Food service is one industry that enjoys continuous growth despite regular economic upheavals. This is because this particular industry seeks to provide an essential need, which is why it remains a lucrative choice for many people seeking to establish their enterprises.
Whether new or experienced in the business world, restaurants are always a great pick for a business venture. The difficulty lies in the many challenges you may experience as the owner and manager of a food establishment, the primary one being the actual management required to keep everything running smoothly.
More than just serving meals, running a restaurant involves various tasks that require a lot of focus and effort. These include inventory tracking, accounting, marketing, regulation compliance checks, maintenance, sanitation, and logistics. As a result, you need more personnel to handle each one thoroughly to avoid losing track of essential operations. This, in turn, can have disastrous results on your enterprise.
Fortunately, you can reduce your overall workload by working with virtual assistants. In addition, thanks to digital technology, businesses can easily outsource many parts of their operations to outside talent. As a result, virtual assistance has become a growing sector, valued at USD 5.82 billion in 2020.
You can do the same. Here are the things you should consider when hiring a virtual assistant for your restaurant:
- Level Of Expertise
That a virtual assistant should have the expertise needed to help you with your tasks is a given.
You do not have to find one with extensive qualifications or certifications. Instead, focus on those with the specific skills you need for certain tasks.
For instance, if you need help managing your finances, you should look for one with experience in using spreadsheets, checking balances, and tracking cash flow. But, again, it would help to choose certified accountants for guaranteed results.
Additionally, you can consult them on making critical business decisions. For example, suppose you are planning to get a restaurant loan. You plan to do this to avoid financial downtime when you acquire more kitchen equipment, such as grills and stoves. In this case, a virtual assistant versed in accounting can help you research high-potential lenders and settle on suitable arrangements.
2. Exceptional Communication Skills
As a restaurant owner, your daily focus is to provide exceptional customer service. It is essential to maintaining your customer base and keeping your enterprise on its path to success.
Your virtual assistant can be instrumental to that if they possess excellent communication skills. These are part of the necessary tools for them to be assets to your business.
Since most of your exchanges will be done online, the ideal virtual assistant should have experience with effectively juggling different lines of communication. They should be capable of parsing and understanding messages sent through chat, email, or videoconferencing to properly carry out the tasks you delegate to them. And, of course, they must practice the utmost professionalism in responding to you and making their inquiries.
3. Competence In Essential Computer Software
From the name alone, one can gauge that virtual assistants are expected to possess a professional level of expertise in using a wide variety of software. As such, you should look for people with a considerable to a high level of computer literacy.
Depending on the tasks you expect them to do, your virtual assistant should be proficient in specific offline and online tools. These can include social media, spreadsheet applications, cloud storage, production material creation programs, website management platforms, lead generation sites, email, and office productivity software. Therefore, you should make sure to outline which programs you expect your prospective virtual assistant to have in your listing. This way, you can save time orienting them how to use the applications you need to accomplish tasks.
4. Roles And Responsibilities
Before hiring a virtual assistant, you must understand why you need their services. This is key to stating their role and duties categorically. In turn, you make finding the ideal candidate much easier for your business.
As a rule, you should delegate tasks that take most of your time to your virtual assistant. This can range from anything to balancing statements and tracking deliveries. High-skilled virtual assistants can also work as executive virtual assistant, offering business insights, guidance, and management aid to your establishment.
To find a virtual assistant who can perform the tasks you need on your behalf excellently, first evaluate which tasks you plan to delegate. Then, list them down and determine how you will present them in your job listing. This screens out candidates who may need to be better versed in the specific tasks you want them to perform.
This should continue beyond the scouting stage. Even after you onboard a potential candidate, you should clarify your expectations by giving a thorough briefing on their primary duties. Then, observe how they undertake them and evaluate their performance.
One great value you need your virtual assistant to have is honesty. Their work entails handling a lot of sensitive information, such as financial statements, bank accounts, restaurant passwords, inventories, and communications with partners. To entrust them with such data, you must ensure they practice the utmost transparency and reliability.
You will be communicating remotely most of the time. So, you cannot immediately address problems or fix issues if they are not being transparent with you. Highlight this as a quality you need for someone to work with.
You need a hands-on virtual assistant who can always help you maintain progress in your restaurant business operations. As your source of back-office aid, they must be dependable enough to continue with their tasks on their end on schedule. Otherwise, they may become liabilities that only add to your daily obstacles.
This comes along with the previous point; if you cannot count on your virtual assistant to handle your tasks with transparency, you also cannot rely on them to help you with your business. This is why you should also highlight reliability as a trait in your ideal candidate.
7. Ability To Multitask
As indicated earlier, working with a candidate with the appropriate skills is necessary. That does not necessarily mean they must do a single task for most of their shifts.
If you plan to make a virtual assistant a key part of your restaurant operations, you can always assign a group of tasks to them. This means they should be willing to multitask during the hours they work with you. At any time, they should be able to provide updates on progress, give insights, make observations, and notify any problems. Consequently, they should have strong, effective organizational skills to handle various tasks properly.
8. Knowledge In Project Management Tools
Virtual assistants may come from within or outside your time zone. But even if the former is the case, you are still separated by distance and routine. This means you will have to use project management tools to synchronize all your tasks and timelines. Fortunately, multiple project management tools are already available that you can tailor to your restaurant business.
These tools allow the virtual assistant and the manager to monitor the progress of tasks in real-time. They also provide features for outlining tasks or projects.
For example, if you need your virtual assistant to make orders on raw materials, you can set it as a task on the tool. Then, you will know if they are working on it once they set it in progress. From there, you can simply message them for updates on the number of orders they submitted, the items they have ordered, how soon deliveries may arrive, and whether or not problems have arisen.
Essentially, project management tools are your way to maintain and fulfill timelines. Thus, they are a valuable investment for your restaurant business.
Obviously, you will have to compensate your virtual assistant for their labor. In some arrangements, they may charge by the hour, receive payment on an end-of-month basis, or even get paid per project. Note that the rates should be set according to the scope of the work, the number of hours they put in, and their individual performance.
To ensure you can compensate your virtual assistant well, you must set aside a budget for them. They function much the same as your restaurant’s on-site employees. So, they deserve to have a share in your overall revenue for their contributions.
You should also set a budget for any software or applications you have to share with them. Most of these are available at a one-time purchase, while popular ones follow a subscription model. Make sure you can regularly maintain access to your apps. Otherwise, your virtual assistant will have nothing to work with.
10. Attention To Detail
Above all, the ideal virtual assistant matches your due diligence when it comes to compliance. They should be just as involved as you are in completing all tasks without hassle. For this, they must pay the utmost attention to data, especially since most of the tasks delegated to them will involve processing data. In addition, they should be focused enough to grasp fine print fully and comprehensive enough to see large-scale schemes.
The services of a virtual assistant can contribute so much to the continued growth of your restaurant. Therefore, it is essential to find the right one to help you keep your operations running as smoothly as possible. First, evaluate which tasks you need the most assistance with and match them with a virtual assistant who can offer the right expertise.
As an avid content writer, Sneha takes great pride in helping businesses worldwide become more productive. She holds regular in-person business coaching sessions in Los Angeles. During her free time, she likes walking her two labrador retrievers with her daughter and son.