There are many reasons for failure in the restaurant industry.  One of the most common is that a person will open a restaurant without sufficient industry knowledge.  For example; they observe a successful restaurant and feel that all they have to do is copy the décor and menu.  Unfortunately, they most likely have only observed the front of the house operation and no nothing of what is going on in the back of the house.

For this reason it is wise for a person with no significant industry knowledge and experience to buy a franchise.  Franchises are successful because they provide proven formulas and operational system for success.

A good consulting company will provide the same professional training and operational know how & systems to run the restaurant.

My partner and I (W&W Restaurant Group) have collectively and independently owned, franchised or consulted on the opening of over 70 restaurants.  W&W provides the same services that a successful franchise company offers.  However, we do not charge royalties.  Like most franchise companies, we have experienced some success and some failure. One thing that is consistent among those that are successful is a good operations manual and operating system.

All of our clients have received the same material and training.  Why have some failed and others succeeded?  My experience tells me it is because the successful clients have steadfastly followed the systems provided in the operational manuals provided.  The clients who have failed, have not followed the systems provided for in their operational manuals.


You can no doubt find many versions of Ops manuals.  Some are very elaborate and others very basic.  The complexity or detail of the Ops Manual will often depend on the complexity or simplicity of the restaurant operation.  There are three major restaurant categories, I.e., “fast food”, “fast casual” &”fine dining” .  “Fine dining” is probably the most complex to operate.  “Fast casual” would follow in complexity and finally, “fast food” being the least complex to manage.  A fine dining restaurant will typically have the need for more skilled employees to perform more multifaceted culinary jobs.  Therefore, the Ops manual will need to be enormously detailed & comprehensive.

However, in my opinion, while a fine dining concept ops manual will be more comprehensive, a detailed Ops Manual is equally essential to success in all three categories.

The Ops Manual is not intended to replace training but serve as an effective instrument to augment training.  A good Ops Manual is the compass that will assist Management on staying on a straight course for financial success.  The Ops Manual is the rudder that steers the ship.

There are two styles of management.  One is “personality management” and the 2nd is “delegation management”.  The personality style of management relies on one central figure directing every detail of the restaurants operations.  This style of management can work but requires the central management person to work long hours and take few days off because everyone is dependent upon the manager’s hands on direction.

This style of management is limited to running one restaurant because the manager cannot be in two places at one time.  “Personality management” can not only be ineffective, and limiting, but also it is unsuccessful in a larger multi facetted restaurant concept.  Typically, personality management will result in early “burn out” for the Manager.

A “delegation style” of management will effectively use an ops manual.   Delegation in the sense of the word being used here means assignment of responsibilities and not abdication of responsibilities.  The manager becomes the “director/producer of a play, relying on their actors (staff) to efficiently carry out their roles as described in the script (ops manual) of the play.

I especially like the analogy of a play to that of operating a restaurant because every night is like opening night.  The curtain goes up when the doors open for business.  Operational systems are delegated in the script, and the director and the actors perform in unity and as a team to generate a happy audience.

There is one additional advantage to the “delegation style of management that the use of the ops manual provides.  The “personality management “style can be great for the ego of the Manager but doesn’t do much for staff motivation.  In my experience most people would prefer to be given detailed instructions on what their job objective is, its performance expectations, (Ops manual) and with proper training, left alone to perform to the best of their ability.

In the book “Under The Golden Arches” the author describes how Ray Krock after receiving the master franchising  rights to McDonalds, proceed to set the modern day standard for successful franchises by creating a prototype formula for success that franchisees, with proper training, could run and achieve identical results.

Ray Krock accomplished this by conducting a careful study of each and every aspect of the McDonalds operation, and then standardizing the procedures into operations manuals that became a major factor in support of the success of McDonald’s franchisees.   Not a bad formula to follow.

For any help creating your own operations manual, Contact Us.