Is Your Restaurant General Manager About to Leave?
Here’s how to identify gm burnout and prevent it. Restaurant general managers have one of the toughest jobs in the industry. The typical GM wears a lot of hats, works long hours—and may even feel like the success of the whole operation rests on their shoulders. That means no matter how passionate they are about hospitality, the risk of burnout in GMs is real, and it happens all the time. Experienced operators know it’s not easy to find a GM who has the skill set and gumption to do the job well, so when you find one who’s worth their salt, it’s important to do everything possible to set them up for success and keep burnout at bay. Here’s why GM burnout is so prevalent—plus, four ways to set yours up for success so they’ll be more likely to stick around for the long haul. Why GMs Burn Out? Whether you’re running a small mom-and-pop or fast-growing franchise, the common theme for GMs is that they’re pulled in a lot of directions, all at once. Many GMs oversee day-to-day operational tasks like recruiting, retention, and training; purchasing and inventory management; maintaining guest satisfaction; creating and enforcing policies and standard operating procedures—the list goes on (and on). They’re often involved in higher-level management, too: strategy setting, growth planning, financial reporting. While that’s a lot for one person to carry, it’s not just the volume of work that makes it tough on GMs; it’s the fact that many GMs are operating in a silo. “Unless you’re in a huge hierarchy, you’re essentially in an unmanaged position,” says Ken McGarrie, the founder of Korgen Hospitality and author of The Surprise Restaurant Manager. “You might not be recognized until it’s in the negative, when problems start popping up.” It can be tricky for operators to get ahead of burnout because GMs think they can’t, or shouldn’t, let on. “Everyone just wants to do a good job and impress their employer, so they start to take on everything they possibly can,” adds Derek Langford, a regional GM at Howl at the Moon, a Chicago-based piano bar, and live music venue chain. “Some people don’t know how to say, ‘I’m biting off more than I can chew.’”
How 6 p.m. Became the New 8 p.m.
And breakfast became early lunch. The pandemic incited seismic changes in the restaurant industry, including and especially digital adoption. One change that’s a bit more nuanced is the slight shift in restaurant usage times. We’ve documented changes in restaurant consumer behaviors since the pandemic, including and especially the sharp shift toward digital adoption, which has clearly impacted everything from real estate formats to promotional activity. Another change has manifested throughout the past few years that is a bit more nuanced – the times consumers are using restaurants. In this post-pandemic environment and as historically defined in this business, breakfast no longer peaks during “traditional” breakfast hours. The same is true for dinner. Consider restaurateur Danny Meyer’s recent post on X (formerly Twitter), stating: “When did a 6:00 reservation become the new 8:00, most prized table of the night – and will it last?” Meyer’s observations about dinner don’t come without supporting data. According to Tara Lewis, Yelp’s trend expert, diners are choosing earlier reservation times; in 2023, 10% of all diners were seated between 2-5 p.m., which doubled from 5% during the same period in 2019. Yelp also looked at weekdays and noticed that the percentage of diners being seated from 4-6 p.m. versus 6 p.m. to midnight jumped from 17% in 2019 to 26% in 2023. “We continue to see diners choosing earlier dinner times, especially compared to 2019, before the pandemic began. With the continued rise of hybrid and remote work, late in-office hours are less common, making late business dinners a thing of the past. Instead, those later weekday dinners are shifting to earlier times, often during what would be considered happy hour,” Lewis said.
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Alert
BACK ON THE MARKET
CLOSED MERCER COUNTY RESTAURANT WITH LIQUOR LICENSE FOR SALE!
Professionally designed, decorated, and equipped 6,277 square foot restaurant and bar located in Robbinsville, New Jersey within one of New Jersey’s most prized neighborhoods in Mercer County. Three dining rooms with 20+’ ceilings, seats 200. Striking modern bar seats 30. Outdoor patio and sidewalk dining accommodating another 100 guests. Flagship kitchen currently set up for Asian cuisine. Formerly, rated as the best Chinese Restaurant in New Jersey. Closed due to partnership problems. Opportunity to acquire a high-end, stunning restaurant for a fraction of the cost of build-out with valuable liquor license.
Contact Richard Santore 732.531.4200 for additional information.
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Restaurant Inventory Management
A game changer. Why is taking inventory worth it? The short answer is it’s not just about calculating your cost of goods sold, it’s about ordering and cash flow. Let’s talk about restaurant inventory management and how it’s a game changer. Inventory is a fundamental tool you must use if you want to have restaurant success. I often hear from restaurant owners and managers alike that taking inventory is too monotonous, too time consuming and won’t make a difference in the restaurant because your chef, your kitchen manager, your general manager, even your bar manager tell you they know what they need and what things cost. They’ve got it all in their head. Let’s blow this misconception out of the water and demonstrate why taking inventory and managing your inventory is critical to your success. Let me tell you how I learned the importance of inventory. And funny enough, I learned it from one of the worst managers I’ve ever worked for in my life. He walked me into a walk-in cooler and said, “David, what do you see?” I looked at him and the shelves and told him I saw food. He said, “No! It’s money.” By the way, this proves you can learn something from anyone. You need to understand that your restaurant’s inventory has a direct connection to your cash flow because what is on the shelves is money. I can tell you right now that there are restaurants that have so much food on the shelves that they put themselves in a cash flow crunch. The last time I checked you can’t go to the power company and pay your bill with a case of steaks. You need money to pay your bills.
A New Way to Fund Your Restaurant
Transforming how the restaurant industry secures growth capital. Funding has long been a primary barrier for growth-minded restaurants looking to build new locations and increase their unit count. The options traditionally have been limited to debt financing or venture capital, neither of which is tailor-made to help them grow their real estate footprint. Debt financing demands cumbersome guarantees and lengthy operating histories. Venture capital often requires owners to give up a piece of equity each time they want to build a new location. It also comes with high expectations for hockey stick growth that are unrealistic for brick-and-mortar concepts. These brands tend to follow a step function as their growth curve due to capacity restraints. The same dynamic is true for most service-based retail businesses. It’s what Neha Govindraj encountered while scaling Glowbar, a 30-minute facial concept she launched in 2018 after leaving her post as a management consultant at Bain & Company. As she was charting the future of her skincare treatments business, she realized the options for brick-and-mortar expansion financing fell short. “When you take out venture capital and you take out debt financing, everything that’s left feels a little bit predatory,” she says. “I thought to myself, ‘What if you could actually design an asset class for the entrepreneur?’” That’s the idea behind Bonside, a financing platform for restaurants and other brick-and-mortar businesses that encourages sustainable growth by recognizing and rewarding unit economics. Govindraj structured the platform via Repeatable Revenue Agreements (rras), with businesses gaining quick and seamless access to non-equity capital in exchange for a small percentage of sales.
The Complete Guide to Commercial Kitchen Layouts
For peak efficiency of food production. Imagine standing at the threshold of your dream—a commercial kitchen bustling with activity, the aroma of delectable dishes wafting through the air, and a team working seamlessly together to craft culinary masterpieces. Before embarking on this exciting culinary adventure, the groundwork must be laid, starting with the comprehensive planning of your kitchen’s layout. Numerous important factors, such as regulatory compliance and efficient workflow, must be considered to guarantee the safe and effective operation of your establishment. Whether you’re a seasoned restauranteur or just starting to make your culinary mark, your kitchen’s layout will be crucial in how efficiently your kitchen operates. Start with the Space. Within your commercial kitchen, take note of the existing structural connections. The placement of plugs, drains, and ductwork will certainly dictate certain aspects of your layout. Connect with your contractor to discuss potential alterations to these elements, ensuring that the space suits both current and future needs. Your head chef, a connoisseur of both cuisine and kitchen flow, will be an invaluable asset in this discussion. Together, build a blueprint or floor plan infused with collective insight and expertise, crafting the preliminary plan for your culinary canvas. Pay Attention to Health Codes and Safety Regulations. All commercial kitchens have to follow various regulations and health codes depending on the jurisdiction of their location. It’s in your best interest to start early regarding these considerations, as they may extend your timeline for opening. Here are some key details to keep on top of:
Are Restaurants Getting the Best Value
Out of Sport Partnerships? What do McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Dunkin,’ Taco Bell, Jimmy John’s, Chipotle and Little Caesars all have in common? In the last four years, all of them have dug deep and paid the price for eye-wateringly expensive ad spots during the biggest sporting event in the (U.S.) calendar. And that’s just the national spots, going regionally, you’ll double, maybe even treble that list as smaller challenger quick-service brands try to raise their profile while everyone is … grabbing a beer, topping up their bowl of chips, or grabbing one last sloppy joe for the final quarter. Whether there is true ROI (for even the biggest brands) in booking a spot during the Super Bowl is not a question I’m prepared to ask. What I’m really interested in, rather, is a legend from a completely different sporting arena: baseball’s Billy Beane. Beane made ROI his personal mission, building a team on a budget by using data to reveal the most undervalued players in the game. While they may not be the very best, they offered value and enabled Beane to build a historically successful roster on a budget. This got me thinking, given the close-affinity so many quick-service brands have with sport—whether it’s through sponsorship, advertising, college teams, pro leagues or individual players—as to whether the tendency to default to the big three (football, basketball and baseball) means we’re missing out on something which could generate real impact? Especially when it comes to smaller, challenger brands, none of which would have the sort of deep pockets needed to make a big splash at the Super Bowl… What would Billy Beane do for them?!
Food Trucks Prove Flexible, Growth-Ready Path
To entrepreneurship. Before Alicia Powell became a Wetzel’s Pretzels franchisee, she graduated with a political science degree and went on to work in affordable housing for almost 20 years. She owned a fitness studio, which she tragically lost in a fire. She then started helping her friend with a food truck, and it inspired her return to entrepreneurship. Stories like Powell’s are popping up everywhere in the industry. Brands like Wetzel’s, Cousins Maine Lobster, and Capital Tacos have all realized how much of a growth vehicle food trucks can be. Having keys and the ability to go anywhere is one of the biggest draws of food trucks, says Wetzel’s CMO Kim Freer. Operators have more flexibility than ever before and can plan their week around where customers are. “With a food truck, you have to be the mover and shaker,” Freer says. “You are the brand ambassador in your area, and you have to figure out the best place to be in the community.” Taking a brand on wheels requires more trial and error than traditional models, but potential franchisees gravitate towards the increased mobility and creation of their own schedules. It can be a full-time gig or a weekend side hustle. Wetzel’s has 20 mobile bakeries on the road, with plans to double its franchise fleet by the end of 2023. The chain wants to expand from coast to coast, matching opportunities to the right franchise partner. The Access to Equity program, spearheaded by Wetzel’s, is bridging the gap of female and minority representation in its franchisees. The initiative is meant to help people like Powell take the keys and jumpstart their careers in the restaurant industry.
The Rise of Ozempic Nation
Will it hit the restaurant business? No doubt you’ve heard about this and other semaglutide drugs like Wegovy, which have been all the rage here in body-image-obsessed Los Angeles for some time now. It’s a diabetes drug that has become popular with non-diabetic patients to help them lose weight. It’s so effective, apparently, it has sparked terms like “Ozempic butt,” referring to the loose skin that can result from previously plump areas of the body. Really, it’s the latest in a long series of drugs, habits and diets touted as the solution to our growing problem with obesity. This one works by suppressing appetite, and, oh, it might also paralyze your intestines, obstruct your bowels, or spark the notion of suicide. But many see it as worth the risk. And it has gotten so much attention, it has even come up in restaurant chain earnings calls. A question was asked about the drug’s potential impact at the latest earnings report for Darden Restaurants, parent to Olive Garden, as if nation’s appetite would be so dampened, the brand’s plentiful breadsticks would no longer have appeal. However, this feels a little different to me, first, because it involves actual self-injected drugs and second, because no less a luminary than Oprah has joined the fray. She recently convened a panel of medical experts to discuss The State of Weight and bemoaned her own well-documented weight struggles. To hear her tell it, these diabetes drugs are like the proverbial golden ticket: The pounds drop right off.
Did You Know?
My staff wants me to increase my POS tip suggestions. Should I? One of the many challenges of restaurant management is being in the middle of so many competing interests and needing to satisfy them all. Guests, employees, investors, suppliers, the community, and others are all pulling for your attention and favor. Inevitably, what satisfies one constituency, in this case your staff, may have negative repercussions that hurt another, such as your guests. To be sure, there has been tipping inflation or “tipflation,” where tips that used to seem acceptable (15%) are now seen as sub-par and what used to be considered a good tip (20%) is now seen as the expectation. I think your default numbers reflect that upwards trend.
How employers can support employee mental health. In today’s workplace, the significance of addressing employee mental health has become increasingly crucial. The well-being of employees directly impacts their productivity, engagement, and overall satisfaction. Employers play a pivotal role in creating a supportive environment that fosters mental well-being and offers necessary resources. Ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10, Adams Keegan staff have reported a dramatic increase of client calls concerning mental health. This has included a significant amount of wellness checks — more in the first six months of 2023 than in the last decade.