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Open Book Management

Open Book Management

Picture of Nate Lozier
Nate Lozier

Open book management has the potential to improve restaurant team unity and drive big saving on cost of goods sold.

In the restaurant industry, success is often measured by more than just delicious dishes and warm service. To thrive in an ever-changing landscape, restaurant owners are adopting innovative management strategies, and one approach that has gained traction is Open Book Management (OBM). Let’s explore the concept of restaurant OBM, its benefits, and how it can be a game-changer for in the restaurant industry.

Understanding Open Book Management

Open Book Management is a management philosophy that involves sharing financial information and operational details with employees at all levels within an organization. In the context of restaurants, OBM allows staff, from chefs to servers, to gain insights into the financial health of the establishment. This transparency fosters a sense of ownership, accountability, and a shared commitment to the restaurant’s success.

Many restaurants big and small have implemented some level of OBM over the last several years to promote greater ownership among their staff, promote a team culture, and ultimately reduce their operating costs.

Key Components of Restaurant Open Book Management

Where To Start?

Restaurants far and wide have adopted their own version of OBM that suits their operation. There are no steadfast rules or regulations on what information needs to be “open book” and what is kept confidential.

A good place to start is by holding a meeting to show your team some key ingredients — those that are high useage and/or high cost — and their associated costs to your business. Then, you can ask them to find ways to reduce costs with incredients. Many restaurants even incentivize this process by giving their employees a cash bonus on any costs they reduce in the first month. The idea being that the restaurant will continue to save that cost moving forward.

One story of success comes from a episode of the Copper & Heat restaurant podcast. After implementing open book management, a dessert cafe shared how much they spent each month on their most expensive item: strawberries. One employee recognized the restaurant was cutting their strawberries very low, while the entire strawberry is useable. By cutting the strawberry higher, the cafe started to save $2,800 each month.

Benefits of Open Book Management

Wrapping It Up

Restaurant Open Book Management is not just a management strategy; it’s a cultural shift that empowers employees, fosters teamwork, and ultimately contributes to the success of the restaurant. By embracing transparency, financial education, and a shared commitment to common goals, culinary establishments can create a thriving and sustainable business that stands out in a competitive market. As the saying goes, when the books are open, success becomes a shared story.

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