Run Your Small Business Like a Restaurant Chain

Successful corporate chain restaurants invest in systems that maintain food quality, guest experience, and restaurant operations efficiently. Here’s a few attributes you can adopt to strengthen your brand and your team’s productivity:

Uniforms are a hallmark of any chain restaurant, and for good reason. Create a unified image for your restaurant with affordable uniform t-shirts, or button downs, or invest in custom items like aprons or hats. A uniform makes it easy for a guest to distinguish between staff and patrons when they need assistance. Uniforms relieve pressure from your staff—no more worrying about what to wear! It also saves the management team the stress from enforcing a dress code. A neat, well-maintained uniform portrays a consistent brand message as well as team unity. 
Pro Tip: If you don’t already use uniforms, pick out 3-4 options and conduct an employee poll to help choose. Get everyone involved!

Whether paper or web-based, many small businesses overlook the importance of employment applications. Resumes may not detail vital information regarding the candidate's skills and experience, and usually don’t provide complete contact details for previous employers or references. Plus, no two resumes are ever formatted alike! An application makes it much easier for managers to prepare for interviews. Most importantly, it keeps the application process fair and inclusive; even if a candidate doesn’t meet your immediate staffing needs, he or she may be the right fit for a future role. 
Pro Tip: To streamline interviews, create a list of questions to ask in each interview, and build your application template around it. Include skill-related questions for more specialized positions. 

Corporate restaurants understand the importance of a thorough training program. An effective training program promotes on-the-job safety and company protocol. In addition, it gives new employees a sense of confidence in handling his or her new role.
Pro Tip: Find ways to review and improve your training program based on employee feedback and performance. Promote leaders on your team to serve as trainers for new employees. 

A recipe book is an integral part of kitchen management. Each recipe should include food cost, ingredients, procedures, techniques, presentation, and allergies (if any). This way, the culinary team can successfully prepare each dish without chef's help. The recipe book can also be used as a tool to educate staff, too. 
Pro Tip: Recipe books are extremely time-consuming, and it’s definitely not a one-person job. Assign a manager to assist chef. Create a user-friendly template so future additions are added with ease. 

Many corporate restaurants set goal for management to interact with every guest throughout each meal period. Often called a “table touch,” managers visit each group of patrons to inquire about their service experience. Table touching is also a way to follow up on proper procedures, like table maintenance and mise en place. If done correctly, table touching is an opportunity to make a lasting impression and increase the likelihood of a repeat visit. 
Pro Tip: Be sure keep business cards on hand for your entire management team. It’s a great ice-breaker during a table touch! 

Handling daily finances is a large part of management training in any corporate restaurant. The ability to manage cash flow, understanding a restaurant’s daily business review, and keeping payroll and inventory under control are all essential parts of managing day-to-day finances. Keep in mind there are other key performance indicators that come from daily financial management. These include:

  • Per Person Average (PPA)
  • Total labor
  • Customer satisfaction 
  • Employee sales performance
  • Advertising response rates

Pro Tip: Most point-of-sales (POS) systems provide sales tracking, reporting, product inventory, and other metrics. Check with your POS administrator to integrate helpful reporting tools into your existing plan. 

Have you worked for a corporate chain? What are some of the procedures you’d like to adopt into your concept? Leave a comment below!



Co Creator Collective can help develop systems for your restaurant. Contact us at to find out how.