Coaches are a great partner for your restaurant, both in good or bad times. They help you find your vision, develop new ideas with you, and help you build skills to implement your ideas. When you need a long-term solution, they are like the perfect doctor in helping prescribe a much-needed treatment for your restaurant.
Think of when you were trying to learn how to ride a bike for the first time. It would help if you had someone to put you on the seat, walk alongside you, giving you instructions and guidance until you can ride the bike without any help.
This example is similar to the real-world restaurant scenario where you will prefer a coach.
In this scenario, like many others in your restaurant, a consultant will ride the bike for you and then give you a training manual detailing how to ride the bike. The consultant might not be that effective as the coach in this situation and are expensive to provide ongoing support.
Your restaurant business needs both consultants and coaches. Like our bike example, understanding your needs and desirable results, skill-level, and the kind of support you require can help you determine who is more suitable for your restaurant at what point of time. We have already covered restaurant and bar consulting in detail in our previous guides. This time, we will deep-dive into coaching for restaurant owners and managers.
In this article, we will touch upon some areas where restaurants use coaching. Then, we will give you some resources for coaching and training.
Read Also: How to Hire a Restaurant Consultant
Table of Contents
Areas Where a Restaurant Coach Can Help
As a restaurant owner, a coach can help you in several avenues. Here are some popular examples:
Become a Better Leader
Here are some ways a coach can make you a better leader:
- Having a coach can show you a different perspective.
- You could be an outstanding manager with a lot of industry experience, but not good at communicating this expertise to your team.
- You could be leading your team by saying, and not by doing (and need to fix this).
- You could be focusing on tasks and not people (where people are more important).
A lot of managers and leaders find themselves in such positions, and it is challenging to recognize their weak points and also find a way to work on them independently. For instance, talking to people is something you do in your personal life and the work-life.
With this thought process, many do not realize that their communication style to the team is not appropriate or ideal as a restaurant leader. It is a skill that one needs to be aware of and working on continuously.
A coach will identify your strengths and weaknesses along with you, give you tools to improve on the flaws and ensure that you picked it up nicely.
Build an Awesome Team
Building a team for a restaurant is more challenging than most industries. To give you an idea, think of the following challenges:
- The restaurant industry has one of the highest turnover rates for employees (over 70%)
- The staff members could be anyone from a college student, to retirees trying to be professional hospitality workers.
- Hiring is on demand (which is highly volatile), so you do not have the capacity always to have a fixed trained and ready to go, team.
Meaning, as a restaurant manager and leader, you need to have a certain mindset, patience, and a robust set of skills to build and run a winning team given the challenges. The coach can help you make the required expertise.
Improve Your Daily Operations
A restaurant’s success depends on the capability of its entire team. As a restaurant owner or operator, you rely on your front of the house staff for exceptional service and selling your most profitable dishes, and back of the house staff to prepare perfect dishes. Mistakes from any team leaders result in a bad experience for the customer.
Consider this, and your operations need to be well planned and managed. Everything from a training manual to checklist, to error management, needs to be perfect. A coach will help you set-up this operation protocols and teach you methods to keep it in check and up to date.
Improve Your Marketing Campaigns and Outreach
The marketing space is changing at a speed that will make your head spin. Initially, restaurants only focused on channels like Yelp or their websites. Then came Facebook and Instagram and restaurants did not just need to have a strong presence on the platforms, they had to elevate their dishes and interiors to serve this new trend (like Instagram worthy plating).
The Restaurant industry is a cluttered industry, which means you need good marketing and a strong outreach strategy. This new-age marketing approach requires a decent budget, strategic planning, and proper implementation. A coach can teach you about the latest channels, KPIs, progress monitoring. Even if you have a team managing your marketing, as a manager, you need to ensure that you are getting a healthy return on your investment, and hence need to understand the avenue well.
Improve Your Business Model
Running a restaurant requires the coordination of many departments. Sourcing, inventory, preparation, storing, menu management, staffing – many areas can be optimized for better operations, reduced costs, innovations.
Having an expert coach will bring in fresh perspectives and ideas to these areas, and the coach will not just give ideas, but also help you learn how to implement them and make continuous progress.
Restaurant Training Resources
One of the most useful resources is to have a professional restaurant service. These services do not offer cookie-cutter solutions for all businesses, but they understand your individual business needs and craft solutions that suit your restaurant. This approach is one of the most result-driven solutions as it hits the bullseye from the start.
In this section, we will list down some professional services that are popular and highly sought after in the restaurant industry. In addition to this, we will also list some generic restaurant resources, such as courses and books.
The generic sources are a great start to building a knowledge foundation, understanding your weak areas, and finding gaps in your business (all at an affordable price). When you have these, hiring a professional service should be your next step as you know what you are expecting from them.
Books and Guides
As a manager or restaurant leader, learning needs to be continuous and diverse. Did you know the average CEO reads 52 books a year? You need to have a plethora of skills. Books are a great place to start.
- QuickBooks for Restaurants a Bookkeeping and Accounting Guide – There is a reason this book was coined “A Must-Have QuickBooks Guide’ by its writer. It is the handbook for restaurant owners and operators. We are a bit biased as the author of this blog authored the book, but based on the weekly emails I get thanking me for the detailed walkthroughs, I know this is the scenario where I should be a bit biased.
- Leadership: The 5 Fundamentals for Restaurant Managers 1st Edition – The author, Brent Boso, started from the bottom (part-time employee) and went on to become the Director and restaurant Executive. As he climbed up the ladder, he led teams of different sizes and has trained himself and his team throughout his journey. This experience is reflected in his stories and his confident writing style and is a must-read if you, as a leader, want to understand the perspective of all your employees in different roles.
- The Bar Shift – The selling point of this book is that it is concise and to the point. With it’s a no-nonsense approach, easy to digest writing, targeted concepts – the book becomes a “must-have” for your shelf. The authors cover 41 result-driven best practices. Another noteworthy point is the content of the book promises to teach something even to the most experienced and seasoned in the industry. There are guaranteed lessons for you, even if you are starting as a manager or have been a restaurant multi-unit operator for some time.
Restaurant Online Courses
When you want to learn from experts at your own pace and time, online courses are some of the best solutions. Here are some popular choices:
- Coursera – You have probably already heard of this platform. There, you will find industry-specific courses such as Food & Beverage Management or Hospitality Management, but also skill-based courses. They have a full list of courses on topics like leadership, marketing, team management, and other business functions. You can pick the one that you need the most and get started on gaining in-depth knowledge of the topic. Another attractive part about this platform is you can access a lot of these courses for no cost. Many courses are free to audit, and also have various forums to discuss or ask queries and give several chances to interact with the instructor and course designer.
- National Restaurant Association – They are one of the largest trade associations in the industry and represent several hundred thousand restaurants. They also help train and offer certifications. Their course offering is diverse. They provide training in professional development, food safety, allergens identification, alcohol-related training, safe workplace training, and other similar topics. They also provide trusted and recognizable certificates for their practice.
- Restaurant Rockstars – Roger Beaudoin is a name you definitely must have heard if you are in the industry. His restaurant, despite being seasonal, it generates millions of dollars in sales in less than four months. He has been in the industry for over 20 years and has founded four companies in his period. Now, he is a coach, a speaker, a podcaster, and a consultant. He has online courses on different topics such as menu engineering, and the price ranges from a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars. He also has free podcasts and a blog, which makes for a good listen or read.
Online Restaurant Coaching Programs
While online courses are good to get some conceptual knowledge, online coaching helps you get personalized training to level up your business.
- Ready Training Online – They do not just provide online courses, but also a cool interface to share the courses with your entire team and track everyone’s progress and learnings. They cover a wide range of restaurant-specific classes, including human resources, compliances, service, operations, safety. They also have custom training options (which, as expected, comes at a steep price).
- The Restaurant Program – Zachary helps you look at your restaurant through a financial lens. He offers bi-weekly or monthly coaching calls. My training reveals little-known strategies, only someone who does this stuff for a living knows. My training reveals tips and techniques that take your restaurant and business to the next level. We all know the basics. I’m not interested in showing you things you can find out for free. I’m interested in revealing to you strategies I discover and use as a result of continually improving my client’s restaurant’s performance.
Isn’t it time you had a coach in your corner? Helping you take your restaurant or bar business to the next level.
Online Forums and Groups
Peer-to-peer learning is a gem of a resource. The ability to discuss issues, solutions, best practices, case studies, success, failures, and pretty much anything else you want, with someone who is running a restaurant business just like you is a great learning source.
- Reddit – Online forums like Reddit are a goldmine for business-related discussions. For instance, Reddit has a subreddit channel called r/restaurateur. It has about 8.3k Members. The members are restaurant owners and managers, and they discuss various business topics and also offer many consultations or advice. Look at this discussion as an example.
- Facebook – Facebook groups are an incredible tool for communicating with like-minded industry professionals. It’s just nice to have a support network of fellow restaurateurs and restaurant leaders who want to beat industry norms and run a successful, profitable restaurant. There’s no other group like this on the Internet. You’ll even get access to a few industry experts – other bloggers, restaurateurs, chefs, etc. Click Here to join the group today.
- Slack: A real-time communication platform, the future of forums, and other communication channels. Many industry vets, coaches, consultants have closed communities on slack. They ensure quality by being selective of the members who join these groups. Members and moderators share resources, form interest-based groups, organized meet-ups, and take care of each other. The Restaurant Accounting Community is one such group that is geared at restaurant owners and operators that want to take their business to the next level.
Restaurant Professional Training
These would be personalized coaching based on your business needs. Although one of the most expensive options, they are one of the most effective models for training the upper levels.
- Zachary’s Services – Part-time, interim, and special project Restaurant Chief Financial Officer (CFO) services. These are flexible engagements with an experienced restaurant leader who is a bottom-line focused. Get started with Zachary today!
- Vital Learning – Vital Learning program is in the industry for over 25 years and has been used to train managers around the globe. They understand your training needs to help you understand the gaps in the management team. Their program is aimed at improving communication, leadership, and change management for managers.
Make Your Coaching Investment Worthy!
Not all skills are inherent and intuitive. Not all managers can learn on the job. Even the most experienced and effective leaders need continuous learning and training to get better. Managing a restaurant is tough, and learning new skills requires an investment of time, effort, and money. Hence, one should be selective of the training resource they choose.