because they are replicable and others can be trained to adopt and implement them.
  • Systems create consistency and go further to ensure outstanding customer experiences at all times and in all locations.
  • Systems enable the building of effective teams, create efficiency in operations and have the long term potential of reducing labor costs and increasing profitability.

So, what are the business, management and operating systems that can make an immediate and significant impact on a restaurant’s situation and financial results?

Business and management systems can include various inventory management, menu costing and food cost control and tracking systems, labor scheduling and cost tracking and benchmarking systems, financial reporting systems and security and cash control systems. Operating systems can include various procedural tools, checklists, forms and training systems.

A comprehensive human resource management system is the foundation upon which a system centric organization must be built. There are many sub-systems that make up a highly functioning HR system. They include a recruiting, hiring and onboarding system that attracts and finds the best people, a training system that develops a cohesive and committed team of managers and associates, and a corporate culture that encourages a sense of ownership across all levels of the organization.

A final note on the use of technology to build a system centric organization. My experience was taught me that today’s restaurant companies must be nimble and flexible in order to beat the competition and be successful in today’s environment. Many of the business, operating and management systems I referred to in the article can be supported by a robust mobile, cloud based technology platform that can be customized for any business’s needs. I strongly believe that it is essential to implement and maintain business systems that can be used in the field, wherever and whenever they need to be accessed, in a secure and easy to use mobile platform.

My experience with a variety of brands in the quick service and fast casual restaurant world has provided me with a vast amount of experience with the types of systems I discuss in this article. I have learned from the best in the industry and am convinced that application of these types of systems can help unlock the full potential of your restaurant concept.

Steven Morris

Steven Morris is a seasoned business owner, investor and non-profit leader with experience managing large organizations with multiple employees and operating sites. He has over 30 years of executive leadership experience building profitable and sustainable business operations and strengthening the viability and organizational vitality of non-profit organizations.

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