A definition of Management:

                “Management is responsible for creating and maintaining a safe, productive, and motivational environment within the work place.”

There are several key words in this description of Management


Unless Management accepts complete responsibility for the success or failure of the restaurant, they will not be successful. Successful restaurants and successful Managers go hand in hand.  Like any business, <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”><a href=”http://www.noroyalties.com/our-process/restaurant-operating-systems” target=”_blank”>Management</a></span> is the key element to success.  Everything stems from Management accepting and performing their duties and responsibilities.

While a good Manager can, and must, delegate responsibilities to employees, he or she must never abdicate these responsibilities.   What this means is simply that if a Manager delegates a task to an employee, the Manager is still ultimately responsible for ensuring the completion of this task, whether it is monitoring food costs or cleaning the bathrooms.  So, as you can imagine, managing becomes, in large part, about delegating the appropriate tasks to the right people, and following up.  But, no matter how tasks are delegated, the responsibility ultimately falls on Management.

Creating and Maintaining

A good work environment does not happen by chance; it must be created from the beginning by Management. Once this environment is created, it must be maintained on a daily basis.

Creating a good environment involves the policies and standards Management sets from the very beginning.  Policies that ensure employees safety, productivity, and motivation are keys to creating the desired environment.  Rules and regulations can keep your employees feeling safe, guidelines and ongoing training can keep them productive, and goals and objectives can keep them motivated.   To create a policy and not consistently maintain it is to have no policy at all, and an objective without a plan and follow-up is no objective at all.  Maintaining the right environment is just as important as creating it in the first place


Employees must feel safe in their work environment. Safety includes not only physical safety, but emotional and psychological safety as well.  Physical safety is fortunately the easiest to provide for your employees.  In fact, many of the health and fire codes are based on this.  Using common sense and following guidelines set forth by your health and fire departments are usually enough to ensure your employees safety. If a shelf is loose, fix it. If something breaks, clean it up right away.  Use wet floor signs so someone doesn’t slip.  Establish rules regarding entering and leaving the restaurant when it’s dark outside.

Providing emotional and psychological safety is a matter of providing an environment free from harassment, berating, and insults.  Management must not only follow these rules, but also make sure that all employees are following them as well.  This means that instead of insulting an employee or coworker, one should offer constructive criticism, and offer encouragement instead of constantly berating someone for making mistakes.  And no one should ever sexually harass an employee or coworker under any circumstance


Employees want to feel productive; they don’t want to feel that their efforts are pointless; otherwise they will feel as though they are wasting their time.  Feeling productive and understanding that they are an integral part of a team will help keep employees on task and make the job of Management much easier.  Ensuring that your employees feel productive involves thorough training, and offering guidelines as to what is expected of them.

Motivational Environment

Once your employees are safe and productive, you must keep them motivated.

Motivating employees is about letting them work toward a goal that will offer them personal gratification.  You cannot motivate an employee for a set period of time to achieve a short-term goal.  When you try, you become more of a cheerleader than a Manager.  The best way to accomplish this is to create an environment that is conducive to ongoing self-motivation.

Management’s job in keeping employees self-motivated is to provide follow-up training, and allowing employees to improve their skills and increase their knowledge base.  To this end, Managers become similar to teachers in that they share their knowledge and experience for the benefit of the employee.   Employee motivation is one key to the individual success of the employees, and the success of your restaurant.

The best rule of thumb for motivating your employees is to re-enforce the positive by catching them doing the right things and reward them for it with a complement.

Most employees are motivated by increased pay.  Some will be motivated by increased status and responsibility, and some will be motivated by other rewards.

For employees that are interested in moving up the chain of command and are motivated by increased status and responsibility, the solution is very similar to those motivated by money.  Define very clearly what you expect of them; tell them that if they can master those duties and responsibilities, and they can lead by example, you will delegate more responsibility to them.  If they are doing well, and exceeding your expectations, you can offer them a title, such as “lead Trainer” or “shift leader”.  Remember though, delegating more tasks and giving employees more authority does not remove the responsibility from Management.

Reprimanding/Disciplining Employees

The opposite side of motivating employees is disciplining them and reprimanding them in the wrong way when they do not perform as they should. While it is not a fun part of the job of Management, it is a very important one.  Where motivating employees involves   re-enforcing the positive, disciplining is about correcting the negative by re-teaching the correct way.

Disciplining an employee correctly can save time, money, and energy for Management in the long run.  Done appropriately and at the right time, reprimanding an employee can help him or her to understand what is expected, and it can correct problems while they are small before termination is the only course of action.  It can also help create a working relationship between Management and staff built on respect – treat an employee like an adult and a professional, and he or she will act like one.

Keys to Success:  Ten steps to assure a managers success:

1.)  Today I will remember that my attitude dictates my behavior, and my behavior dictates my success.

2.) Today I will not procrastinate.

3.) Today I will prioritize my activities based upon importance.

4.  Today I may delegate but never abdicate responsibility.

5.) Today I will follow up on objectives and plans.

6.) Today I will be supportive to all employees and remember that I am a teacher.

7.) Today I will avoid the “three C’s”: Do not criticize, condemn, or complain.

8.) Today I will concentrate on what others are saying.

9.) Today I will be an example for my employees of pride in the excellence of  the food quality, customer service, and restaurant cleanliness

10.) There are no rewards, no punishments, only the consequences of my actions.

Tom Wilscam is an experienced restaurant consultant and the owner of W&W Restaurant Consulting Group.