The challenges that come with managing multiple locations of your restaurant brand can seem like they multiply exponentially. It’s easy to wonder why you decided to open more locations when you’re overwhelmed with new issues that pop up and processes you didn’t know you needed until you had more than one location.
That’s why finding ways to help streamline your operations and learn from experience are invaluable in helping reduce the stress of multi-unit restaurants. Here are three tips to help you do that.
1. Document Your Training
It’s easier to train new employees when your most senior employees are all in one location. As soon as you begin adding locations, your experienced employees will be spread across different shifts and different locations, making on-the-job training more difficult and less effective.
So start documenting. Talk to your managers and other key employees. Find out what “job hacks” they use to make their jobs more efficient. Then turn it into a training process, whether as a written manual, short training videos, in-person sessions or some combination of different mediums.
Having concrete training will make sure you can replicate the experience your employees have and create for customers in a way that makes new locations more likely to succeed.
2. Invest in Labor/Scheduling Software
Trying to juggle managing schedules across multiple locations with spreadsheets and texting can only take you so far. It’s too easy for shift swaps to get miscommunicated and dropped, or to accidentally schedule over the top of a server’s class schedule.
Transforming into a multi-unit operation is easier when you have a predictive scheduling tool on your side. New restaurant scheduling software can build schedules for you, taking into account employee’s schedules, historical sales, weather patterns and local labor laws. Plus all employee shifts, time-off requests and swaps are documented and easy to see. Good labor tools will take a weight off your shoulders.
3. Streamline Inventory Management
As Dan Booth talked about in his recent blog about restaurant inventory management, old-school methods seem like they are efficient, but carry enormous limitations. Working with pen and paper or Excel is time consuming and error prone, even when you only have one restaurant to keep track of.
Streamlining your inventory management process frees up 7-10 hours each week. Plus, managing inventory in an app allows you to use a standardized process, but with customizations if your locations have specialty items or limited menus. Then all the information is compiled and stored in the same place for easier analysis.
Using technology to streamline inventory means you get insight that wasn’t previously possible, and will help you better track inventory across your operations.