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6 Common Restaurant Operation Pitfalls to Avoid

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Here's a list of six tips that restaurant owners need to keep in mind to avoid being a "Restaurant Rescue":

Tolerating Toxic Employees

You may have an excellent reputation with your customers, but equally important is your reputation for hiring and tolerating toxic employees. You may not always know an employee is toxic. Keep your eyes and ears open and make it known that you have an open door for anyone to discuss real issues that could be causing harm to the overall work environment or to other employees in the workplace.

Unmanaged Overtime

One of the fastest ways to watch your labor costs creep up is to let overtime get out of control. There is a healthy amount of overtime that is inevitable in a restaurant operation. But, it’s supposed to be the exception, not the rule. Too much overtime could indicate an understaffing problem not to mention, exhausted employees and poor guest experience.

Ignoring Labor Laws & New Legislation

There’s been a significant uptick in the number of new labor laws impacting the restaurant and hospitality industry. From the Affordable Care Act, to new overtime laws and let’s not forget the wave of wage increases in the “Fight for $15.” There’s been a tendency to want to wait for these laws to come under scrutiny or get hung up in the courts. But that would be a mistake. To avoid penalties and equal opportunity employment lawsuits, the smart, cover-your-ass at all costs employer would heed any and all laws and do their best to comply at all times.

Not Accepting Responsibility to Train Unskilled Workers

You’re a lucky operator if every employee you hire has previous restaurant experience. The fact is, the industry employs a significant number of unskilled employees. That doesn’t mean they can’t learn the skills necessary to be successful in a restaurant or bar. It would be a mistake to shortchange your restaurant’s investment in training - both in-store and online.

Communication Management

There is nothing in the universe more important than communication. Restaurants have closed their doors because communication (or the lack of it) was a huge problem. Restaurants that have a method of logging regular shift activities and commit to a regular communication cadence are able to reduce errors, improve compliance and retain happy, engaged team members. One of the best ways to get your team engaged in your vision is to have a way to communicate those values and reinforce them on a regular basis.

Productivity Shortcuts

Call it laziness, call it unskilled or untrained employees, point your finger at poor management - whatever you call it, productivity shortcuts - especially those that involve food preparation or hygiene - should not be tolerated. Whether you are your own brand, or represent a large franchise, shortcuts could put your guests, your employees, your business and your reputation at risk.

Anthony LyeAnthony Lye is the CEO of, which offers a suite of solutions to help restaurant managers control costs, improve profitability, manage staff, and facilitate real time communication.