How to Develop a Restaurant Management Plan

 In 1. David Scott Peters, Leadership, Restaurant Management, SMART Systems

A restaurant management plan is your written strategy for how to get your restaurant to where you want it.

New ideas have very little value unless they are put into action. This restaurant management plan is a tool that translates ideas (I should or I’ll try to) into action (I am). This helps solidify your commitment to turning your restaurant into a profitable and smooth-running operation.

In developing your plan for improving your restaurant operation, remember these helpful tips:

  • Study every aspect of what you want to implement – does it fit with your management style and goals.
  • Believe in your plan – have confidence in your ability to make it happen and work.
  • Teach, involve and delegate to your team. You can’t do it alone and you need their commitment, buy-in and most importantly their support.
  • Work hard to make it happen! See rapid results!

Benefits of a restaurant management plan

A restaurant management plan produces:

  • Clearly defined goals to achieve
  • Knowledge of achieved success
  • Clear communications
  • Organized thoughts and ideas, identifying/rectifying omissions
  • Systems for realizing short and long-term goals
  • Less stress
  • Increased bottom line
  • Increased cash flow
  • Improved employee morale
  • Business growth

You should have several objectives in mind when developing your management plan, but your ultimate goal is to build a more profitable business (a virtual cash machine), work less, have less stress, and have a real personal and family life.

Just remember, any business is only as good as its people believe it is!

What’s next?

First you have evaluate your restaurant.

Your management plan is divided into sections that correspond with many of the most important areas of your operation. Each section includes a personal evaluation of your restaurant’s current approach to running a profitable and easy-to-operate business. Use the following questions to create your own evaluations for each of the key areas of your restaurant.

Financial Plan
Using a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being strongly AGREE and 5 being strongly DISAGREE, rate your restaurant on the following:

  1. Based on my restaurant’s current efficiencies, good or bad, I know my breakeven point ­­­____
  2. My restaurant is on an accrual accounting system ­­­____
  3. I supply my accountant, or whoever prepares my books, my ending inventories within five days of the end of every month ­­­____
  4. My profit and loss statement is currently set up in such a way that cost of goods sold and labor are broken out into easy to read sections before all other expenses ­­­____
  5. My restaurant uses weekly and monthly cash flow projections to help run the restaurant efficiently and pay its bills ­­­____
  6. My restaurant has a detailed monthly budget that everyone in the management team understands and is expected to achieve ­­­____
  7. My restaurant knows its dollars per square foot and or dollars per seat ­­­____

Cost of Goods Sold
Using the same scale above, rate your restaurant on the following:

  1. My restaurant uses a budget variance report so management can clearly see how they are managing our controllable expenses ­­­____
  2. My restaurant does a monthly food and liquor inventory ­­­____
  3. For even better controls, my restaurant does a weekly and/or a daily food and liquor inventory ­­­____
  4. My restaurant calculates its cost of goods sold by category at least monthly ­­­____
  5. My restaurant manages its inventory turns to minimize the amount of product sitting on our shelves at any given time and keep our cash in the bank ­­­____
  6. My restaurant keeps an eye on our change in inventory to see if we are ordering properly ­­­____
  7. All of our recipes have a completed recipe costing card filled out and updated on at least a quarterly basis ­­­____
  8. Utilizing our POS system, we know our restaurant’s ideal food and pour cost, and we measure our performance against these numbers ­­­____
  9. In my restaurant we use tools such as a key item report and waste sheet to control our food costs ­­­____
  10. My restaurant uses a purchase allotment system to make sure we are ordering correctly ­­­____

Food Systems
Using the scale above, rate your restaurant on the following:

  1. My restaurant uses par levels for products it purchases ­­­____
  2. My restaurant utilizes a purchase order form to ensure ordering, receiving and costs are done accurately ­­­____
  3. My restaurant only allows management or line employees who have been sufficiently trained on receiving procedures to check in orders ­­­____
  4. My restaurant uses a daily prep list to ensure we prep the appropriate food levels to run successfully each day based on the business we expect ­­­____

Labor Systems
Using the scale above, rate your restaurant on the following:

  1. My restaurant uses a master schedule for all departments so that any manager can write an accurate schedule even if it’s not their own department ­­­____
  2. Every manager knows how many FTEs are needed by department and hire accordingly ­­­____
  3. Schedules are written based on forecasted sales for the week by day and shift ­­­____
  4. Before schedules are done for the next week, management is given projected sales, how much money they can spend and how many employees they need to fill their shifts ­­­____
  5. My restaurant tracks labor cost daily ­­­____
  6. My restaurant trains all managers to write a schedule the same way all of the time ­­­____

Running the Restaurant
Using the scale above, rate your restaurant on the following:

  1. My restaurant uses AM and PM manager checklists on a daily basis ­­­____
  2. My restaurant has a pre-shift meeting 15 minutes before every shift for both front of house and back of house staff ­­­____
  3. My restaurant uses a manager’s log on a daily basis to communicate ­­­____
  4. My restaurant has clearly defined house policies ­­­____
  5. My restaurant trains all managers to follow a step-by-step systems for checking-out ALL line positions ____
  6. All of my managers have been trained in the proper use of the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form ­­­____
  7. My restaurant has a HACCP Plan in place ­­­____
  8. My restaurant has a tip reporting system in place to comply with the yearly filing of our 8027 Tip Report to the IRS ­­­____
  9. My restaurant complies with the OSHA posting requirements ­­­____


To develop your restaurant management plan, after you evaluate each section, start putting your plan on paper in the form of both short-term and long-term goals.

When you are finished with this exercise, you will have put together your complete management plan for success.

If you’d like to learn how restaurant management software can help you put your plan into action, request a free demo of our restaurant management software, Restaurant Systems Pro.

For an example of how to make your restaurant management plan successful, download our free report, The Secret to Holding Your Managers Accountable. You can also view tips for restaurant management training and restaurant management systems in your restaurant on this YouTube channel playlist.

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