Customer retention blog

Top 5 restaurant management books

Dominic Hopkinson
Dom Hopkinson
5 min read

Top 5 restaurant management books

Three out of four all new businesses fail within two to three years – often due to lack of control. But it doesn’t have to be difficult to keep track of everything.

It’s easy to pick up bad habits and turn them into bad routines. So, it’s a good idea to take a step back and get a fresh look at every level of your business once in a while: if you don’t, it can have serious consequences for your restaurant.

To provide you with some guidance, we have found the top eleven best books on restaurant management that are definitely worth the read.

Starting and Running a Restaurant for Dummies

More start-up businesses fail than succeed so we all need a guiding hand (or book!) to show us the path to success. Starting and Running a Restaurant for Dummies may be just that.

It is perfect for any type of restaurant manager — whether you’re launching a new restaurant or working to strengthen the one you already have established.

In the book, you can find tips on how to bring in new and hungry customers. It will also help you consider profitable adjustments to improve your bottom line, apply the latest marketing trends to promote your business, and keep the most productive staff on your team.

Here is just some of the feedback that the book received on Amazon:

“Gives good tips about writing a business plan & advice that comes from experience. It’s not sugar-coated, it really tells you the pros and cons of starting a restaurant, cafe, etc.” – Amazon Customer

“I really like the book, very helpful, and easy to follow.” – M. Chaparro

The Food Service Manager’s Guide to Creative Cost Cutting and Cost Control: Over 2,001 Innovative and Simple Ways to Save Your Food Service Operation … by Reducing Expenses

This is a step-by-step guide letting you in on more than 2,001 cost cutting secrets in four critical areas: food, beverage, operations and labour. Since these insider techniques are provided by successful operators from all over the world, this book is a must-have.

Based on Amazon reviews, The Food Service Manager’s Guide to Creative Cost Cutting and Cost Control was also very helpful in managing restaurant funds:

“I am not an accountant. Just thinking about the book keeping associated with profit planning and cost cutting intimidates me. The Food Service Manager’s Guide To Cost directed me to accounting software and tools to keep my books in order.” – Dawn S.

“Remove the mystery from restaurant operations and understand how a professional kitchen succeeds and where it fails” – D. Donovan

Twitter Tips, Tricks, and Tweets

If you’re not on any social media platforms yet, you really need to be. Now! This is where you get all the real (and free) promotion for your restaurant, and you can be sure that your competitors are already there. Whether you’re a novice or experienced in tweeting, this book will boost your Twitter experience. Readers of Twitter Tips, Tricks, and Tweets on Amazon praise it:

“I have always been a little intimidated by Twitter. This book was exactly what I needed to dive in.” – Lewis

“Twitter Tweets gives you the ins and outs on using Twitter, is well written, and easy to understand. This is a must book to get if you want to start using Twitter, or if you already use Twitter, and want to learn more about using Twitter.” – Mar

“It turns out that Twitter’s user interface is deceptively simplistic, and with a bit of creativity and know-how you can accomplish a lot, one tweet at a time.” – Amazon reviewer

The Restaurant Manager’s Handbook: How to Set Up, Operate, and Manage a Financially Successful Food Service Operation

This is a classic! Despite the 1,000 pages, it’s the best-selling book on how to run a successful food service operation. Covering the whole process of starting up your restaurant to ongoing employee management, it points out methods you can use to increase business and to avoid making any fatal mistakes.

The Restaurant Manager’s Handbook provides you with tips to profitable menu planning, kitchen management, food safety and beverage management and so much more.

If it’s not in your book collection, perhaps you should consider adding it? Here’s what some readers on Amazon are saying about it:

This thing has everything you need to know from picking a place to run it. It even mentions my case, buying an established restaurant and how some steps change for my situation, no other book has addressed my situation, so I was happy about that.” – Jennifer

“Love this massive book of great info. It’s everything you need to know to be successful. Love love. Thank you to the author for the time it took to compile such important and on point info.” – Joy B.

“I’ve been in this business for over 20 years and this book says it all… Even guest service. I’m training a mgr and this book is all I need. Thanks.” – Lulu

The One Minute Manager

Many restaurant managers have followed this book’s very simple techniques to increase productivity, job satisfaction and personal prosperity. It presents several studies showing why simple managing methods work so well with so many people. The One Minute Manager is a concise and easily read story that reveals three very practical secrets: One Minute Goals. One Minute Praisings. One Minute Reprimands.

Check out what these readers from Amazon are saying about the book:

“People need to be forced to read this and pretty much only this in college/university.” – Arideni

This is a simple, though not simplistic, management book which can be read in one sitting and the message is easily understood.” – Dennis M.

“Even if this book is a bit older, it does not mean that the subject is not accurate. On the contrary, this book is still up to date and worth the read. I would recommend this one to all the managers, middle managers and anyone who wants to learn more about management.” – A. March

Setting The Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

In this book written by Danny Meyer, CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group, he shares his recipe for restaurant success. Meyer set up 11 unique restaurant concepts in New York, so you can be confident that he knows what he’s talking about.

So, what’s in his recipe? Meyer describes his philosophy of “enlightened hospitality” which focuses on the need of employees first. According to him, if the wait staff, cooks, and everyone in the restaurant is treated well, this hospitality will be extended to the guests.

His “enlightened hospitality” philosophy has inspired many. It’s no surprise that Amazon readers of Setting The Table are raving about this book:

“Meyer knows what he’s doing. He knows how to run a restaurant and grow a successful biz. These principles are golden. Next time I dine at a restaurant I will be more critical of the service and experience because of this book.” – M. Stevenson

“Danny Meyer has one of the wisest perspectives on hospitality and service. If you are in the restaurant business or are looking for ways to enhance customer service, this is one of the only books you will ever need.” – Brittany T.

Restaurant Success By The Numbers

An accountant who became a restaurant owner, Roger Fields is no doubt the ideal person who can write the perfect formula for opening a new restaurant.

In his book, Fields explains how he has used his experience as an accountant to make difficult decisions on funding, hiring, menu-making, and more. Restaurant Success By The Numbers also includes sample sales forecasts and operating budgets.

Instead of simply hoping for the best, Fields suggests arming yourself with the necessary statistics and reports to make your business profitable.

Here’s some of the reviews we found on Amazon:

“If I could give this book SIX STARS I would, that is how strongly I recommend it. I am an experienced restaurant owner, but for the first time I am starting a new restaurant from scratch. I’ve read this book twice already and refer to specific chapters whenever I’m planning that particular aspect of the restaurant.” – James L.

“I’ve read and reread this book and am currently in the process of opening up my own place. I’m lucky in that I have made friendly relationships with people who are restaurateurs, but I would consider this book a must to familiarize oneself with the technical aspects of actually running a restaurant.” – Fire

Making the Cut: What Separates the Best From the Rest

Known for his skills in entrepreneurship and management, Chris Hill shares the stories of the most interesting personalities he encountered in the kitchen. Some of the chefs and restaurateurs mentioned in Making The Cut include Dominique Crenn, a famous female chef, as well as Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani, Frank Stitt and Jeremiah Tower.

This collection of stories can serve as an inspiration to anyone who is serious about advancing their own career in the restaurant industry.

With a 93% rating on Amazon, here’s what readers from Amazon are saying about it:

“I’d recommend reading this book to most anyone, both in and out of the kitchen, who needs to get some perspective about their purpose and personal goals. Especially those people who have audacious goals in life and would like to impact the world.” – Max

“Chris has been such a great encouragement as I have gotten back into a professional kitchen environment. His advice is based on experience and intelligence, real life cooking and management experience.” – Magdalena

“This book was absolutely intriguing, mine came in the mail today and I started to read and never sat it down until 3 hours later when I had finished it. This book gives you a great perspective into the industry hustle and struggles.” – Amazon Customer

The Profit Recipe

Cesar Quintero may be known for his Fit2Go healthy food delivery empire, but he knows a thing or two about the restaurant industry as well. In The Profit Recipe, he shares important food industry trends that many restaurant managers are ignoring.

One of his most important pieces of advice is for restaurant managers to harness the power of information technology, which has influenced the restaurant industry in the last few years.

An engaging book that gives practical steps to run a restaurant, 80% of the reviewers on Amazon rated it with 5 Stars:

“As a business consultant, I am giving out this book to all my clients who are thinking of starting up ANY type of business. I get the words ‘I want to start up a business in the restaurant industry’ said to me every single day by the majority of the people I sit down with. Now, I have this excellent written guide to help them (and me!) filter whether they should go that route or not.” – Andrea M.

“This book goes beyond the restaurant industry and provides actionable tools that can help any business. But as for a brick and mortar establishment – such as a restaurant – transitioning to an efficient way to increase revenues without increasing overhead, as in not needing to open a new location – Just Great!” – Valerie M.

Kitchen Confidential

This book, that launched TV chef Anthony Bourdain to stardom, remains relevant many years after it was written. With more than 20 years of experience as a chef, Bourdain’s memoir touches on his experiences as a student in a culinary school, a restaurant owner, and a chef at many prestigious establishments.

Kitchen Confidential is a tell-all that explores the struggles that restaurant owners face on a daily basis. By reading this book, managers in the food sector can anticipate the challenges of working in this cutthroat industry.

Many readers from Amazon are impressed with Bourdain’s honesty and candidness in his memoir:

“Very good book…passionate and true.” – Kindle reviewer

“Anthony Bourdain is an entertainer. He’s funny, sometimes brutally honest, down to earth, open and willing to share his own demons in this intriguing, exciting, sometimes shocking book. I love it, I’ve loved all his work, on TV, etc. Been an avid fan of his warmth and wit and devil may care personality. It’s all in this book in abundance. Genuinely miss this guy.” – Donna M.

Front of the House: Restaurant Manners, Misbehaviors & Secrets

Restaurant managers and workers know very well that the front of the house and the back of the house are two completely different warzones.

Seasoned restaurateur Jeff Benjamin gives an insider’s view of hospitality in this very entertaining book. Do you want to know the wait staff’s opinion of you? How about tips on reserving a table? And do you know why some guests are ejected from an excellent restaurant? Benjamin writes all that and more.

Front of the House is a great read for anyone who is just starting to dream about putting up their own restaurant business. It has 4.6 out of 5 Stars on Amazon and most of its fans are aspiring restaurateurs or chefs:

“This book was written, apparently knowing my heart. Jeff Benjamin has shown through his transparency, what I’ve always thought about the restaurant business. Service is everything.” – Shauna W. 

“There are a bunch of useful charts to help any budding restaurateur get started. They take the time to go over many topics, many of which can easily be overlooked. Overall, I’m pleased with this purchase.” – Kindle customer

Planday: Making your life easier

At Planday, we help businesses across the world, including restaurants, streamline and improve their businesses by providing advanced employee scheduling software. Read more about powering your punch clockchoosing your scheduling app and how to manage your restaurant’s costs.

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