Restaurant Operations: A Complete Guide To Best Practices

In this guide, we've got you covered, from best practices in managing inventory and staffing to optimizing menus and customer service.


There is always something that has to be done at a restaurant. Perhaps it's arranging the walk-in, folding the front-of-house napkins, or rewriting the menus. As a restaurant manager, you may need to step in occasionally to maintain the restaurant operations.

However, day-to-day activities can take your focus away from the broader vision vital for the long-term health of your restaurant: restaurant operations. Being present on the floor and connecting with your customers and coworkers is essential. However, it is vital to invest time systematically preparing for your restaurant's productivity.

Planned, well-informed goals and processes are at the heart of effective operations. Restaurant operations entail implementing processes that save time and resources and add to your bottom line.

What Are Restaurant Operations?

Restaurant operations include all aspects of a restaurant's everyday administration. Staff members undertake tasks that allow the restaurant to run and meet the demands of their clients, just like businesses in other sectors. These procedures have distinct roles, which may occasionally overlap. For example, one component of restaurant operations management is service, and one of its responsibilities is to provide meals to guests. Another component is preparation, which comprises the creation of the meals provided. The manager supervises these elements to ensure thriving operations.

Operational Efficiency in Restaurants

While most people associate the term "operations" with the kitchen, the term technically covers the entire space within the restaurant. Other areas that people commonly overlook while discussing the functioning of a restaurant include the following:


It is everyone's goal to generate money while doing something they enjoy. However, if you don't know where to begin, you may wind up spending too much money. You must establish how much money you intend to invest before opening a restaurant. Calculate the cost of starting the firm, as well as the rent, utilities, pay, and other expenditures.

You can calculate the profit margin you need once you've decided on the money you intend to invest. The profit margin can assist you in determining how much you set per meal.

Inventory Management

Inventory management is a critical component of every restaurant operation. If you do not properly manage your inventory, you may find short on specific things or even out of stock on certain products.

It may also result in dissatisfied guests who exit without receiving what they purchased. It can also result in lower returns, which means you will receive less money than intended.

As a result, you must devote time to effectively maintaining your inventory. You should keep an adequate supply of each product in stock. You should also check in frequently to see if you are receiving more orders than anticipated.

Ordering and Purchasing

Another aspect of the business to keep track of is ordering and purchasing. Restaurants have evolved to satisfy shifting consumer expectations throughout time. As a result, traditional menus have been replaced with smaller amounts.

The menu itself has become more diversified. Salads, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, pizzas, desserts, and more choices are available at many eateries.

Another recent trend is the growing prominence of fast-food restaurants. These restaurants are popular among many people as they are quick and simple to get in. They are also less expensive than sit-down eateries.

Operations Management

When dealing with time-sensitive duties, such as the physical work required to keep the restaurant running efficiently, adhering to operating restaurants is critical. 

For example, restaurant accounting can be fully operated by software with some additional manual labor by the owner, but every day in the restaurant:

  1. Inventory comes and must be placed in the appropriate location by good employees.
  2. At the start of each shift, kitchen stations, dining room tables, and countertops must be functional and hygienic.
  3. Tables and worktops must be cleaned so that customers do not have to wait too long.

Receiving and Storage

Take note of the storage space that is accessible to you. You must have enough space for your inventory. This includes having enough shelving units, cabinets, and other equipment. Furthermore, you should ensure adequate refrigeration units to refrigerate your food.


A filthy restaurant is more likely to fail. Cleaning is a crucial aspect of restaurant operations. Offering a restaurant kitchen cleaning checklist to your employees and acquiring the best restaurant cleaning supplies are outstanding strategies to ensure your standards are followed.

Customer Support

A guest's experience can be made or ruined by the quality of their customer service. Customers are more inclined to share unfavorable experiences with others, as one in four consumers would stay silent about a poor experience with a restaurant. This word-of-mouth effect has the potential to put folks off your business before they've ever tasted your dish. This implies that you should have a customer service plan that focuses on pleasing your guests at every step.

Best Practices for Improving Restaurant Operations

A good restaurant manager aims to improve restaurant operations. This is a challenging task, but it does not have to be. Here are the best restaurant best practices to streamline restaurant operations:

  • Make changes to your plan:   Your restaurant business plan should be viewed as a guide rather than a rigid game plan. You'll learn there were many things you didn't consider when drafting it as you manage your business. Modify it as required so that it is helpful. 

  • Establish customer connections:   Customers can make or shatter your company. Listen to them to better grasp their needs and desires. This will benefit you in long-term community support.

  • Strengthen your shortcomings:   You wouldn't need this list if you were working at optimum efficiency. Your restaurant's shortcomings are transparent; all you have to do is decide how to address them. This can be due to a specific menu item underselling or a staff person needing more training.

  • Assess the performance of your restaurant:    Assess your restaurant's performance objectively and make necessary cuts or modifications to meet your objectives. If you want a boost in restaurant sales, you must first identify where you need to catch up.

  • Engage your employees:   Each member of your personnel has distinct obstacles and has a different understanding of your business. Get their opinions regularly, and you'll gain the knowledge you'd otherwise miss. Perhaps you can train your employees to upsell and increase profitability. Communication is essential.

  • Cut down on food waste:   Wasted food is a big drain on eateries, which already have a thin profit margin. Maintaining a small menu and creating a par level for your ingredients will help you avoid wasting money. This is an important role for the various types of chefs that operate in the restaurant.

  • Embrace technology:   Technology has the potential to reduce expenses, improve customer happiness, and save time. You can save money by investing in a QR code menu or using a restaurant operations system.

  • Make a hierarchy:   Establishing roles and duties can help to eliminate uncertainty and allow each employee to master their function. Hire bartenders, designate team leaders, and put yourself at the helm to ensure your restaurant runs well.

  • Optimize your marketing:   Marketing is no longer limited to advertisements. Using bar promotions such as fresh happy hour ideas or investing in restaurant SEO can be beneficial. Start with small steps and strive to match your actions to your guests' needs.


Running a restaurant can be challenging. Several factors must be considered to complete this effectively. You can, however, increase your chances of success by utilizing modern technology. The restaurant application is the best way to track your restaurant operations. You can save a lot of time and effort.

Zorp is an innovative drag-and-drop no-code platform allowing users to create responsive web apps that work on both mobile and the web. A diverse set of user-generated templates and components is available to create a restaurant operations checklist. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are restaurants operations?

Restaurant operations are the many actions carried out in a restaurant to manage the business. This includes actions linked to food preparation, customer service, cleaning, acquiring raw materials, bookkeeping, reporting, and so on. All of these front-of-house and back-of-house tasks are combined to create restaurant operations.

2. How can restaurant operations be improved?

The ways to improve restaurant operations are the following:

  • Make a restaurant operations system
  • Create a good work environment
  • Effective staff schedule
  • Make your menu more appealing
  • Take diligent inventory
  • Manage your expenses
  • Pay attention to your guests
  • Remember to include marketing management

3. What Is a restaurant operations manual?

A restaurant operations manual is a guide that includes a list of all the restaurant tasks needed, such as customer service, food preparation, cleaning, purchasing raw materials, bookkeeping, and more. It also includes a comprehensive set of rules, instructions, and checklists for each activity and the individuals accountable.

4. Why is a control system important for a restaurant's operation?

A control system provides management with a better understanding of the flow of food through the restaurant, allowing them to plan cash flow and stock control better. It gives chefs a more systematic manner of designing meals, considering nutritional and cost factors.

 5. How do I make a checklist for a restaurant? 

  • First and foremost, define what your checklist will be used for. Do you require it for broad purposes or particular objectives?
  • Make a list of duties that will go on the checklist. Involve the person who will be performing the checks to ensure that nothing is overlooked. It can also serve to enforce accountability.
  • Based on these requirements, create your checklist items. To get started, use Zorp's restaurant checklist template that you can customize to your specific needs. Zorp enables restaurateurs to build robust applications that improve the customer experience, increase revenue, and optimize internal operations, among other things. It makes it simple and quick for anybody to develop a powerful, professional-looking app, whether you pick one of the templates on the list or design an application that brings your unique vision to life.
  • One you are done creating the checklist, test and deploy.
  • Keep the checklist up to date, especially if anything changes in the restaurant.

Want to know how AI can improve reliability and efficiency in your maintenance process?

What you get:

👉 Gain real time visibility and control
👉 Go live in weeks
👉 Customize to fit your ops
👉 Integrate with your existing tools

What happens next?

1. We schedule a call as per your calendar
2. We discover what use cases ZORP can solve
3. We prepare a proposal

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