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How to Run a Restaurant: The Complete Guide to Restaurants

Table of Contents

Here's your guide to the basics of how to run a restaurant. We give you the job description and responsibilities for a restaurant manager, restaurant servers, and a host or hostess.

We also cover the three main categories of a menu- appetizers, main courses, and desserts. Lastly, we provide you with some suggestions for cleaning supplies and sanitization to keep your place in top shape. Read on to get an overview of how to run a restaurant.

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Restaurant Manager: Job Description, Responsibilities, Salary

Restaurant Manager

A restaurant manager is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of a restaurant. They are vital to the overall success of a dining establishment and must build good relationships with customers and staff.

Job Description

The duties of a manager include hiring and training staff, creating an employee schedule, and interacting with customers. 

The best restaurant managers know how to balance controlling expenses and providing a high-quality dining experience.


The manager should have plenty of experience and knowledge in the food and beverage industry. The most successful ones have a passion for hospitality and keep up with the latest news

After working in a restaurant for a while, they become knowledgeable of standards and typical procedures across the industry.


Busy restaurants can be very demanding and fast-paced. A manager needs to handle the stress that comes with the position.

There are also physical demands, such as standing for extended periods, lifting heavy boxes, and carrying supplies.

Safety and Sanitation

Moreover, many restaurant managers must earn their food handler certification cards. They receive them after completing a course or program that covers food safety. 

Managers play an active role in facilitating cooperation between the restaurant and kitchen staff. A manager is responsible for ensuring that the staff follows the latest safety and sanitation guidelines.


Restaurant managers have numerous responsibilities while overseeing the operation of their restaurant.

Here are 4 vital duties they perform at their job:

1- Hire and train new employees.

Restaurant managers conduct interviews and hire new employees for the restaurant staff. 

They should ensure that the onboarding and training process is as smooth as possible. Training may include customer service standards, point of sale (POS) operation, and other duties.

2- Ensure and monitor guest satisfaction. 

Managers should always be attentive to the level of satisfaction expressed by their guests.

They must be prepared to address any concerns or issues that might pop up.

3- Control costs and monitor sales.

Managers are often involved in following budgets, approving overtime for employees, and handling the payroll process. 

A manager should monitor sales in the restaurant to ensure they achieve revenue goals for the ownership.

4- Optimize the operation of the restaurant.

A good manager will ensure the restaurant has the best equipment and processes to operate efficiently. 


Restaurant managers work in various dining establishments, including fine dining restaurants, casual dining restaurants, and fast-food restaurants. They also find employment at resorts, casinos, and cruise ships. 

According to Indeed, the average salary in the United States is approximately $51,968 per year. This amount varies depending on the type of restaurant, experience, and other factors. 

Earning Potential

As a manager gains more experience in the industry, their earning potential will increase. 

The type and location of the restaurant will also affect income. Fine-dining restaurants tend to offer the most money.

Achieving Success

Overall, a good manager can run a restaurant that is both profitable and an enjoyable place to work. 

Achieving success as a manager means working hard and being innovative to ensure the restaurant qualifies as an ongoing success story.

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Restaurant Server: Job Description, Responsibilities, Salary

A restaurant server, also known as a waiter or waitress, delivers food and drink orders to their guests.

They also provide menu information to their customers, communicate with back-of-the-house staff, and accept payment for services provided.

Job Description


Restaurant servers belong to the front-of-house staff in a restaurant, which means they interact with guests who dine in a restaurant.

They must have good communication skills and ask relevant questions when taking an order.

Customer Service

The best servers chat with their visitors to create a warm and friendly environment for dining. They must be knowledgeable about the food and beverages on the menu, including daily specials.

Working Shifts

Restaurant servers can work an opening, closing, or swing shift in a restaurant. Their duties vary depending on which shift they work.


Here are the 5 main responsibilities of a restaurant server:

1- Set up restaurant tables with attention to cleanliness and organization.

The server must ensure that the dining area is clean before allowing their guests to sit.

They might also prepare the table with silverware, glasses, napkins and other items on the table.

2- Take guests' orders and bring food and drinks to the table.

A server should be knowledgeable about every dish and drink on the menu.

They need coordination for carrying multiple items or trays through a crowded restaurant.

It’s important to keep guests updated on any delays with their orders.

3- Provide recommendations for appetizers, daily specials, and desserts.

Servers should ask whether guests would like an appetizer or dessert.

It’s important to point out specials to provide better service and increase sales for the establishment.

4- Listen to complaints and handle any issues that arise.

Sometimes there's a mistake with an order, or the food didn't meet the guests' expectations.

Customers might drop silverware on the floor, or they might need sauce for their steak.

Whatever the problem, servers should listen to questions and complaints and demonstrate empathy.

5- Present the bill to their guests and accept payment.

Once the meal has finished, the server requests payment from the customer.

It's necessary to master the POS system and other technology during onboarding to ensure smooth transactions.

If you've provided your customers with good service, then it's reasonable to expect a nice tip.


The average national salary for a restaurant server is $13.97 per hour. After a server works in the industry for six to nine years, the average salary increases to $15.41. Add tips from the guests to these numbers, and the overall earnings significantly increase.

By working hard, learning the restaurant business, and developing excellent customer service skills, servers can aspire for promotion to manager.

Achieving Success

Restaurant servers who achieve success do so because they love their career.

They are passionate about the food and beverage industry and take their careers seriously. An excellent staff of servers is a vital part of operating a successful restaurant.

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Best Bar and Restaurant Appetizers

Appetizer Definition

An appetizer is a small dish consumed before a meal or the main course of a meal. It's useful for stimulating a person's appetite before dining.

Restaurants serve them as part of the meal, and servers offer them before seating guests at a wedding or cocktail party. Many full-course meals include an appetizer or hors d'oeuvre.

Many bars include them on their menu to pair with a good cocktail.


The word for an appetizer in the French language is "hors d'oeuvre," which means "outside the work." Its intended meaning is "not part of the ordinary set of courses in a meal."

The spelling in French uses the same form for singular and plural. In English, hors d'oeuvres is the plural spelling.

Origins and Variations


Many historians believe the custom of preparing appetizers began in China and spread to Russia through the Steppes in Central Asia.

After long journeys, Russian travelers often ate fish, meat, and caviar snacks. Appetizers then spread from Russia to Scandinavia, France, Italy, Persia, and the Balkan lands.

As a result, many nations added new ingredients and concepts to create their own appetizers.


In Sweden, a "smorgasbord" is a buffet-style meal served with various hot and cold dishes.

In Russia, this custom became "zakuska," meaning "something to bite after." People eat from an assortment of cold snacks after taking a shot of vodka.

Antipasto is the traditional first course of an Italian meal. The usual ingredients include olives, mushrooms, anchovies, cured and pickled meats, and various cheeses and vegetables.

Restaurant Appetizer List

Any food item served before the main course is considered an appetizer. However, the phrase specifically defines individual items such as fruit or cheese.

Appetizers can also sustain guests during a long wait for a meal. They're also perfect for parties or celebrations.

Here is a list of 7 popular restaurant appetizers or hors d'oeuvres:

1-Bruschetta is an antipasto from Italy made of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and coated with olive oil and salt.

2-Canapés consists of a small piece of bread, cracker, or puff pastry wrapped with savory food.

3-Caviar is made from salt-cured roe from wild sturgeon in the Black or Caspian Sea.

4-Dumplings are pieces of dough wrapped around a filling. They also may be made from the dough without filling.

5-Pigs in blankets are tiny sausages wrapped in dough and served with mustard or aioli dipping sauce.

6-Spanakopita is a Greek savory spinach pie, often containing cheese.

7-Tongue toast is an open sandwich made from scrambled eggs and sautéed beef tongue, seasoned with black pepper and onions.

Best Bar Appetizers

Appetizers are a great way to people them to your bar. Promote some tasty appetizers for your happy hour to increase sales.

Every bar menu should include a list of appetizers to pair with a drink for a reasonable price.

Here is a list of 5 bar appetizers that are great with alcohol:

1-Chicken quesadillas are a quick and tasty appetizer that offers chopped chicken, cheese, and peppers.

2-Mozzarella sticks are breaded with deep-fried cheese and perfect with marinara sauce or ranch dressing.

3-Beer-battered onion rings should be crispy and offer a distinct beer flavor.

4-Spinach and artichoke dip contains chunks of artichokes and sautéed spinach with chips and creamy béchamel.

5-Nachos with beef, chopped tomatoes, and sour cream are the perfect side for your cocktail.

Offering Appetizers to Customers

When choosing appetizers to offer your customers, think about your restaurant's theme and which ones fit your menu.

If you own or manage an upscale restaurant, appetizers might be the first part of your guests' full-course meal.

If you offer great appetizers on your bar menu, it will provide a boost to overall sales.

Appetizers can be the first course of a meal or tasty snacks at a bar. Either way, the perfect appetizer will enhance a guest's restaurant or bar experience.

What Is an Entree? Definition and Examples

An entree is the main dish served at a standard three-course meal in North America, served after an appetizer and before dessert.

However, in France and other parts of the world, an entrée is synonymous with an appetizer, an hors d'oeuvre, or a starter.


"Entrée" originated in old French and became the Middle English "entre," which proceeded into Modern English as "entry" in the 13th century.

“Entrée” was again borrowed from French in the 18th century without changing the word or meaning.

Evolving Culinary Tastes and Styles

During this time in Great Britain, culinary tastes and styles were evolving. Full-course meals became common, and dining became an extended affair. But there were also side dishes, salad, and cheese courses served during the meal.

A small dish was made from several ingredients, garnished, and sauced. It often followed fish and preceded meat in the typical sequence.

It gained the name "entrée" because people ate it before the meat portion. Essentially, it was the "entrance" to the most vital part of the full-course meal.

Coming to America

At the end of the 19th century, French chefs brought the term "entrée" to upscale New York dining venues.

Restaurants and hotels led the practice of calling the main course an entree. Nowadays, it appears regularly on menus when dining out in North America.

How Do You Spell Entree?

In France, they continue to use the accent mark above the first e, written as entrée. In the United States, the accent isn't common on menus.

It's spelled entrée in France and entree in North America.

American Entrees


Many American entrees are meat dishes, including beef, chicken, pork, and turkey. They are large dishes that make up the bulk of a meal’s content.

Some options with meat work on a smaller scale as appetizers. Chicken chopped into smaller pieces can be part of an appetizer dish like chicken quesadillas.


Seafood entrees can also function either as an appetizer or as part of the main dish.

Calamari fritters, curried scallops, and steamed clams are three delicious examples of seafood appetizers.

Lobster, pasta with shrimp, and smoked salmon are popular main course dishes.


Vegetables are a good alternative to meat for vegetarians or people who want a healthier option.

Almost any entree that uses fish or meats can also work as a vegetarian option. It includes vegetarian egg rolls, stuffed peppers, and chili.

Here are 7 popular American entrees or main courses:

1-Baked, fried, or grilled chicken with a baked potato and green beans are frequent items on American menus.

2-Baked fish, including cod, grouper, or tilapia, and grilled fish like salmon, swordfish, and tuna. They're perfect with rice pilaf, tartar sauce, or vegetable skewers.

3-Meatloaf and a side of roasted carrots, sweet potatoes, or sweet potato fries is a classic item.

4-Pasta varieties, including spaghetti bolognese, fettuccine alfredo, lasagna, and ravioli.

5-Pork chops, accompanied by mashed potatoes and a vegetable side of asparagus, broccoli, or squash.

6-Steak in its various cuts, such as filet mignon, rib eye, or sirloin, goes well with a baked potato and a side of vegetables.

7-Turkey pot pie contains chunks of turkey baked inside a pie with carrots, corn, and peas.

French Entrées

Modern French Dining

In French-style dining, “l'entrée” refers to an appetizer or a starter, and "plat principal" is used for the main course.

The modern American three-course meal of an appetizer, entree, and dessert understandably confuses visitors from France.

Here are 8 popular French entrées or appetizers:

  1. Bœuf bourguignon is a stew made from beef braised in beef broth, seasoned vegetables, and red wine from Burgundy.
  2. Bouillabaisse is a classic French soup with chili, orange, saffron, and thyme.
  3. Cassoulet is a traditional French stew with white beans and meat. It's typically duck or pork with sausages, mutton, and goose often added to the mix.
  4. Confit de canard is a dish of duck marinated in garlic, salt, and thyme for around 36 hours. Then slowly cook it in its fat at low temperatures.
  5. Coq au vin, meaning "rooster in wine," is chicken braised with mushrooms, onions, garlic, bacon, and typically a wine from Burgundy.
  6. Flamiche has a puff pastry crust filled with cheese and vegetables. It's usually filled with cream and leeks.
  7. Ratatouille is a dish with shallow-fried vegetables layered in a casserole before getting baked in the oven.
  8. Soupe à l'oignon is a French soup with beef stock and onions, usually served with croutons and topped with melted cheese.

The Best of Both Worlds

Now you know the definition, etymology, and history of entree and entrée.

If you're in New York, visit a local restaurant and enjoy a delicious three-course meal. Sample a classic American main course, or an entree, with a side and a refreshing drink.

And next time you're in Paris, ask locals to recommend a good place to eat. Order an appetizer, or entrée, and enjoy some traditional French cuisine with a glass of wine, followed by dessert.

What Is Dessert? Categories, Examples, Trends

Dessert is the sweetest course of the meal. It follows the main dish in a three-course meal.

The course usually offers sweet foods, such as confections, and may include an appropriate wine or a liqueur.

Every restaurant should offer some delicious desserts, including wines and liqueurs that complement them.

Read on to learn which desserts are trending for 2022 and discover ideas for your restaurant’s menu.


Early Desserts

In ancient Mesopotamia, India, and several other civilizations, servants fed their gods sweets to stay in their good graces.

Fruit and honey were the early desserts people ate before sugarcane became easy to transport around AD 500.

The Influence of Sugar

Sugar has been an ingredient in cooking for over one thousand years in India, the Middle East, and China.

In the 12th century, the Crusades and colonial expansion introduced sugar to European society. Desserts became more available in the Middle Ages when Europeans began to manufacture sugar, mainly for the wealthy who could afford them.

Mass Production

The Industrial Revolution in Europe and later America enabled the mass production of desserts.

During the 1920s, after the invention of the freezer, desserts became a part of daily meals in many nations.

Nowadays, many countries offer desserts that are part of their national heritage.


The word "dessert" came from the French word “desservir” meaning "to clear the table." The term dates to the 14th century, but its first use in English occurred in 1600 in a health education manual.

It gained its current meaning at the beginning of the 20th century.

The United States, Canada, and Australia say "dessert" for the final course. In the United Kingdom, it's not uncommon to hear the synonyms “pudding” and "sweets.”


Dessert categories include a variety of styles ranging from cakes and pies to fruit and nuts.

Over time, many desserts came from past generations in certain countries and geographical areas. This has resulted in a wide variety of desserts from regions in the world.

Here are 8 main categories of desserts:

  1. Cakes are sweet and tender bread made from flour and sugar. They contain sweet sauces or fruit preserves, are coated with buttercream icing, and decorated with fruit and marzipan.
  2. Small cakes and pastries have become popular, especially cupcakes, cookies, and biscuits. They are baked from dough and have a texture that can be crisp, chewy, hard, or soft.
  3. Confection, more commonly known as candy or sweets, is made from sugar heated into crystals. Theobroma cacao beans are mixed with sugar to form chocolate.
  4. Custards have a thick dairy base cooked and thickened with eggs.
  5. Dessert wines are sweet and typically accompany a dessert item.
  6. Frozen desserts include ice cream, sorbet, and gelato.
  7. Gelatin is created with a sweetened liquid thickened with a sweetening ingredient.
  8. Pastries are sweet baked treats and take the form of light and flaky bread with an airy texture, such as a croissant. They can also be unleavened dough with high-fat content and a crispy texture, such as shortbread.

Dessert Menu Ideas and Trends

We've reached out to our friends in the industry to learn what will be in demand in 2022.

Here's some insight they gave us:

During the lockdowns, people relied heavily on sourdough to feed themselves. The availability of bread and yeast was limited as supply chains slowed and businesses closed.

Now, as our communities begin returning to normal operations, people are ready to visit their bakeries and try something new and exciting.

They're interested in sampling new flavors and textures but are also showing interest in baked goods with added benefits to support their health.

Here is a list of 4 trends to watch in upcoming months:

  1. Bubble cakes feature colorful gelatin bubble toppers. Pinterest reports that traffic on their platform for bubble cakes is up by 55%. They're relatively easy to bake but need plenty of time to dry. Plan to cure them at least 24 hours before decorating your cake.
  2. Coffee and tea infusions are more specific versions of coffee cake with mocha, latte, chai, and lemon included.
  3. Checkered desserts are emerging as a hot trend in 2022. Pinterest reports that all things checkered- from cakes to fashion- are trending upward.
  4. Dessert boards are set to be a huge trend for weddings, parties, and restaurants alike. It's a smorgasbord of desserts including pudding, cookies, candies, and fresh fruit- all in miniature form for sharing.

Dessert Menu Delights

Consider if any of these delights would make an impact on your dessert menu. You might want to keep some of your classic choices and experiment by adding a few ideas from our list.

Visit your local bakery and see what they have to offer. If you enjoy their taste, chances are your customers will also think they're delicious.

After all, we all have a sweet tooth and crave something from the dessert menu from time to time.

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Best Bar and Restaurant Cleaning Supplies: Updated for 2022

As we enter 2022, it's a good time to think about making improvements for the new year.

When considering how to run a restaurant, you want to keep in mind cleanliness and hygiene.

We've added a few items to our 2021 list of best bar and restaurant cleaning supplies and added a few sanitizers on the market.

Cold and Flu Season

Cold and flu season and COVID-19 variants are all presenting concerns for people looking to visit their favorite bar and restaurant.

They need reassurance that bars and restaurants are doing everything possible to maintain cleanliness and hygiene.

Advice From the Experts

Once again, we've reached out to some of our friends in the food and beverage industry. We wanted to find out what they're using or plan to add to their stock of cleaning supplies.

We've also read the latest guidelines from federal and local governments. This includes the Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

Restaurant Cleaning Supplies

Global Industrial™ Auto Floor Scrubber

This automatic floor scrubber offers industrial strength scrubbing power to keep your floor bright and shiny. It comes with a 350-rpm brush speed motor and provides a 13-3/4 cleaning path.

The removable tank has a capacity of .45 gallons and runs on two lithium batteries, each with a one-hour running time.

Restaurant Floor Cleaner

Global Industrial™ Floor Cleaner & Deodorizer and Ultra High-Speed Floor Finish

These floor cleaning and finishing solutions are perfect for most floor surfaces, including resilient tile, terrazzo, and more.

Floor Cleaner & Deodorizer is a multi-purpose floor cleaner with a pleasant lavender fragrance. It will clean your floor and give it a fresh, long-lasting scent in one step.

Ultra High-Speed Floor Finish is a high shine floor finish that’s perfect for frequent buffing. After use, it provides a long-lasting, mark-resistant finish that keeps your floor looking brand new.

Use these floor cleaning solutions together to remove dirt, grease, oil, and scuff marks from your restaurant floor and keep it in top condition.

Global Industrial™ Multi-Purpose Cleaner & Degreaser

This multi-purpose cleaner and degreaser offers top-notch cleaning on all water safe surfaces.

It quickly cuts through grease, oil, grime, and food soils to keep your floors clean and safe. You can do some serious deep cleaning with this solution.

Use it with automatic floor cleaning machines and pressure washers on medium to heavy-duty dirt and grime.

It's packaged in 1-gallon containers but is only available in 4-gallon cases, so you can stock up for a while.

Restaurant Sanitizing Equipment and Supplies

Include multiple 6-, 8-, and 10-quart commercial buckets in your supplies for bar and restaurant sanitation.

We also recommend using steramine tablets and Nu-Foamicide Liquid Sanitizer Concentrate to clean and sanitize all the spots on your checklist.

Here are additional equipment and sanitizers you can add to your bar and restaurant's cleaning supplies.

Zogics Disinfectant Atomizing Sprayer and Hypochlorous Acid Disinfectant

The Zogics Disinfectant Atomizing Sprayer provides maximum cleaning efficiency for your restaurant and bar areas.

It holds 2.6 gallons, or 10 liters, of disinfectant and utilizes ULV (Ultra Low Volume) cold atomization. It disinfects up to 16,000 square feet per hour and can be used with any EPA-registered List N disinfecting solution.

Use the sprayer with Hypochlorous Acid Disinfectant to sanitize utensils, dishes, and counters.

It contains an EPA-registered and FDA-approved formula that will effectively eliminate 99.9% of harmful germs and bacteria on hard surfaces in 60 seconds. It also disinfects and deodorizes in 10 minutes.

The Surface Disinfectant is environmentally friendly, non-toxic, biodegradable, and available in 1-gallon containers or a 4-gallon case.

Sanitizing Solution for Restaurants

Noble Chemical's Bacti-Free Third Sink Sanitizer

Use this Bacti-Free Third Sink Sanitizer to keep your food contact items clean and sanitized.

It deodorizes and sanitizes utensils, cutting boards, trays, and any other items that come into contact with food.

Luxton Automatic Hand Sanitizer Dispenser and Refillable Bottle

Offer your guests some peace of mind by placing an automatic hand sanitizer dispenser near the entrance of your restaurant or bar.

This shows that you care about keeping your establishment clean and the people who work and visit there healthy.

It’s easy to assemble, fill, and refill and offers quick sanitation for hands. The dispenser also has a drip catch designed to prevent any messes.

This list of some of the best bar and restaurant cleaning supplies will keep your establishment up to the latest health standards. Using the right tools provides peace of mind to your guests and staff.

Now you have a wealth of knowledge about how to run a restaurant. Keep checking back with us to get the information you need to help your restaurant or bar reach its full potential.

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