operations | 4 mins read

How to Effectively Manage Your Time as a Small Restaurant Owner

how to effectively manage your time as a small restaurant owner
Michelle Jaco

By Michelle Jaco


According to a Huffington Post study, 25% of small business owners believe that an hour's worth of work on a productive day is worth at least $500. This makes sense, as time as the most valuable asset as a small business owner.

As the owner of a small business you most likely wear many hats. Because you take on multiple projects around the restaurant, finding enough time in a workday to complete all of your tasks is nearly impossible. Ideally, you'd like to manage your time more effectively, but sometimes it just feels like you can't work at the rate you'd prefer. And unfortunately, failing to do so will cost you big, both personally and financially.

Identify How You Utilize Your Time

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Before you go on to make big changes, you need to figure out how you typically utilize your time around the restaurant.

We tend to underestimate or overestimate how we spend our time during the day. So, first, you need to put a stop to guesswork by following these steps

1. Pinpoint Deficits
Which task never gets done around the restaurant? What particular task do you never have enough time for?

Document all the tasks you do during your day and the time you spend on each of them. Prioritize your tasks and take note of the ideal time that should be devoted to each task.

This list should describe what these tasks are, the work involved, and why these tasks are important or not important. Save the list because you will need it later.

Often at times, managers and owners spend a far greater amount of time than they should in monitoring their employees' working hours and time cards. To expedite this process - and essentially eliminate the hands-on approach - it is vital to use automated technology as a resource.

This will not only help you save on time, but it will also greatly reduce labor costs.

2. Time Track
In keeping your business profitable, keeping records and data is everything. You need to make sure that you are tracking your time while doing your everyday tasks.

You may use a paper, excel spreadsheet, or an easy time clock to log your time by doing the following essential things

  • Categorize your time - Create time categories for all the typical things you do around the restaurant like holding staff meetings, handling invoices, bookkeeping, etc.
  • Have a base tracking period - Track your activities and time for more than a day to have a better idea. A week or two weeks is better.
  • Pay close attention - You need to pay close attention to everything you are doing and make sure that you are logging the time during the task. When you are busy, you change activities without being fully aware of it and that is exactly where valuable time gets wasted and important tasks go unnoticed.
Gather all this data that you have logged and analyze it in detail to see where you are wasting valuable time. Some unimportant tasks take up way too much of your time, but with this method, you will soon be able to identify them.

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3. Compare
Remember the list you made in the first step? Compare that list with the data you gathered during the time tracking.

Are you spending the most time on the most important task or not?

If you find inconsistencies between these lists, that could mean one of two things either your first list is wrong and you don't exactly know what tasks are important to your restaurant or your first list is right but you are managing your time wrong.

If the second case is true, then you need to start managing your time effectively.

4. Make Necessary Adjustments
Identify time-wasting tasks and make either one of the below decisions about them

  • Delegate the tasks to your employees
  • Hire new employees to get more help
  • Change how you do those tasks (ex. employee time tracking)
  • Don't try to complete all daily tasks by yourself

Apply These Time Management Techniques Today

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With the tasks that you need to be doing, you must manage them efficiently so that productivity is maximized.

  • Make time for breaks when you can. This will make you feel refreshed physically and mentally, making you more productive in the long run.
  • Write down your tasks in the form of lists. This will help you not forget important tasks, and it will keep your head clear while doing your daily tasks. Keeping lists will also increase your efficiency and productivity.
  • Keep your meetings short and to the point because meetings often waste huge amounts of time.

Utilize Effective Resources

Sometimes, we get distracted by the latest fads or trends that promise to improve our daily lives. It grabs our attention but only for a short period of time, as the products prove to be ineffective. This is called shiny object syndrome.

When you buy new tools or products to better your business, you need to ask yourself whether these things are really worth your money and time?

In order to manage your time effectively, you need to get to the root of the problem. There is no denying that good time management tools do help, but they can't help you if you are a time-waster or a procrastinator. For that, you need to change how you spend your time.

As a restaurant owner, you must be aware of how to use your time and you need to make the needed adjustments.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

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