How Monte Silva’s Two-Part Approach to Time Management Delivered Big Wins

Ignite Expert

What happens when you go from managing one restaurant to four restaurants without getting a body double? For Monte Silva, the challenge was real. He worked 55 hours running one business but now had to adapt his efforts to oversee four. Fortunately, Monte’s expertise and innovation provided long term solutions.

You might have heard of Monte Silva, as he’s a regular guest on top restaurant podcasts and writes a weekly blog called, #Restaurateur. He’s been featured in the Restaurant Business Magazine, The Tasting Panel, Nashville Scene, and Nashville Wine Press Magazine. You’ll find a chapter highlighting Monte’s passion, philosophy, and success in the book, Beverage Biz is Show Biz, by David Steadman.

During his 20 years in restaurant management, he’s worked with notable restaurants such as Wolfgang Puck, Acme Feed & Seed, Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Bound’ry, Watermark, and Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment. His roles include director of restaurants, director of operations, general manager, regional training manager, chef, wine director, service manager, and bar manager.

In 2018, Monte advanced from a GM position, overseeing the restaurant Acme Feed & Seed to the director of operations. His new role put him in charge of two of the top 100 grossing restaurants in the country and two brand new restaurants, Fin & Pearl and Woolworth. All four required a high amount of supervision. Monte was determined to meet this challenge head-on.

The challenge

Monte was accustomed to running the four-story Acme Feed & Seed restaurant that did more than $18 million in annual sales. He spent 55 hours a week, ensuring its success. So, the question he asked himself was, “How do I run four?” After all, one person can’t work 220 hours a week. Yet, all four restaurants required oversight and daily guidance.

The solution

To meet the challenge, Monte threw himself into becoming an expert. He already had the experience and background to provide the foundation. But, now, he turned his focus to better time management and team building. This two-fold approach set himself, the four restaurants, and staff up for success. Explore Monte’s blueprint for prioritizing your time and crew.

Time management: Priorities and routines

Good organization is the key to undertaking any new project. However, it requires prioritizing your time and attention. Plus, routines are vital to optimizing every minute of the day. Monte created a system using these three steps.

1. Prioritize your focus on five key areas

  • People (team, guest, connectors, mavens)
  • Product (food, beverage, ambiance)
  • Systems (operating, HR, financial)
  • Sales (higher guest counts, higher check averages)
  • Profits

2. Use technology to visualize priorities

Set up an online calendar that’s available across all devices, such as Google calendar. Once you prioritize tasks in the five key areas, put each one into your schedule by the level of importance. Google allows you to mark responsibilities as:

  • 1st priority (Important and urgent)
  • 2nd priority (Important but not urgent)
  • 3rd priority (Urgent but not important)

3. Develop a daily routine

Monte relied on a particular routine that was ingrained in his mind. He didn’t have to second guess what to do next. His daily method went like this:

  • Read closing managers’ emails from each restaurant while drinking coffee.
  • Reviewed schedules to see which managers were working and staffing levels.
  • Looked at open table reservations.
  • Planned my day.
  • Completed facility walkthroughs at each restaurant visited.
  • Acknowledged and said hello to all staff during restaurant visits.
  • Met with management.
  • Worked on priorities.
  • Checked emails.
  • Attended line-ups.
  • Checked emails.
  • Spent time on the floor and in the kitchen during the shift.
  • Checked emails.
  • Said goodnight to staff.

People and teams: Add development and delegation to your system

One person can’t do everything. Monte knew he needed a strong team who understood and supported the brand’s vision. To get results, he prioritized team development and kept an eye out for individuals who could grow into key players. By building a strong support team, Monte had more time to focus on critical tasks.

Focus on improving people and teams

By taking the time to develop people, Monte didn’t have to do all the work. Instead, he had time to concentrate on the big picture, his big impact priorities. Moreover, with proper training and development, there was no need to continually follow up on the same things over and over again. When Monte prioritized team development, he showed his crew that they mattered. This empowered teams to take pride and efficient actions every day.

Delegate projects and responsibilities

Not every team member shares the same traits. However, you can identify those with the talent to handle tougher jobs or responsibilities. Once Monte developed a stable support team of key players, he felt less pressure to do everything. Measurable projects allowed him to offer feedback and continually grow each person’s professional skills. By prioritizing delegation, Monte gave people a sense of ownership and accountability, leading to better outcomes.

Want to avoid burnout and tackle tough challenges?

Running a restaurant means having many spinning wheels at one time. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day issues and struggle to stay abreast of the big picture. Unfortunately, many restaurateurs experience burnout from the fast pace of the industry. Monte knows how to maximize time and efficiency while developing teams. This crucial skill enables him to delegate duties and empower people to succeed and grow. Get the support you need by scheduling a call with Monte.

“Monte Silva served as our Director of Operations for TomKats Hospitality, a multi-faceted food service company, with distinction. He displayed an experienced, calm leadership that educated our team in how to act as owners while holding them responsible for our bottom-line performance. I trust his ability both as a manager and as an operator” Tom Morales – Tomkats Hospitality Proprietor

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