Why Top Restaurant Companies Value Management Over Supervision

With the COVID crisis on the wane, guests are becoming open-minded about their dining choices again.

Reclaiming these lost guests (and having at least 20% revenue to-go and delivery) requires your managers to continually improve.

An elite group of independent restaurant company owners – each with enviable companies – talked about this recently at one of my Restaurant Owners Success Club meetings.

Management Eats Supervision for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Part of the required improvement comes from understanding the difference between supervision and management.

Reminds me of what President George W. Bush once said: “Competence is a narrow ideal. Competence makes the trains run on time but doesn’t know where they’re going.”

Supervision makes the trains run on time; management figures out where they are going.

If your managers spend their five days plowing through checklists and running shifts, you have them mostly in a supervisory role.

If your managers (especially General Managers) actually run the business, identify opportunities, make plans, execute those plans, and create results, they exist in a system that stresses true management.

Restaurant companies that fail to grasp this difference can eventually forget about management and simply value supervision.

Which leads them to wonder why the competition does better than they do, why they have not reached expectations, why they have not kept up, and why they are not the most attractive employer on the block.

Three Client Stories  

One client thought they had an operations director engaged in management, but I showed them they really had a multi-unit GM engaged in supervision – until we corrected that to help them embark on aggressive growth.

Another had the most comprehensive set of checklists you’ve ever seen and, while checklists are important, managers there spent their days checking boxes rather than building their business – so it stagnated.

At a third, everyone overly trusted supervision. Employees eyed management with suspicion, like a mysterious folly or waste of time.

Once we started educating people on the value of management, issues that had remained unhandled for decades finally started to be conquered.

By teaching your people to understand and honor true management:

  1. Your restaurants and your restaurant company become identifiably better every year.
  2. You create more ownership personal freedom since making everything go becomes handled elsewhere.

A powerful combination, and one I wish for you.

Over to you. Does your organization value true management over supervision, and what is the evidence (or lack of evidence) of that?