The restaurant business is an industry in which to expect the unexpected. Operations managers need to balance their time between planned and unplanned events and somehow manage to remain productive in the midst of it all.

Efficient managers understand the importance of relying on available tools and resources to lighten their workload and use their time optimally. This is the essence of good time management. Between meetings, frequent travelling and routine managerial tasks, time can slip away and leave managers in a flat spin. This blog looks at ways to implement time management strategies that make the most of every minute.

Learn to delegate

Delegation means that managers are able to offload less important responsibilities to staff who are capable of managing it. Delegating responsibilities to less senior staff members doesn’t mean absconding from your responsibilities, but instead allows you to focus your time on areas of business where your expertise is most needed. Trust often plays a crucial role in effective delegation. Some managers feel that they need to be involved in every small aspect of the business, leading to burnout and the neglecting of managerial responsibilities. In addition, employees often feel that their contribution and talents are being undermined if their managers are incapable of trusting them with additional responsibilities. This mentality robs staff of job growth and benefits no one. Learning how to delegate to your team and implementing timeous follow-ups frees up much-needed time and fosters teamwork within your staff complement.

Manage meetings smartly

Meetings can very often be a waste of valuable time. Make sure that you address the topics on the agenda and steer away from digression. If new points of concern arise in meetings, be sure to take note of them and schedule a different meeting or call to address them. Sticking to the schedule means that you maximise the time allotted to your meetings and gets your day going with minimal interruption.

Also, planning your meetings in blocks can be a wise decision when you have a busy schedule. When your day or week is littered with meeting obligations, it can often break the flow of your productivity and get in the way of other matters. Allocate time blocks for meetings and stick to them. If your morning is fully booked for meetings, you can plan the latter part of your day to take care of other matters. It might seem insignificant, but time management tricks such as these go a long to making your day as productive as possible.

Adjust your work pattern

Many people find that their productivity levels peak during certain times of the day. This can vary greatly from person to person. For example, if you find that you enjoy the quiet early morning hours before staff start to trickle in, then use it to perform daily administrative duties that you alone as a manager can perform. Change your working hours in a way that maximises your productivity and benefits you and the business. Of course, as the manager of a busy store, group or franchise, you are often expected to be available around the clock, but managing your time more productively means fewer fires to put out and prepares you for the unexpected.

Technology is a manager’s best friend

Modern technology has been an invaluable tool for the busiest of managers. Regardless of industry or lifestyle, technology has permeated our personal and professional lives. Evolution in mobile technology and the continuous rise of the internet puts you in touch with your business from anywhere, anytime. Leverage the power of mobility to manage your time more efficiently and cut down on time-consuming and costly business trips.

Technology in the hospitality industry also means that your staff can manage their time more efficiently. PoS systems with waiter-handheld devices, kitchen display systems, automated discounts for loyalty clients and mobile payment options contribute to more efficient ways of working and eliminate traditionally time-consuming processes.

Make your time count

Management will always be challenged with balancing the tightrope of productivity against time constraints. Pooling the resources available to you is crucial to being an effective manager, so don’t be afraid to rely on them to make your job easier. Creating an environment that is conducive to effectiveness and prioritising your duties will make you a successful manager. If you’ve recently been promoted to a managerial role, or have been at it for some time, re-evaluating your approach to time management could reveal opportunities to becoming a true master of time management.

Read our e-book The definitive 21st-century restaurant playbook for more tips and tricks.

Author : Rudi Badenhorst