How to Set Restaurant Goals

If you want to experience success with your restaurant, goal setting is a proven way to make your dreams a reality. The best way to set restaurant goals is to look at areas where the business is struggling and find ways to improve them. The Kitchen Spot Experts want to help you reach your restaurant goals. Here is a step-by-step guide, with goal suggestions, to help your restaurant reach its full potential.

S.M.A.R.T Goals

Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill
Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, in Oklahoma City, designed by The Kitchen Spot Expert Market Source

Perhaps the best way to achieve your restaurant goals is to follow the S.M.A.R.T method — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Following this process helps you create goals that your restaurant can actually achieve to help it truly succeed.


The more specific you are when making goals for your restaurant, the more likely the goal is to succeed. Instead of saying “I am going to increase revenue,” consider “I am going to increase monthly revenue 10% by the end of the third quarter.” Having a specific number and deadline makes the goal more attainable.


While wanting to increase restaurant revenue is a great goal, how will you know that you’ve succeeded if you can’t measure it? If your monthly revenue is $30,000 and you want to increase it 10%, you should be at $33,000 a month at the end of the third quarter. With the specific number, you can easily track how close you are to your goal at any given time as well as determine when you’ve actually hit your goal.


Restaurant goals are meant to push you and your employees a little harder without being completely overwhelming. Setting an unrealistic goal, such as a 1,000% revenue increase in one month, is extremely daunting and creates a feeling of failure when a team falls short. A better approach is to break that 1,000% into smaller, more manageable pieces. Start with a 10% increase over three months and once you achieve that, add another 10% until you reach the final goal. As you reach the smaller goals, it gives you the motivation to keep moving forward toward the bigger goals.


Any goals that you have for your restaurant should actually be related to the overall success of the restaurant. Is it relevant to want to serve the best chicken dish around when your restaurant is known for its steak? Additionally, is now the right time to implement new plans or goals for the staff? If you can justifiably answer “yes” to those and similar questions, the goal is relevant to your restaurant and you can move forward with it.


“A goal without a deadline is just a dream.” — Robert Herjavec

“A goal without a deadline is just a dream.” — Robert Herjavec

A broad goal without a time qualifier is unlikely to be completed. If you don’t have a deadline to work toward, the drive and desire to complete the goal can decrease. By setting a timeframe, you can break your goal into more manageable pieces and make measurable steps toward the end result. What can you do today to reach your revenue goal by the end of the third quarter? How about tomorrow? Next week? With a deadline in place, it is easier to see progress and discover what is and isn’t working toward the end goal.

Types of Goals

There isn’t one place in your restaurant that can’t benefit from focused goals. Here, you’ll find general goals as well as steps that you can take to reach those goals. However, any pain point in your restaurant can be addressed and improved through goal setting.


Every restaurateur wants to be profitable, so setting goals geared toward finances is a no-brainer. There are plenty of things that can be done to streamline, balance, and improve the financial aspect of your restaurant.

Increasing Revenue

There are many ways you can increase the revenue in your restaurant, including adding new menu items, hosting monthly special events, and improving employee productivity. Consider running promotions to bring in more customers and scheduling your best employees during peak times to efficiently help as many guests as possible. Aim to take small steps toward increasing revenue to see what works best for your restaurant.

Reducing Labor Costs

Labor costs can potentially eat up 75% of your business funds if they aren’t kept in check. Some simple ways to do this are to staff the restaurant according to customer needs. If it’s a slower time, you don’t need as many people there to cook food and serve customers. Another tip is to invest in your current staff. Employees that feel appreciated and take care of will, in turn, work harder for the company that supports them. Additionally, hiring and training new employees is actually more expensive than retaining the team you already have.

Shake Up the Menu

Are you spending a large portion of your food budget on ingredients that don’t sell? It might be time to revise your menu. Dishes that aren’t as popular typically don’t bring in enough revenue to balance the cost of creating the meal. You can remove underperforming dishes while also finding more cost-effective ways to produce the meals that your customers most often choose.

Kitchen KPIs

Another area to focus your restaurant goals on is kitchen KPIs (key performance indicators). Poor kitchen production can severely impact the customer experience and your establishment’s reputation. There are three key areas that you should focus on for KPIs in the kitchen, so set a goal in each category to see vast improvements.

Preparation Speed

Long wait times are not ideal for any restaurant and often leave customers feeling frustrated. The kitchen should have a speed metric based on the types of food being served and how much food is in the order. There are back-of-house technologies that can track each step of the process, including when the order was submitted, when it was started cooking, how long it should take to cook, and how long it actually took to cook. Knowing these numbers can help you set goals on how to reduce times and increase overall speed.

Food Quality

Quickly prepared food still needs to be delicious food. Your kitchen staff should have goals for properly preparing food, getting orders correct, and reducing the amount of food that gets sent back. Excellent food and great service are what keep customers coming back to your restaurant, so ensure that food quality is up to standard. You could also set goals for your ingredient quality, like sourcing locally or organically to see how that impacts the quality of your food.


If a dish on your menu is prepared by one chef in eight minutes and another chef in 14 minutes, there is a consistency discrepancy. Each chef or cook should be able to produce the same quality of food in the same amount of time so that your customers can expect a consistent meal every time they order it. Additionally, ensure that anyone who is cooking food is preparing the meal from the same recipe to increase speed and the standard of food.

Service Quality

Your front-of-house staff are the face of your restaurant and the first people your customers encounter. Delicious food alone is not enough to keep guests coming back if the service is poor. From hosts to servers, each employee should make providing superior customer experience their goal.


Hosts are seating masters, so a good goal for them would be to have the table numbers and sections memorized. A host should also be friendly and personable to every customer or group that comes in, so you could make it a goal to better train each host to be welcoming.


A server’s job is all about anticipating the needs of the customer and providing excellent service. Since servers should have extensive knowledge of the menu to help customers when they ask questions, make it a goal that each server has the menu memorized in a certain amount of time. Additionally, you could create a speed KPI for clearing tables that they could work toward meeting.

Restaurant Sanitation

Safe food handling and restaurant sanitation should be an important goal for every employee in the business. There are daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that need to be completed to ensure that the restaurant is maintaining health code standards. The best way to reach these sanitation goals is to implement checklists for each task set and train your employees to correctly follow the process.

Daily Tasks

A basic clean of the kitchen should be a daily goal for all back-of-house staff. This includes cleaning all prep areas and utensils, emptying garbages, sweeping, mopping, and more. Additionally, all food should be probably dated, labeled, and put away at the end of each night to ensure it is safe for the next day.


Weekly Jobs

Once a week, employees should aim to deep clean major appliances including ovens or fryers as well as refrigerators and freezers. At this time, make it a goal to also go through the dated food and ingredients to dispose of anything that is now past expiration. This prevents spoiled food from being given to customers and maintains the health code standards of the kitchen.

Monthly Assignments

Monthly assignments give your staff the opportunity to dive deep and really get the kitchen looking its best. Tasks should include emptying grease traps, washing walls and the ceiling to remove grease buildup, replacing pest traps and more. Another thorough clean of the fridge and freezer should be done to ensure that nothing got missed during weekly jobs.

Marketing Options

Customers won’t flock to your restaurant if they don’t know about it and that’s where marketing comes in. The primary goal of any marketing plan is to get your name and brand out to the masses so that they’ll want to visit the restaurant and try your food. There are some easy marketing tactics that you can use to help you achieve your goal of increasing revenue in your restaurant.

Social Media

Whether its Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other platform, social media use is continually on the rise. With more than a million peoplejoining social sites every day, your current and future customers are able to be reached in the online world. Creating a Facebook page is a great way to list important information about your business, share news, specials, or giveaways, and have space for your customers to review the restaurant. Social media accounts are also cost-effective for your restaurant since they are free to create and take minimal effort to maintain.

Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs help keep customers coming back to your restaurant, which increases overall sales. You can set the program up through apps, loyalty cards, punch cards, receipts, and more, depending on what works best for your business. Offer money off after so many visits, assign points for every dollar spent, a free dessert or appetizer on birthdays — your options are pretty much endless for rewarding guests for coming to your restaurant.

While offering free items or money off can seem counterproductive to boosting sales, people love getting a deal. This means that they will continue coming to your restaurant to earn those points and get money off their meals. On average, return customers spend 67% more than new customers, so a loyalty program goes a long way in bringing in more revenue.

Email Lists

Email marketing is perhaps the most effective way to stay in contact with dedicated and new customers and get them coming back to your restaurant. Include weekly specials, current promotions, coupons, food prep tips, and more to create a well-rounded, informative email. Around 70% of customers look forward to receiving coupons from their favorite restaurants and are highly likely to use coupons when they get them. If you have a loyalty program in place, emails are also a great way to connect with loyal customers.

Start Setting Restaurant Goals

Setting S.M.A.R.T goals for your restaurant helps you make small improvements that can lead to big changes over time. Get in touch with a Kitchen Spot Expert today to see how they can help you and your team achieve all your restaurant goals.