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Restaurant Manager Logbooks: Why should you use one?

a photo of a restaurant manager on the phone, making notes in a digital logbook

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A restaurant manager logbook can be a valuable tool for any food service business. This sort of logbook helps you remember important details and find new ways to improve the restaurant. When you take the time to use a logbook, you’ll get several benefits, which we’ll explain below. But first, let’s look at what a restaurant manager logbook is and what it’s used for.

What Is a Restaurant Manager Logbook?

In general, a logbook is simply a tracking and analytics tool that restaurant managers can use. Logbooks are available in many forms, ranging from simple notebooks to sophisticated software. The one thing they all have in common is that they provide a place for managers to make notes at the end of each shift, task, or workday.

Logbooks can include all sorts of things, such as:

  • Notes about team members
  • Amount of customers per day
  • Most popular menu items of the day
  • Details about employee shifts
  • Tracking kitchen inventory
  • Reminders for later shifts

The Advantages of Using a Restaurant Manager Logbook

Manager logbooks are a great way for managers to plan effective strategies, notice potential issues, and manage restaurant operations. In the restaurant industry, there are some particular perks to using a logbook each day. Let’s look at a few.

Identify Particularly Effective Servers

Being able to recognize and reward good servers can help improve sales and boost employee morale. Logbooks provide an easy way of doing this. For example, you can make notes about days when customers were especially satisfied and see if a certain server is often on duty then. When you take down notes about how things went, you can more easily identify patterns over time.

See How Weather Patterns Affect Sales

If you take note of the weather each day, you can recognize interesting patterns. Analyzing your data can reveal trends about popular menu items or numbers of customers. For example, you might notice that you have a higher volume of customers on warm days or see that rainy days cause more orders for soup. Noticing the weather’s influence can make it easier to plan for upcoming days.

Figure Out the Cause Behind Voids and Comps

Any time a meal is being voided or comped, it costs the restaurant money and shows something is wrong. Logbooks can give you insight into why this is happening. For example, if one server keeps having to void items, it might mean they need more training on your POS system. Meanwhile, if you keep having comps for a certain menu item, it might be wise to rethink that dish.

Recognize When Employees Need Help

A manager logbook is an excellent way to tell if your staff is feeling disengaged. A server who keeps calling out or a dishwasher who is always late may be dissatisfied with their job. Logbooks can also call your attention to things like a waiter who frequently gets customer complaints or a chef who often messes up meals. This can help you identify people who would benefit from additional training.

Communicate With Other Shifts

If you work at a bigger restaurant with multiple shift managers, a logbook can be a valuable communication tool. It can help you do things like explain a lost payment for a meal ticket or remind the next manager to check inventory on an item. This can improve transitions between managers and ensure important details aren’t lost between shifts.

What Manager Logbook Style Is Right for You?

Restaurant manager logbooks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Each style has its own unique perks. Here’s what you should know before settling on a logbook type:

  • Blank notebook: This is the simplest and cheapest option. However, it can be tough to know what to write on a blank page, and it can be difficult to keep things organized. You might leave out important details, and there are other downsides, like potentially losing your notes. Blank notebooks also require you to have good handwriting if anyone else needs to read them.
  • Preprinted logbook: This style of logbook is essentially a fill-in-the-blank notebook. The prompts ensure you remember everything important. However, these books can be bulky, and analyzing the information can be time-consuming. Like notebooks, they can also be lost, stolen, or difficult for others to read.
  • Logbook software: Modern tech makes logbooks a lot more effective. You can automatically configure reports, track analytics, and search for details in your log entries. Just keep in mind that some less tech-savvy management team members might need a little training.
  • Online logbook: This type of logbook has all the help of standard software logs while also being available online. The ability to access the book from all computers and phones can be a huge perk. There are almost no downsides to this logbook style.

TimeForge makes it easy to manage your business. The Daily Log is instantly accessible, easy to organize, and simple to use. In addition to all our helpful logbook tools, we also provide software for handling things like hiring, scheduling, and attendance tracking. To learn more about our services, get in touch with us today.

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