How Systems Hold Managers Accountable

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Back when I first started teaching how to run a restaurant with systems, everything was based on printed forms or spreadsheets. After a few years of coaching a great team of independent restaurant owners, they all said they were tired of entering their numbers over and over again in different spreadsheets. They said they wanted ALL of their systems tied together and more importantly wanted to hold their management team accountable… and that they wanted a solution. And that’s how our restaurant management software, Restaurant Systems Pro, was born.

Please note the accountability part of that statement.

What does accountability mean? Why do most managers cringe upon hearing the phrase, “hold your management team accountable?”

Let me help you change the meaning of that word to create a positive work environment where your management team excels and appreciates you holding them accountable.

The rudimentary meaning of “accountability” is “answerability.” It’s the acknowledgment of responsibility for your obligations, decisions and actions and how you are answerable for the resulting consequences. In a restaurant management setting your:

  • Obligations are to perform your job to a specific list of expectations.
  • Decisions are what you make based on your obligations.
  • Actions are what you do as a result of your decisions, which are ultimately the basis for what you will be answerable for.

The key to this is not only a specific list of expectations; it’s that the list is clearly defined. This is where most independent restaurants fall down. And with this in mind, this is why managers cringe when hearing the phrase, “hold them accountable.” It’s because the owner or general manager has not been clear on their expectations of their management team.

Not being clear with expectations rears its ugly head in many ways. For example:

A restaurant owner or general manager (GM) will come running through the restaurant like a Tasmanian devil pointing out what is going wrong or is out of place and how their people are stupid. This is all because they suffer from the disease I term “Common sense-itis,” where upper management feels like the things employees are doing wrong should just be common sense.

But the truth is there is no such thing as common sense.

In a restaurant where expectations aren’t clear, I usually find one of the two following scenarios:

  • A restaurant manager feels angry, often argues or even quits because they feel like their owner or GM is an idiot and fails to recognize the incredible job they are doing. They become a problem employee for the restaurant where change is fought, not embraced. This is because in a vacuum of leadership and clarity, that manager is forced to invent the job they should do using their experience. And purely based on this, of course they think they are doing a great job and any criticism of that will be met with anger.
  • A restaurant manager who is OVER PAID! More often than not, compensation is not in line with what an owner or GM wants from their management team. The bar is usually set way too low for most managers. They are merely expected to unlock the doors, turn the lights on, make sure the employees are there for their shifts and that the money is counted until the lights are turned off and the doors are locked.

So when your management team hears that you are going to start holding them accountable, they think, “That SUCKS!” Why? Because without clarity, accountability tends to be an owner or GM just getting louder in expressing how unhappy they are that the manager didn’t do something they didn’t honestly know that they had to do or how to do it.

I’ve really painted a negative picture of accountability, haven’t I? But the truth of the matter is, while all of this is true, it is only true in a restaurant where management expectations are not clear.

Let’s take a look at what a restaurant looks like when expectations are clear. It’s a completely different scenario.

  • When your management team knows what the job is, how to do it and how well you want it done… you have a management team that gets things done, meets expectations and ultimately makes you money and makes you happy.

So how do you get that for your restaurant? It starts with:

  1. A job description that clearly states what the job is, how to do it and how well you want it done.
  2. A training system that ensures that they learn it so clearly when going through training that they can do it on their own without supervision or help after training is complete.
  3. A restaurant budget that gives management a target to shoot for and gives them a road map to what systems need to be put into place to achieve those numbers.
  4. A weekly/monthly budget variance report comparing budget to actual numbers giving management a clear financial report card that will guide them on to what systems need to be reviewed and what new systems need to be put in place.
  5. Detailed checklists in every position! These are the foundation to clearly defining expectations in EVERY position in the restaurant. This allows both management and staff to do exactly what’s expected without any conflict. Because there is no such thing as common sense. You have to tell them exactly what needs to be done and how to do it.
  6. Changing how YOU the owner or GM looks at accountability. Instead of answerability, look at it as an opportunity to coach, to becoming a partner in your management team’s success, to becoming a trainer, not just a parent who only scolds their children to teach them lessons.
  7. Not just taking a manager’s word that they accomplished a task or did what you asked them to do, rather understanding that your home state is now just like the State of Missouri – “The Show Me State!” Instead of accepting the answer of yes it was done, say “great, show me.” Now you put yourself in a position to see that is was done and if not — or not done to your standards — gives you the opportunity to coach for success.

When you make it clear to your team that change is a good thing, that the little details matter, that being clear on expectations is the norm, they will no longer think accountability is a bad thing. Your team will no longer see accountability as something that is dreadful and difficult. This is a shift in company culture — you’re going to shift from answerability to providing opportunities. And the end opportunity for you is to coach your way to both financial and personal success!

And the beautiful part about all of this is… we here at Restaurant Systems Pro have every piece of the puzzle you need. All you have to do is set up a call and TAKE ACTION!

Thousands of restaurant owners like you can’t be wrong. Call us today for a phone consultation and demo of our online restaurant management software, Restaurant Systems Pro, which gives you the power and flexibility to run virtually every aspect of your restaurant from inventory control and recipe costing, labor scheduling and tracking, budgets and cash controls to everyday checklists and daily manager logs over the Internet.


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