Successful Restaurant Operations Lisa Mango

Posted: Apr 11, 2017



Interview with Lisa Mango

1. What are some keys to a successful beverage operation?

Key advice: Sales training not just product knowledge. 

  • Focused offerings, not the unabridged dictionary of beverages. 

  • Know your demographic: Foodie vs. Fast Casual; High disposal income vs. budget; Family and Children vs. Date destination; Business traveler destination vs. locals etc. 

  • Famous quote: “Customers love it when they feel as though they have they upper hand.” A.K.A: Selecting excellent values for the guests, creates trust and increases the velocity of sales creating higher cash flow. 

2. What are the keys to a successful restaurant operation?

Key advice: Plan, train, motivate, execute, measure, repeat.

  •  Those that do not plan, plan to fail.

  •  Our job is to make our guest feel special and yes even glamorous. However those who work the long hours must know that they  are running a business and it is not for the most part glamorous for them.

  • This a not a theatre presentation or TV show. The Iron Chef is your Chef, the Iron staff is your staff.

  • You must be appropriately transparent and constantly share the important business information with your managers at all times.

  • Manager’s need to receive transparent information and clear goals from you so that they can perform successfully for you.

  • You must provide structure and systems.

  • Engagement: You must be present and engage the team because the business doesn’t run itself.

3. If you could give a manager some key advice to run their business, what would it be?

Key advice: The following points and suggestions from Lisa sound serious because they are business critical.

  • The manager is the center of the business machine. 

  • Build a great team. Each team member is a cog in the restaurant machine. Each one has his or her particular strength and passion.

  • Track policies and procedures. 

  • They have to respect you not be your best friend. 

  • They have to be able to follow you into the fire. 

  • Your team represents you. 

4.  Please name a key method to engage guests (Internal and external)?

Key advice: As long as it is appropriate. If you have a positive attitude they will have one too, if you do not they will not.

Follow the Fish philosophy developed at Pike Place Fish Market.

1. Choose a Positive attitude 
2. Play at work
3. Making someone’s day
4. Be present 



Additional great suggestions

a. Be involved in the community. Market yourself in a way to draw guests in. Work within concentric circles. ( e.g., one block perimeter, two block perimeter etc. )
b. Marketing does not happen once a month, once a week, etc. It happens everyday. Social media, provides one of the most functional, cost effective marketing solutions.
c. Create emotional engagement opportunities: Chef seminars, in house wine festivals, partnerships with charities, wine trivia nights etc.

5. What are some of the best ways to grow profits in a restaurant operation?

Key advice: Money disappears quickly.

• Include your managers in the construction and general analysis of the profit and loss statement.
• Success comes from the daily, monthly, and weekly management of the Profit and Loss Statement. (The P and L).
• Without a properly laid out profit and loss statement there is no way to set a budget
• Setting a budget comes from watching everything you spend.
• Meet with your manager’s weekly to see how money is being spent.
• If you see unnecessary expenses in the operation (excess labor & inventory, uneccessary operational expenses etc.) cut the fat. Make good clean decisions.

By Lisa Mango
April 11, 2017
Food and Beverage Operations Expert



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