For those who want to know everything.

What Is A Great Restaurant?

What is a great restaurant + why does everyone want one?

Before we go further I think it’s important that we are all on the same page as to what a great restaurant is.  What constitutes a great restaurant?

Whether your personal restaurant vision is a fine dining restaurant, a trendy tapas bar, a pizza joint, a wine bar, a Michelin Star restaurant or a breakfast cafe, every restaurant manager and owner wants the same things:

  • Service shifts that are streamlined and glitch free
  • A trustworthy staff
  • An educated and informative service team
  • A culture that is respectful and feels good to be a part of
  • Little turn over
  • The business is lucrative for owner and staff
  • There are consistently butts in seats
  • Those butts consistently leave happy
  • As little  stress as possible
  • It’s a fun place to be-for guest and employees
  • There is as little micromanaging as possible

Why do people want to run a great restaurant?  That’s an easy answer!  It’s easier, less stressful, more rewarding, more lucrative, better for your resume or portfolio and fills you with a sense of pride.

Once a great restaurant is created, the name of the game is maintenance and constantly taking small steps to get to the next level.

Maybe you are at the point where your goal would be a restaurant re-vamp, or maybe you just want to take a small step to get to the next level.  Either way, I hope you let me help you.

So, what is a “bad” restaurant?

A bad restaurant has a feeling to it, doesn’t it?  We’ve all felt it.  It can translate as:

  • Unorganized
  • Messy
  • Servers that are regularly in the weeds
  • Unhappy guests
  • Resentment among staff
  • Lazy employees, managers or owners
  • No consistency
  • No sense of pride
  • Not hitting sales goals
  • No set standards

Here are some things to consider when it comes to creating a better restaurant.

1.  Great restaurants do not have poor leaders because they know that their staff can only be as good as their best.  Which means your restaurant can only become as great as you, your lead trainer or your owner/manager.  I call this “the bar”.  Every restaurant should have someone that sets the bar (high); someone to emulate and trust and be accountable to.

2.  Great Restaurants are not unfair.  They have standards, boundaries and expectations that are followed and respected by managers, chefs, servers and hosts. They are crystal clear on expectations, protocol and duties.  The people that are employed at these restaurants understand their duties, the style of service expected of them, the level of education they must have and they feel safe under the leadership of the restaurant, that they will be treated fairly and consistently.

3.  Great Restaurants don’t assume their staff is properly educated.  They are always prepared to take a server, bartender or host to the next level in their career, through testing, meetings or workshops.  They don’t depend on the staff to undertake their education alone; because many will not.

4.  Great restaurants are not made over night.  While it may appear that some restaurants have overnight success, there are still theories being tested, brainstorming meetings, staff education and tightening up the ship.  There is a fierce  commitment to figuring out what works, streamlining all segments of service, being picky about new hires and being open to the right kind of change.

What your restaurant needs today to get to the next level is different than what it needed a year ago, and will be different than what it needs next year.  But the more often you take advantage of the small stepping stones of growth, the easier the climb becomes.

What does your restaurant need to get to the next level?

Does your restaurant need a total re-vamp?  An overhaul of culture, leadership mindset, server mentality, education and service protocol?  It can seem overwhelming, but I promise you that it is possible and rewarding.

Does your restaurant need a little more education?  The effects that come with training your employees to have confidence and knowledge to answer guest’s questions is a priceless investment.  If you, as the manager, are the responsible party for inducing pride and a sense of ownership in your employees, you have made  a lifelong advocate, marketer and a loyal employee.

But some leaders simply expect their employees to know things, or get mad at them when they don’t,  or yell when they ask questions.  This attitude breeds everything horrible in a restaurant culture, and it breeds fast: anger, resentment, turnover, low morale and horrible work mentality.

Does your restaurant need to clear the air?  Sometimes weeks, months or years of animosity or poor leadership, misunderstanding or unfair practices can lead to an unhealthy work environment and that can be challenging to work through.  All the potential “good stuff” is on the other side of that challenge, and it takes nothing more than understanding the issues and a little effort to work through it.


Seek and you shall find.  

Figure out what you want your restaurant to be.  How do you want it to feel?  How do you want it to appear to others?  How do you want to treat the people that you work with?  How do you want to be treated?

You deserve to have a great restaurant, and you can,  with a little focus and effort.


Jennifer, iamWaitress on Google+!

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