A CPA’s Insight on Top Issues Restaurant Owners Face

For restaurant owners, there are a number of issues in their workplace keeping them up at night and hindering them from successfully managing and operating their restaurant efficiently. As a firm that specializes in working with clients in the restaurant industry, we regularly assist restaurant owners with many of these issues, particularly in areas like tax compliance, payroll, bookkeeping, and providing sound financial advice to help manage cash flow and business growth strategies. 

Money and Inventory Management

The profitability of a restaurant depends on the careful management of cash flow. In turn, owners should be intentionally aware of where their money is going to ensure they are making more than they are spending. 

Inventory management is another key issue that can creep up if owners are not aware of what product they have and how much is currently available. Keeping track of food and beverage inventory is imperative to preventing product waste and theft.

Workplace Culture and Employment

Managing staff wages, overtime, and benefits can be a complex process. Ensuring that employees are paid accurately and on time is a critical task for restaurant owners to stay on top of. Staffing itself is an entirely separate, recurring issue within the restaurant industry. Finding, training, and retaining quality staff is a constant challenge in today’s job market. High turnover rates are common in the foodservice industry and can be detrimental to the business’s overall success. To help alleviate this issue, searching for new ways to grow the business and stay competitive in a saturated market should consistently be a priority. Consider investing time and money in further educational opportunities for your employees to grow professionally can greatly increase retention and reduce turnover.

It’s also important for restaurant owners to acknowledge the pace at which industry trends and technological advancements are changing and improving. Keeping up with the latest technology for point-of-sale systems, online ordering, and other business operations is essential in not only staying ahead of the competition, but also to ensure your employees have efficient and accessible resources to be successful.

Your own personnel shouldn’t be your only focus, however. It’s also important to consider the customer experience. Positive customer experiences are vital for the success of a restaurant, but negative reviews can severely impact the reputation and profitability of the business. Being mindful of monitoring and responding to customer reviews in a timely fashion helps show your customer their input is valued and can also help reduce future negative feedback. 

Safety and Compliance

The safety of employees and customers and full compliance with rules and regulations should always be non-negotiable priorities for restaurant owners. Owners should always be cognizant of maintaining high health and safety standards to avoid foodborne illnesses in the workplace. 

Restaurants must also adhere to a variety of local, state, and federal regulations, including licensing, building codes, and health and safety laws. Additionally, there are also a variety of sales taxes, payroll taxes, and possibly liquor taxes that owners must also take into consideration. Missing tax deadlines or failing to comply with tax laws can result in severe, costly penalties.