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The Top 5 Daily Accounting Tasks for Restaurant Managers

Zachary Fagenson
Zachary Fagenson
Hipster Restaurant Manager
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The restaurant manager is the most important factor in driving store-level profit and ensuring that location’s long-term success and that of the entire company, regardless of size.   

“The GM is the heart of the restaurant. It is the most important position in determining the performance of a restaurant,” El Pollo Loco CEO Larry Roberts told Restaurant Business Online. “Restaurants with strong general managers, who understand their operations, establish a culture of caring for and respecting people while still holding them accountable, and look to develop their teams, far outperform those who do not in terms of customer service, employee turnover, sales, and profits.”  

Successful restaurant managers can focus on the big picture, dive into operational problems as they arise, and seize any opportunity. Among those countless tasks is ongoing accounting work. While these responsibilities were once slow, cumbersome projects done under the fluorescent light of a cramped office, integrated restaurant management platforms are eliminating that busywork, empowering managers to provide better information to the back office in less time, freeing them to focus on guests and lead their teams to success. Below are the top five daily accounting tasks for restaurant managers that should be a cinch with the right systems.  

Alert Accounting About New Employees  

The turnover rate in the restaurant industry, twice the national average at 5.4%, makes it mandatory for managers to be in close contact with accounting regarding the consistent flow of new hires. With labor accounting for anywhere from 28% to 33% of total restaurant revenue, ensuring all pieces of the puzzle are in place is essential for accurate reporting and later analyzing those costs to optimize margins.   

Monitor Automated AP  

For years, managing invoices and accounts payable was among the most complex tasks in the business, and for good reason. Handling it all required working with massive stacks of paper that grew exponentially with each additional restaurant location. By eliminating paper from the process using vendor integrations and virtual invoice uploads, managers can seamlessly share invoices with their home office or process them with secure digital payments that shred the paper trail and help get them back to work.   

Review and Send the DSS  

The daily sales summary is a snapshot of each restaurant location’s daily performance: sales, labor, tips, guest count, all of it. By creating one at the close of each day, restaurant managers can spot unexpected issues while sharing this critical tool with colleagues who can help further troubleshoot. Additionally, daily DSS production allows for simple entry into an accounting system nested within an all-in-one restaurant management solution that can produce robust reporting and business intelligence dashboards to guide profit-driving decision-making.   

Enter New Item Transfers & Waste Logs  

Recording item transfers and waste logs should not be overlooked. The former is particularly important for multi-unit groups, as it helps ensure accurate accounting, which leads to invaluable reports that offer pathways to growing margins.  

Given the weight of food costs on restaurant balance sheets, monitoring and tracking waste is just as, if not more, essential. Creating and maintaining digital waste logs helps managers see where their stores leave profits on the table or pitch them into the garbage. They can then use that information to coach specific employees and build training programs that often save hundreds of thousands of dollars by correcting seemingly simple errors such as over-portioning.   

Actively Monitor & Manage Prime Cost  

The overarching goal for restaurant managers is to drive profit and growth. Every task, including accounting working, ladders up to that, and it all centers around the ability to create and produce regular profit and loss statements and robust reporting to help identify areas where the business can improve. The path includes knowing your optimum sales and number of customers served per labor hour for each day part, regularly reviewing Cost of Goods Sold and labor costs, monitoring vendor prices, ordering correctly, costing out menu items and recipes, focusing on driving sales of high-margin items, and maintaining theoretical costs. Restaurant-specific accounting is critical to all these tasks, and ensuring data flows smoothly into that system is the key to unlocking its value.